Mount Seir, Sinai and Western Palestine
SINAI AND WESTERN PALESTINE.
SINAI AND WESTERN PALESTINE.
BEING A NARRATIVE OF A SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION.
EDWARD HULL, MA., LL.D., F.R.S.,
Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland,
Professor of Geology, Royal College of Science, Dublin.
WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
Published for the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund by
RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON,
New Burlington Street.
[All rights reserved.]
HARRISON AND SONS, PRINTERS IN ORDINARY TO HER MAJESTY,
ST. MARTIN'S LANE.
RT. HON. THE EARL OF DUFFERIN, K.P., D.C.L, F.R.S.,
THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR IN GRATEFUL
RECOGNITION OF THE SERVICES WHICH HIS LORDSHIP
RENDERED TO THE EXPEDITION IN 1884, AND OF
THE INTEREST WHICH HE HAS EVINCED IN
THE PROGRESS AND SUCCESS OF THE
INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT
BY THE COMMITTEE
"PALESTINE EXPLORATION FUND."
The outcome of an Expedition is a book; and in the preparation of this narrative, which has been a labour of love, I have many friends to thank for their assistance. But I must here confine my special acknowledgment to two composite bodies, namely, the members of the Expedition, and the Committee and Secretary of the “Palestine Exploration Fund,” who have endeavoured to meet my wishes in every way.
For the defects which may be found in the book itself, I can only plead the pressure on my time from many engagements.
10th October, 1884.
Project of a Scientific Expedition under the auspices of the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.—Members of the Expedition.—Its scope and intention.—Arrangements with Messrs. T. Cook and Son.—Preparations for the journey.—Apparatus.—Departure and route to Venice.—Embarkation on board the "Tanjore."—The Adriatic and Brindisi.—Fellow passengers.—The Mediterranean.—Splendid effects by nightpages 1–10.
Arrival at Port Said.—General Sir E. Wood and party.—Leave taking of fellow passengers.—We proceed by steamer to Alexandria.—Mr. Le Mesurier's proposals for preventing the silting up of the Ship Canal.—The harbour of Alexandria.—Courtesy of Her Majesty's Consul, Mr. Cookson.—Condition of Alexandria since the bombardment.—Pompey's Pillar.—Leave Alexandria for Cairo.—The Nile Delta.—Habits and mode of cultivation by the Egyptians.—Mehemet Ali's plan for encouraging the planting of the palm.—Cause of the fertility of Egypt.—Source of sediments in the Nile waters.—Visit to the Pyramids.—Their present condition owing to the removal of the outer casings.—Mr. Hart's adventure.—The great bakhsheesh question.—The Sphinx, and Temple of the Sphinx.—Visit to Jebel Mokattam with Dr. Schweinfurth.—View from the summit.—The Art Museum, Cairo.—Nile oscillations.—Arrival of the Towâra Arabs.—Departure from Cairo, and journey to Suez.—Visit to Jebel Attâkah.—Arab sailorspages 11–27.
The sandstone district of Ramleh.—Its position with reference to the limestone region on the one hand, and to the granite region on the other.—Character of the sandy plain.—Temperature in shade at noon.—Camp in the Wâdy Nasb.—Fossil hunting.—A well in the wilderness.—Natural pyramids of sandstone, near the Wâdy Suwig.—Turquoise mines.—Palmer and Drake's camping ground in the Wâdy Kamileh.—Habits of wild animalspages 40–44.
Granitic Region.—Contrast of features with the region of sandstone.—Remnants of the latter formation.—The Wâdy Berk, desolate scenery.—The Zygophyllum or erymth of the Arabs.— Remarkable dykes of trap-rock.—Camp in Wâdy Lebweh, at a height of 3,800 feet.—First glimpse of Serbal.—Plants of the desert.—Natural gardens.—Heights of the mountains of the Peninsula.—View of the mountains of Sinai from the Wâdy Berráh.—Character of the Wâdy es Sheikh.—Grove of tamarisks.—Ancient lake-beds.—Kitchener's triangulation from the granite ridge.—Grand gorge of the Wâdy el Watîyeh.—Rocks of porphyry.—Camp near the Convent of St. Catherinepages 45–50.
Mount Sinai.—Râs Sufsàfeh, "the Mountain that can be touched."—Excursion to Mount Sinai.—Wâdy es Sheikh.—Ascent of Jebel Mûsa.—The cleft in the rock.—Character of the scenery and view from the summit.—Old church of the Empress Helena.—The Coney.—The Pilgrims' road.—Deceptive view of the convent.—Elijah's Cave.—Entomological torments in camp.—The Ibex, or "Wild Goat" of the Bible.—We retrace our steps, through the Gorge of Watîyeh.—The Ain el Akhdar.—The Wâdy el Zelegah, its character and remarkable scenery.—Pyramids and tors of sandstone.—Great landslips.—Fossiliferous strata.—Jerboa burrowings.—Narrow escape from a fall.—The Wâdy el Biyar; terraces of alluvial gravel.—Jebel el Berg and Jebel el Ainpages 51–57.
