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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

34.802075, 38.996815

Monday March 1 [1 March 1909] Some trouble from Aleppo [Halab] from whence had come a telegram saying I was not to go through the Jezireh [Jazirah, Al] but from Nakta to Nukta in the Shamiyyeh [Shamiyah]. I told them to telegraph back that this was not my intention but they did not send the telegram till the night, consequently there was no answer this morning. I announced that I was going with Khalaf and 'Abdullah, a man of Selim's, and they gave me 2 soldiers without more ado. Went to the mosque and took some photographs. There has been a double arcade all round the enclosure. The Circassians or others have dug deep down and carried off all the bricks. So of [sic] at 8.15 and caught up the baggage in a few minutes. Got to Rakka es Samra at 9.25 - I suppose it is Rafika - a large area where there has been building. I think Kiepert is wrong in placing Tell Zedan on the W side of the Belikh [Balikh]. It is just on the other side, on the rising ground to the E of the river and I cd not visit it because of the river swamps between me and it. Rakkat el Hamra is nearer to the Euphrates - I did not go there. The Belikh is all drawn off in channels to water the crops here and the river itself is a tiny brook which we crosed by a brushwood bridge at 10.15. Here we waited a few minutes for the animals and then Khalaf, Jusef, one of my soldiers, Kiamil (a Circassian arrived but 3 years ago with the other Muhajjerin[?] at Rakka [Ar Raqqah]) rode off to Jebel Munakhir. At 12.50 we reached a small outlying Tell called Al Kecheret al Milha and stayed till 1.15 to lunch. Jebel Munakhir is a volcano and the lava stretches for some distance round it, broken stones and lava dust. But the Tell is not volcanic; it is formed of a block of white rock which lies above ground on top of the tell. On the highest point remains of masonry - a small tower? A few minutes brought us to the foot of the mt up which Khalaf and I climbed only to find that the one visible ruin was on the other side of the crater. There were charming pale blue iris verging to white with a yellow dash on the outer petals. So we sent the horses round, and crossed the crater and climbed the other first[?]. The building was nothing but a Ziarah - of a son of 'Abdul Kadir of Baghdad said Khalaf. Splendid view. Kiepert is rather wild here. His Tell Zedal is I think my Tell Al Kechereh. The mt is called indifferently Jebel Munkhar and J. Manakhir, the second being obviously the plural of the first. What Sachan calls Tell Menakhir is probably the Ziarah. He does not mark Jebel Manakhar as Sharki which lies about 3 miles E of J. Manakhir al Gharbi. His Tulaba is probably the Jebel 'Ukula which we saw on the horizon a little E of N. All this country is 'Anazeh and we saw some of their tents. A Jebel Baida is reported between J. Manakhir and J. 'Abdul Aziz [ 'Abd al 'Aziz, Jabul]. Just below the mt were the tents of Sheikh Dib el Hajju, of the Afadh were we spent an hour from 2.15- 3.15 drinking coffee. At 4.10 we got down to a large encampment nearish the river - the place is called Kubur ej Jebel - Kiepert does not mark it nor is it anything but a name. Here Khalaf expected to find our tents but they had wisely gone on another hour and camped in a beautiful site on some rising ground by the river. The Arabs call the place Meda. Just beyond a ruined site is reported called Khirbet Hadawi. The ruins of Tell Sha'ir are said to be 2 hours from Abu Sa'id. In the low ground in the wide bend of the river between Kubur ej Jebel and our camp we crossed a space ringed round with a deep ditch - for irrigation? I did not however go down it to see if it led to the Euphrates. We got into camp at 5.10, a long day but not tiring. Delicious weather. Khalaf announced cheerfully that he was Gom with the Baqqara but he intends nevertheless to camp by their tents so it can't be bad. The baggage marched 71/2 hours.

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