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Tell Abu en-Ni’aj – Jordan


Tuesday, January 25, 2000

It was a good day on the site as the units are starting to take shape. I picked up two of Ilya’s units: Atis’s and Michele’s, for a total of five 4m x 4m units. Sun was out, but the breeze kept things cool on the site.

Wednesday, January 26, 2000

We turned the bus around on the way to the site this morning because of rain.

Atis and His Crew

There was a lithics lesson in the lab; then we had the rest of the day off. Most of the new folks went to Amman for the day. The Mazra’a 5 went to a clinic in Mishara to give stool samples in the never ending fight against dysentery. All lab results were negative.

I went to Pella for water, then to the site to spread plastic sheets over the units, much too late. The truck got stuck in the mud, but we got it out. If it rains again tonight the site will be a muddy mess tomorrow. Even without rain we’re practically back at square one.

Thursday, January 27, 2000

We went back to the site, but the rain drove us off. By second breakfast I was using the truck to shuttle people back to the Deir Alla dig house or to the nearest bus station to make their own way back. On the first trip back to the dig house, Fatma (one of our cooks) and I went into Mishara to find Achmed, who in turn found the bus driver, who hauled the last of us off the site. It rained all day. The plans are for an overnight trip to Aqaba tomorrow to dry out and warm up, with a stop at Wadi Rum on the way back.

Friday, January 28, 2000


During the drive to Aqaba we could see lots of snow on the mountains. We’re staying at the Al Shula Hotel in Aqaba for J.D. 8 per night. I’m rooming with Chad. There was plenty of hot water in the room, but no heat. A bunch of us had tea on the beach and used an internet café. Plenty of American sailors on shore leave in Aqaba. We identified the USS Bataan in the harbor. Several of us had dinner at a Chinese restaurant; then we did some souvenir shopping. It cold here, but dry, and that’s better.

Saturday, January 29, 2000

Wadi Rum

We left Aqaba after a decent hotel breakfast and headed for Wadi Rum of Lawrence of Arabia fame. I hiked for about 2 hours. The silence was deafening, but the call to prayer drifted out from the village, breaking the silence ever so slightly. It was a long day in the bus. We passed through good old Mazra’a and stopped along the Dead Sea to watch the sun set. On the way back to the dig house, the bus driver stopped at a mosque to answer the call to prayer, but first bought everyone candy bars as compensation for the delay. Dinner was waiting for us at the dig house, and the weather was warmer and drier.

Sunday, January 30, 2000

Dead Sea Sunset

Up early (4:30 AM) and back to the routine. It was a better day on site, i.e., no rain and warmer, but still long underwear weather until lunch. The days are getting a little longer. Sundown was at 5 PM. We processed artifacts during the afternoon. The kerosene heater in the dining room was a welcome addition during supper and when we reviewed field notebooks.

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