Region of the Tîh.—Disappearance of the limestone escarpment.—Dislocations of the strata.—Desert partridges.—Ibraham's views about Bedawins.—The Sheikh prefers not to "settle down."—The story of the Dabour tribe.—Camp in the Thieves' Valley.—Extensive pasturage.—Coldness of the morning air.—Escarpment of Turf-er-Rukn.—Ridge of porphyry.—Great fault in the strata.—The Haj Road.—Descent to the shores of the Gulf of Akabah.—We find our tents pitched behind the palm-grove.—Bernhard Heilpern has been successful.—Interview with Sheikh Mahomed.—The Sheikh's brother Ali.—Negotiations for convoy along the Arabah Valley.—A hitch occurs in the terms.—Mahomed is resolute.—Sealing the "Instrument." —Prospect of going to Gaza.—Great disappointment.—We dismiss our Towâra guides with presentspages 62–70.
Description of Akabah.—The Elath of the Bible.—Palm trees.—Position of Ezion Geber.—Waters of the gulf, shelly gravel of the beach.—Natural fertility of the soil.—Character of the inhabitants.—Suspicions regarding Mahomed.—Measures for "keeping him straight."—He spurns our offer of a revolver.—Advent Sunday.—Arrival of pilgrims from Mecca.—Start from Akabah on Monday morning.—Great thunderstorm.— The camp breaks up in confusionpages 71–74.
The Wâdy el Arabah.—Its importance in Israelitish history.—Its relations to the Jordanic depression.—Position of the great fault.—Site of Ezion Geber.—Raised sea beach of the Arabah Valley.—Appearance of our Alowîn guides.—Abundance of game.—Magnificent eagle.—Sketch of the geological structure of the Arabah Valley.—Its general aspect.—Absence of streams.—Original physical condition.—The wells of Ain el Ghudyan.—Camp near centre of Arabah Valley.—Grand scenery.—The "saddle" of Wâdy el Arabah.—The Wâdy Gharandel.—Footprints of wild animals on the desert sandspages 75–84.
Petra and Mount Hor.—Level of the watershed or saddle of the Arabah Valley.—Question of practicability of a ship-canal.—Appearance and structure of Mount Hor (Jebel Haroun).—The mosque of Aaron's tomb.—Kitchener and Armstrong triangulate from the summit.—Proposal to steal a march.—Sheikh Ali protests.—Camp at entrance to Wâdy Haroun.—Oleander trees.—We dispatch a messenger to Sheikh Arari.—Sheikh Abdullah arrives from Petra.—Exorbitant demands.—Major Kitchener produces his firmân.—Dispute as to terms, and rupture of negociations.—We strike out tents.—Ultimately the Petra Sheikhs give in.—Statement of original demands, and ultimate terms.—Early start for Mount Hor and Petra.—Remarkable appearance of the tableland of the Tîh.—Flock of vultures.—Abdullah's conversation with Ibraham.—Difficult pass; grand scenery.—Sandstone cliffs and terraces.—Petra and its architectural remains.—Marvellous effects of colouring.—Return of our party to the camp.—Results of the day's work.—Altitude of Mount Hor.—Exciting scene with the Petra Arabspages 85–96.
The Arabah Valley west of Mount Hor.—Jebels Jerafeh and Magrah.—Effects of floods.—First glimpse of the hills of Judaea.—Sheikh Ali proposes to conduct us down to the shore of the Salt Sea.—Agreeable surprise, and ultimate arrangements.—Ain Abu Werideh.—Ancient Salt Sea terraces.—Semifossil shells.—Samrat Fiddân.—Ancient gravel beach.—Terraces of the Wâdy el Jeib.—Camp at Wâdy Suweirah.—We dispatch a messenger to Jerusalem.—Suspicious conduct of Sheikh Ali.—Scenery of the Wâdy Suweirah.—Petra Arabs on our track; we think it better to move on.—Thunderstorm.—Disintegration of the rocks of the Arabah Valley.—Formation of the physical features.—Ancient ruins of the Wâdy T'lah.—Remarkable terraces of the ancient sea.—Camp at the edge of The Ghôrpages 97–107.
