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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Wed Feb 17. [17 February 1909] Left Bumbuj at 7.15 with Jusef and
Hajj Muhammad. We passed a number of villages not marked in
Kiepert, the first 2 on the left being Mangabeh and Wardana; after
them on the right 'Ain Nakhileh. A man on a donkey joined us and
talked with Hajj M. about Hurriyeh. He was not inscribed nor were any
of the villagers and none of them from these Arab villages had done
military service. He knew nothing about the new govt. Presently we
dropped into the Sajur valley at Chad and followed the river by a
narrow much washed away path on the side of the hill, to Ausheriyyeb
which we reached at 10.15. A few yards more brought us into sight of
an arm of the Euphrates flowing under white cliffs in which were big
chambered caves. We rode half an hour or so down the bank till the
two arms joined making a stream about as big as the Thames at
Chelsea and at 11 we came to the ferry. Camels, carts and donkeys
were waiting to be taken over - the camels had been waiting 2 days,
in yesterday's wind no boat could cross. The camel drivers were
very sorry for themselves, no bread, no fire no tobacco by God. So
we got across the widest part, rode over a stretch of sand and stones
and were ferried again over another narrower arm. When the snow
melts all this broad extent is covered with water. Tell Ahmar [Tall al
Ahmar] is washed by the water of the Euphrates and the village lies at
its N foot. I climbed onto the mound and lunched there. We saw our
baggage animals arrive at the ferry an hour behind us. Then I took
one Ibrahim and went out to see the stones. We walked across open
desert to the walls which are easily distinguished as a long mound. At
the E gate we saw the 2 Assyrian lions of Shalmaneser and just inside
it the broken stela with 2 heads visible. We followed the line of the
wall N to the N gate which is clearly visible. N of it outside the walls is
a little mound with a cave (filled up with earth) and the broken Hittite
stone or stones. These we dug out with the assistance of a large
number of people. Ibrahim told me he was not popular with the
Kaimakam of Bumbuj and proposed to put himself under my
protection please God. On one of the stones there was a bull. A
discussion arose as to the nature of the animal and Ibrahim said it
was a pig. Hajj M: "In the ancient days they made pictures of men,
maidens, horses, bulls, dogs and lions. But not of pigs." Ibrahim with
conviction: "They did not make pictures of pigs." I then made a cast
of one of the stones - it took me 2 hard hours, and came in at 5 to tea.
Lovely warm evening; the sun set behind the Euphrates. Barometer
dropped nearly 500ft between Bumbij and here. Some say Membij
and I hear both Jerablus [Jarabulus] and Jerabis - I think the people
here say the latter.

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