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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

31.577183, 47.6849007

Thurs. 16. [16 April 1914] Off at 5.10. It was still very hot but there were
thunder storms about and the sun was sometimes clouded over,
when it felt quite cool. The temp was 89? when we came into camp at
Wizeh. The desert burnt, but still full of safarah, and the mignonette
plant grown very big and brilliant red and orange horned poppies,
and the lavender blue flowered plant. We reached Wizeh in 61/2
hours, pitched tents and in half an hour I went out to plan the qasr in the
burning sun. There was a little breeze - it was not so bad. It is almost
exactly the same as Khubbaz but more ruined. Also I think less
carefully built. Uncut stones and mortar and the walls have all been
plastered. The towers have fallen; the gate toweres were not
rounded. Outside the gate was covered by a calotte set over a
horizontal squinch and outset twice from the wall. But the vaults of the
rooms had no outset. In the SE chamber the well which is said to
have gone down to the underground water. The jorah by which you
descend to the water is some 110 paces away, an immense hole
about 100 ft deep with a passage in the rock opening from it. The
man we had taken from Abu Jir [Abu el Jir] insisted on carrying two
rifles. Al silah zain he said. We brought the matarat and a girbeh.
The passage was sometimes a mere crack through the rock,
sometimes it opened out into great halls. There was one biggish
chamber; then we dropped down into a huge hall, when from the
passage was so low that we cd just creep through on our stomachs. It
lifted again and we came to the water, cold and very clear. We
waded in and filled our waterskin which we had great labour in
carrying out. The 'Anazeh sometimes in summer water their sheep
from here! We had left 3 lights burning at various twists in the path and
found our way back easily. We were glad to see the light of day. Dan
al dunya said Fattuh. They all declare they wd not go in alone, not if
they were dying of thirst, for fear of losing themselves along the many
passages which open in all directions. It is called Wizeh because the
Arab yatawaz'an in getting water from it. We filled some skins in the
morning at al Jelta in the Wadi Abu Jir - it is a jelta, a dry waterfall with
a pool below. 'Adwan collects the sheep tax for the Govt. It has been
raised this year from 3 piastres to over 4. But the shaikhs eat more
than the Govt. he says. They eat the cultivators who can't escape
from them. Ali Sulaiman is responsible for all the road from 'Anah to
Feluja [Fallujah, Al]; in the Jezireh [Jazirah, Al] roads the Shammar
'Asi shaikhs are mas'ul.

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