Institute of Archaeology


Petra 1929

10 January 2019

Amara Thornton, History of Archaeology Network Coordinator at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, received a CBRL Centennial Award for a project on the first intensive excavations at Petra, which took place in the spring of 1929, 90 years ago this year.

George Horsfield at Petra (Image copyright: UCL Institute of Archaeology)


The project output is a website, www.petra1929.co.uk, launched today which features a digital transcription of a key document relating to this excavation, the dig diary. Alongside this text, there are associated contextual essays and indexes to situate the 1929 excavation in a broader historical context.

The 'Petra Exploration Fund Diary' is part of the Horsfield collection, an archive donated to the Institute in 1950 by archaeologists George Horsfield and Agnes Conway Horsfield. The archive covers their archaeological work in British Mandate Transjordan during the 1920s and 1930s.

The Diary is co-written by George Horsfield and Agnes Conway (they married in 1932), and represents a fascinating insight into Petra as an archaeological and tourist site during an important period in the modern history of Jordan.

In its digital form, the diary is searchable by given keywords, enabling users to explore the text in an interactive way. Where possible, newly digitised photographs from the Horsfield collection have been added to diary entries, and captioned. Photographs from the Horsfield archive have also been used to illustrate some of the contextual essays ("Prelude", "Archaeology in Mandate Transjordan", "Tourism in Mandate Transjordan") and indexes ("People", "Places").

Amara will give a lecture entitled 'Contexts and Connections: Exploring Petra in 1929' at the British Museum this evening at which the website will be formally launched.

Further details