The Sarcophagus of an Ancient Civilization: Petra, Edom and the Edomites

The Sarcophagus of an Ancient Civilization: Petra, Edom and the Edomites

The Sarcophagus of an Ancient Civilization: Petra, Edom and the Edomites

The Sarcophagus of an Ancient Civilization: Petra, Edom and the Edomites

Excerpt

Nearly thirty years have passed since the hope of writing a book on Petra was first conceived. Naturally the desire to do so was begotten through our discovery of the Great High Place, May 3, 1900.

During the first few years of the long period which has intervened, it seemed advisable to wait until we could return to Petra and spend a longer time in studying the numberless monuments of that great Necropolis. And even after a second, and indeed a third, sojourn, in 1907, it remained our persistent conviction that a still more thorough investigation of the ruins would insure greater intelligence, and, therefore, enhance the value of our work. Accordingly, we procrastinated. Time quickly passed as home duties continued, as usual, to press. In due time, however, prospects of a whole year's furlough, in order to accept the Directorship of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, began to dawn. Contentedly, therefore, we waited till 1913-14, when, with five of our students of archæology, we visited Petra for the fourth time. We then repaired to the libraries of the Old World, and in a few months all was ready for the immediate precipitation of the facts, as collected from observation and from books, when, alas! the Great War broke out, and sheathed indefinitely the pen, which is supposed to be "mightier than the sword"!

The years which followed brought with them sorrows, both national and domestic. Perspectives shifted, unexpected duties confronted, and the unfinished task of com-

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