The Ghôr and Salt Sea.—Descent into The Ghôr.—Ancient terrace.—Problem requiring solution.—Appearance of Jebel Usdum.—Arab camps.—Group of Arab children.—Our progress barred by Arab cavalry.—Interview between Kitchener and Arari.—They come to terms.—Arrival at the village of Es Safieh.—Vegetation of The Ghôr.—Cultivation of the ground by the Ghawarneh.—Our camp in The Ghôr.—Visit to the shore of the Salt Sea.—Nocturnal experiences.—Chorus of jackals.—Jebel es Somrah and Wâdy el Hessi.—Habits of the Ghawarneh.—Herds of camels.—Invitation from the Sheikh of Kerak politely declined.—Visit of the Petra Arabs.—Excursion into the mountains.—Barometric pressure in The Ghôr.—Unwelcome tidings of quarantine.—Hopes deferred.—News from Jerusalem and disappointment.—Prospect of Christmas by the Salt Sea.—Hassani again dispatched to Jerusalem.—Visit to ancient ruins.—Strange way of viewing a landscape.—Our Alowîn guides.—Character of the Arabs.—Ruins of Lebrusch.—Gorgeous effects of colour.—New disappointments and fresh surprises.—Arrival of party of Arabs from Cairo with letter from the Consul-General.—Christmas Day in the Wilderness.—Depression of the mental barometer.—Mr. Laurence entertains the Arabs with electrical experiments.—Christmas dinner.—Visit of Sheikh Arari of Petra.—Arrival of horses and mules from Jerusalem.—Peremptory orders to proceed to Gaza for quarantine.—Preparations for an early start for the opposite side of The Ghôr.—We part with Sheikh Ali pages 108-128.
March from Es Safieh, and cross the Slimy Plain.—Jebel Usdum; its beds of rock salt.—Hart and Laurence explore the upper surface.—Mr. Hart's account of the structure of Jebel Usdum.—Evidences that the waters of the Salt Sea are still receding.—Wâdy Muhauwat.—Barometric reading by the shore of the sea.—The Wâdy Zuweirah.—Difficult pathway.—Ancient bed of the Salt Sea filling in old valleys in the limestone.—-Ancient ruins.—A march in darkness.—Camp at Wâdy el Abd.—Our Arabs entertain us to coffee.—Flocks of the Jâhâlin Arabs.—Large cairn.—Remarkable view therefrom.— The Wilderness of Paran.—Camp at Tel el Milh (Moladah).—Evidences of former habitations.—The ancient wells.—Arrival at Beersheba.—Abraham's Wells.—Captain Conder's discovery.—Traces of extensive ruins.—Desolation of the land.—Tel Abu Hareireh.—Camels used for ploughing.—Great extent of cultivated land.—New formation of sandstone.—Geological structure of Western Palestine.—Old sea-beds with shells.—Major Kitchener leaves the party for Egypt.—"The Lily of the Field."—Incident at Khurbet el Baha.—The Sheikh of the Tîhyaha.—Large herd of gazelles.—First view of Gaza and of the Mediterranean.—Arrival at our quarantine camp.—Mr. Schapira's kind offices.—We communicate with Lord Dufferin pages 129-143.
Amongst the Philistines.—Arrival of the medical officer.—Telegram from Lord Dufferin.—Release on the fifth day.—We square accounts with the doctor.—Start from Gaza.—Ancient olive-grove.—Extensive sand-hills and their devastating effects.—Camp at El Medjet.—Large olive trees.—Ashdod (Asdûd).—The great highway of Philistia.—Arrival at Jaffa.—Take up our quarters at the Jerusalem Hotel.—Natural breakwater.—Calcareous rock in course of formation.— Start for Ramleh.—Pretty gardens and remarkable tower.—A group of lepers.—The Lepers' Hospital at Jerusalem.—Bab-el-Wâdy good botanical ground.—Remarkable features of the central table-land of Judæa.—Effects of cultivation.—Kûlonieh (or Emmaus).— We enter the Gate of Jerusalempages 144-151.
Kind reception by friends.—Geological structure of district.—Marble and building-stone of Jerusalem.—Succession of strata.—Visit to Solomon's Pools.—Signs of progress.—Ancient aqueduct.—Generous offer of Lady Burdett-Coutts.—Turkish obstinacy.—Explorations of Colonels Wilson and Warren.—The Pools.—The "Gardens of Solomon."—Mr. Meshullam's successful industry.—Bethlehem.—The Convent and Church of the Nativity.—The Well of David.—The Cave of Adullam.—Return to Jerusalempages 152–158.
Visit to Jericho and the Jordan.—The Mount of Olives.—Our young Sheikh.—Bethany.—The Wâdy Sidr, remarkable contortions of strata.—Russian pilgrims.—Wâdy Kelt (Brook Cherith).—View from the edge of The Ghôr.—Camp at Ancient Jericho, and the warm baths of Ain es Sultan.—Terraces of the ancient Salt Sea.—The fords of Jordan.—Cause of the turgidity of the water.—Russian pilgrims.—A gallop across the plainpages 159–164.
