Because of our relatively short dig season of just four weeks, we work six days a week. So today we enjoyed a day off on Friday (the Muslim holy day) after working six days. Most students took advantage of the day off to hike around Petra, a vast and magnificent archaeological site. One could easily spend several weeks here and see something new every day. Last night most students camped at Bayda (“Little Petra”) several kilometers north of the ancient city center and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.
We are quite pleased with our results thus far, having reached bedrock in several trenches and thus produced complete stratigraphic profiles in these excavation areas. So in some trenches excavation has slowed while we draw the vertical side walls (“baulks”) left in each trench as a two dimensional record of the succession of layers excavated layers from topsoil to bedrock.
We continue to be impressed by the sheer volume of finds, especially fragments of broken pottery (“sherds”). The Nabataeans were prolific and highly skilled makers of ceramics, both utilitarian and beautiful fine table wares. The fine wares, which can often be closely dated, permit us to date the associated structures, such as the tombs, the city wall, and the houses on the North Ridge. Some walls of the latter were decorated with red painted plaster.
S. Thomas Parker