University of Utah anthropologist Philip C. Hammond will lead an archaeological expedition to Petra, Jordan, in the summer of 1989 - the 12th season of excavations at the capitol of the ancient Nabataean kingdom.
Called the American Expedition to Petra, the expedition is now a separate, independent archaeological mission, said Hammond, a professor of anthropology.The Nabataeans were a Bedouin group who, after establishing themselves at Petra 120 miles south of Jerusalem, became the greatest commercial kingdom in the Middle East. They held that position for almost 600 years, from the fourth century B.C. through the fourth century A.D.
Arabs today call the dry river bed in which Petra is located the Wadi Musa, or "Valley of Moses," said Hammond. According to Arab tradition, it was here that Moses struck a rock to obtain water. Even today visitors can see the spring and cleft rock. According to another legend, this Biblical event created the Siq, or defile, which is the only practical way to enter Petra.
All interested people are invited to apply, but participants must be in good physical condition. No unusual arrangements or provisions can be made, such as special diets. Participants will rotate through excavation, laboratory, survey and other archaeological assignments.
Participation will be by accepted application only and is limited to 15 people. Application deadline is Feb. 1, l989.
Expedition costs will include round-trip air fare (at an anticipated 50 percent discount for participants). A participation fee of $1,200 will cover room and board from June 15-Aug. 10.
Hammond said the expedition conducted an electronically instrumented survey of the ancient city center area of Petra in 1973, locating some 38 sites of high potential for archaeological excavation.
In 1974 two excavation sites were chosen. One produced a domestic area, one of the few ever excavated at Petra. The second produced a temple, known popularly as the "Temple of the Winged Lions" because its architectural elements featured winged felines.
Since l977 the expedition has concentrated on the temple and an expanding series of residential quarters and workshops surrounding the sacred enclosure used by temple personnel.
Hammond said recorded data on earthquakes in Syro-Palestine from the first century and later, as well as a royal inscription found in a temple's workshop in l981, has allowed the unusual "absolute" dating of the remains to the year, month, day and, in one case, the hour, for the years A.D. 27, A.D. 363 and A.D. 55l.
The method of excavation has further enhanced the scientific accuracy of the work, he said, with over 1,530 "stratigraphic units" or archaeological levels thus far isolated and analyzed in sequential order. Consequently, 91 phases (connected series of individual archaeological events) have been identified from the pre-construction period of the temple through modern times.
"This ordering will have important significance in regard to ceramics, architecture, art, religion, general culture and history for Petra in general, and the Nabataean/post-Nabataean periods in particular," said Hammond.
For further information and applications, contact Hammond at the Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, 581-8540, or David J. Johnson, co-director, at the Department of Anthropology at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.