Return by Mar Saba.—Wâdy Kueiserah.—What has become of Sodom and Gomorrah?—The tomb of Moses.—Good wells.—Descent into Wâdy Mukalik.—Bed of an ancient lake.—Contortions in the strata and their curious appearance.—Chase after a runaway horse.—Difficult road.—Mode of formation of the ridges and valleys.—Arrival at our camp at Mar Saba.—Remarkable gorge of the Kedron.—Evidence of a former rainy period.—Fault at entrance to the gorge.—Cliffs of the Valley of Hinnom.—Arrival at Jerusalem.—Preparations for journey northwardspages 165–169.
Snowed up in Jerusalem.—Fall of temperature and westerly gale.—Effects of the snow-fall.—The country becomes impassable.—Sufferings of the people.—A last view over Jerusalem and its surroundings.—Remarkable transparency of the air.—Departure for Jaffa.—Appearance of the country under snow.—Arrival at Jaffapages 170–174.
Homeward Bound.—Passage to Beyrût.—The snow-clad Lebanon.—Visit to Dr. Bliss and H.B.M. Consul-General.—Visit to Miss Taylor's School.—Lokandel el Motram.—Sail for Cyprus.—Return home by Smyrna and Constantinople.—Visit to Lord Dufferin.—The Oriental Express.—Arrival in London.—Warm reception by the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fundpages 175–177.
Summary of Scientific Results: 1. Kitchener's Triangulation of the Wâdy el Arabah.—2. Rectifications of the Salt Sea borders.—3. Geological reconnaissance along the route.—4. Collections of Fossils at Wâdy Nasb and elsewhere.—5. Determinations of the geological ages of the two sandstone formations.—6. The determination of the position of the Great Jordan Valley and Arabah fault.—7. Determination of the ancient levels of the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Salt Sea (Dead Sea).—8. The recognition of ancient lake beds in Arabia Petræa, &c.—9. Evidences of a former "Pluvial period."—10. Connection between the volcanic eruptions of Northern Palestine and Syria with the Glacial epoch.—11. Determination of the relations of the strata of Jebel Usdum with those of the Ancient Salt Sea.—12. Construction of a new geological map of the whole region visited.—13. Series of Meteorological observations by Mr. Laurence.—14. Series of photographs by Dr. E. G. Hull.—15. Collection of plants by Mr. Hartpages 178–184.
Some of the remarkable sites visited by the Expedition: 1. The passage of the Red Sea by the Israelites; Route of the Israelites from Zoan— probable place of the passage; Explanation by which the Bible Narrative may be harmonised with physical phenomena.—2. The Giving of the Law; Claims of Jebel Mûsa; Position of Rás Sufsàfeh, and the camping ground of Israel; The streams of water—their origin; No evidence of recent volcanic action.—3. Position of Kadesh, Barnea, and Mount Hor; Views of Dr. Trumbull; Mr. Rolands' and Mr. Holland's identification; View from Mount Hor (Jebel Haroun).—4. The site of Calvary; Claims of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inadmissable; Evidences in favour of the hill of Jeremiah's Grottopages 185–192.
Explanation of the Geological Mappages 193–197.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Grand Gorge of the Wâdy el Ain
View of the Mokattam Hills and Suburbs of Cairo from the west bank of the Nile
|to face 17|
Lake Deposits of the Wâdy Useit
View from the Wâdy Suwig, Pyramids of red sandstone resting on granite and porphyry
Sandstone Tor, resting on a basis of granite and porphry, seen from Wâdy Berráh
Escarpment of Turf-er-Rukn, looking north and west
|to face 65|
Geological section along the Haj road above the Gulf of Akabah
General Section across the Wâdy el Arabah to illustrate its geological structure
Jebel Nachaleagh, (or Jebel Umm Kâmel) and the Edomite Mountains near Wâdy Abu Berka
Ain el Ghudyan, in the Wâdy el Arabah
|to face 83|
Mount Hor (Jebel Haroun), from the watershed of the Wâdy el Arabah
|to face 85|
Pass between Jebels Magrah and Jerâfeh
| " 97|
Shells from the ancient bed of the Salt Sea near Ain Abu Werideh
Pass into the Wâdy el Weibeh
Terraces above the descent to the Ghôr
Geological section through the gorge of the Wâdy el Hessi
Ruins of Lebrusch and of ancient town east of the Ghôr
|to face 122|
Bent joint-planes in rock salt along the face of Jebel Usdum
Abraham's Well, Beersheba
Wâdy Kadeis and Wâdy Jaifeh, from a sketch by the late Rev. F. W. Holland
Diagram of Triangulation from Akabah to the Dead Sea
|to face 199|
Figures cut on the rock in Wâdy Zelekâ
Bedouin tribe marks, and Arabic inscriptions in Wâdy Ghuweir
Section along the Wâdy Arabah
Map showing Route of the Expedition