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Zahrat ahd-Dhra – Jordan


Sunday, January 9, 2000

Back on Site

We drove back from Petra to Mazraa’ yesterday afternoon and we’re back at work today. There was alternating rain and sunshine on the site. Mohammed and I did some more map-making and surveying. My legs are still sore from 8 hours of walking and climbing at Petra, and it’s not only me. There were a few falls on site today, but no injuries.

Monday, January 10, 2000

Our workday was cut short when a torrent of water suddenly came down the wadi. Last week, several of our Asazmi crew had missed a day of work to attend the funeral of relatives who had been caught in a flash flood of one of the wadis. When they heard and saw the water, they did everything they could to make sure we understood the danger.

The Wadi during More Peaceful Times

So the choice was to stay put and risk being high and dry but cut off, or getting out of the area immediately before the water rose where we were. Steve wasn’t on the site, so I conferred with Ilya, and we decided to leave. It was still safe to cross.

The wadi normally had a mere trickle, but was beginning to get an increased volume. We made our way across it and we got away with a few wet feet. It was a dramatic site, standing on the ridge and looking in one direction to see that trickle, then looking upstream to see (and hear) the suddenly increasing flow. We had only a short light rain locally. It must have rained harder up in the hills. Don’t know how bad it got in the wadi. We didn’t stick around to find out.

Tuesday, January 11 -Wednesday, January 12, 2000

I spent the day on site surveying with Mohammed. Things are calmer on site today. Water was still flowing. Been here almost a month, and found a pair of white socks in my suitcase that hadn’t been worn yet.

Flood Waters bring Green Growth

They were soft, not like cardboard at all, and they were white, so white they could blind you. Today was laundry day, and at least everything came back.

We’re obsessing over chocolate. I gave Ilya one dinar to pick up anything chocolate for me on his water run to Karak. Shawn gave me a Take 5 candy bar, a very generous gesture, to thank me for letting him use my sewing kit. Candy bar names here are great. There’s Kat Kit. (There must be a copyright issue.) The best name so far is ChocoLord.

Thursday, January 13, 2000

Payday on the site so it was much more animated than usual. Surveyed and wrote a unit summary. I visited the natural bridge one ridge over.

Water is still flowing in the wadi. On the way down into the wadi at the end of the work on site I saw a crab. I was struck dumb except for being able to yell for everyone to come and see it. It was about as big as my fist.

Friday, January 14, 2000

Slept late. A few of us went to the site, while the students went to Amman for the day. I worked the east end and sifted a lot of dirt. The end is approaching, we’re in good shape, and things were kind of relaxed on the site. Abu Mohammed looked dapper.

Abu Mohammed and Mohammed

During the evening, Ilya, Cathryn, Cynthia and I went to Karak. We spent an hour at an internet café. We had dinner at a kebab place (aka “Wheel of Meat”), then we crossed the street to a bakery for dessert. The food was great and it cost a whopping 1 J.D. ($1.50) per person. It was cold up in Kerak, but not bad.

Saturday, January 15-16, 2000

Spent a lot of time at the day at the dig house with a squad of people working on the ceramic, lithic and flotation samples and we got a lot done. A group of students and staff went to visit an Early Bronze Age site, Bab adh Dhraa, which we’ve driven past every day on our way to our site.

Things are winding down. I made three trips to the site shuttling people and equipment back and forth. We’re backfilled the units. During second breakfast on the site I joined several of our workers, including Abu Mohammed and the newly married Ali for tea, eggs and bread. This was the last day for the students on the site, and there were some surprisingly emotional goodbyes.

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