|I insert the report, which I sent to my acquaintances, on the study
of Wadi al-Himmeh remaining carried out on May 13 this year.
This remaining has been investigated for nearly 20 years by an archaeological
team consisting of several Australian universities. They have built
a 'Big House' in the neighboring village, come to the site in every
spring and autumn, over 40 degrees centigrade hotness in the summer
and below 5 degrees coldness in the winter with occasional snow, and
done research climbing down and up the wadi I fought every morning
and evening. Archaeologists never camp in remains in principle, it
might be natural of course.
They have been carrying out one of the world-valuable excavation and
making a detailed study of excavated artifacts they brought back to
Australia. They have an intention that they will be ready to donate
artifacts they have excavated to the National Museum under construction.
Probably a long friendship promoted by both Jordanian and Australian
archaeologists on their personal level has enabled this donation,
at the same time some different aspect comes out.
The above trend maybe synchronizes with the proposal expressed by
the Cincinnati University of the USA that they intend to return the
Hilbat ad-Dalih to the National Museum which they took to and have
been keeping in their university. The Hilbat ad-Dalih is gigantic
stone statues which symbolize Nabataean Kingdom, the Nabataean Kingdom
appeared in the history in circa 6 century BC and was conquered by
Roman Empire in 63 BC, and still is the pride of Jordanian people
as the first kingdom in which Arabic language was spoken. The Kingdom's
stronghold was in Petra which once was as stage of the great hit Hollywood
film. The universities in Australia and America have begun showing
a way of thinking and acting different from the one of European museums,
except for the Metropolitan Museum in New York, haven't they?
Realizing that it is utterly hasty to draw a conclusion with these
2 samples, I would like to heartily appreciate these movements. This
may come from a kind of favoritism of a person who has been involved
in making an exhibition plan of the National Museum.
To visit all the sites of archaeological remains which are planned
to be exhibited in the National Museum as one-to-one scale cut models,
partial reconstruction, and to breathe field air and see the surrounding
views, I have been keeping it as my policy. The other day I visited
'Wadi al-Himmeh' as well, a housing remain of the Epi-paleolithic
Period, which is one of the sites where people started the oldest
settlement and primitive agriculture in the world around 20,000 ago
and near the Jordan valley in Northern Jordan. This visit was intended
to bring a series of site surveys to an end for the present. The housing
remain will be reconstructed and displayed in the National Museum.
I have already visited and studied more than about 40 remains all
over Jordan until that time, I could reach any site somehow, however
difficult a place it was, within tens of minutes after getting off
a 4-wheel-drive car. As even Jihad, a young archaeologist, 32 years
old, and one of competent partners of the National Museum who always
made the rounds of remains with me, gave me a lot of lectures, easily
found shards of stone tools and potteries (I, nonprofessional, cannot
tell shards of tools from surrounding stones and earth) and handed
over them to me saying 'Hi! Namba,' said that he didn't know the way
to the remain, we were guided by a local archaeologist. Tens of minutes
on a 4-wheel-drive car jolting along bad roads and some walks along
grassy path after getting off the car, then the guide began telling
Jihad in Arabic pointing far away hills. As I know archaeological
words, I also began thinking that things had been going wrong perhaps,
but it was too late.
Jihad easily started climbing down a cliff full with thorny weeds,
rocks and a pile of rubble saying 'Hey Namba, let's go together!'
Jihad's shoes were new but mines were soft shoes which I once thought
of throwing away three months ago, so the soles was just like skates
and smooth enough for sliding. I tried to grasp weeds by me but they
were all thorny, why not I didn't prepare gloves, and also tried to
grasp some suitable stones but they went rolling down to the bottom
of a ravine. I couldn't help giving up as if it was other's affair
thinking that falling into the pits of hell should be like this.
At length climbing down the cliff, nearly 100 meter high and about
70 degrees angle, reaching the bottom of a wadi, a river particular
to a dry climate in which water flows only in the rainy season, and
climbing up the opposite 100 meter cliff again, when I was nearly
basking in a heavenly mood satisfying that I arrived at last, Jihad,
Arabic famed as 'holly war,' told me laughing again 'Namba, we need
to cross another wadi!.' I couldn't help determining to do so recalling
some Japanese 'one might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.'
When we at last reached the hill on which the remain existed, I lost
my breath and was dripping with sweat clouding my sunglasses and even
looking at the remain such simple a question came into my mind as
'Why did people of the Epi-paleolithic Period conceive an idea to
live on the top of such a fierce hill?' However, the view was superb
beyond description commanding the Jordan valley with a lot of greenery
in the distance. Nearby hills are splendid with dignity in the quietness
if we see them at a distance, i.e. without thinking such a chimerical
idea as climbing them up and down.
Admiring so but my brain became full with gloomy feeling that 'I once
more have to climb down and up those cliffs twice!' I asked Jihad
'Call a taxi!' but Jihad only roared with laughter saying 'It may
come in Tokyo, but I wonder whether it comes to this hill.'
The above was the way I finished my study. Feeling, several times,
that I might really die, instant death if I lost my footing, but it
was a tiptop adventure. 'From now on when I meet some Jordanian archaeologist,
I firstly ask the one if the one has set foot on Wadi al-Himmeh on
your own. If the one says NO, I'll shut my ears to whatever lofty
theory the one offers' said I, and Jihad kept laughing heartily.
Jihad standing at the left edge of first picture, a view of nearby
hills, we climbed down and up such hills, in the second picture, a
far view of the Jordan valley in the third picture, Doctor Namba examining
the housing remain, his brain full of penance on return, in the fourth
picture, and Ascetic Namba climbing up the ultimate cliff. I'm attaching
those five pictures, please enjoy them.
If a city state 'Jawa' of the Bronze Age consisting of black basalt
amidst a red desert in the north east of Jordan and near the border
with Syria, where I visited two weeks before the above study, was
a supreme experience of the quietness, 'Wadi al-Himmeh would be a
harsh adventure of the dynamism. However, the remain of Wadi al-Himmeh
was in the quiet with cool wind and comfort gradually revived inside
of me even after coming back to Amman.