Musil´s travels to the Sinai Peninsula
Musil repeatedly travelled to the Sinai Peninsula to map Arabia Petraea and the result of his work brought an unexpected benefit to Egypt. He brought back early data for maps already from the school expedition in 1896: these included many notes about the landscape and distances. Full of traveler’s enthusiasm he immediately crossed the river Jordan during the vacation of 1896 to explore territories connected with the second part of the Exodus (Musil 1898, 2). From Musil’s reports we can see that since the very first moments, he purposefully started to build his extensive work, and that plans for creation of maps were part of his goals since the beginning of his stay in the Middle East. Along with biblical, ethnographical and archaeological findings, he also systematically collected topographical data. “I wanted to (…) see the second half of the Exodus route, borders of the Roman domain, learn about life, religion, customs, habits, legends, songs of the natives…” (Musil 1898, 2) The result of this trip, from which he returned to Jerusalem on 21st September 1896, was “abundant listing of ruins, mountains and valleys with data needed for creation of a map, photographs with notes about life of tribes…” (Musil 1898, 3).
Two years later, and after invaluable personal experiences with individual journeys, a critical distance in assessment of the school expedition is visible. However its cardinal importance for his travels and scholastic career is indisputable: “From this expedition I brought back a collection of plants, minerals, seashells, photographs and some drawings, plans, plentiful commentaries about formation of land, valleys, mountains, with directions and distances’ records for a map, but altogether all was fragmentary, uncompleted and without knowledge of life and people living there – dead. Travelling with a caravan is comfortable, but expensive and it doesn’t bring a grand benefit.” (Musil 1898, 2).
The first research travels in the Near East
Musil was bringing back from travels, which took place from 1896 until 1915 hundreds of copies of Nabatean, Greek and Arabic inscriptions, drawings, ethnographic records, photographs, samples of minerals and botanic findings. He explored the route of the Roman road and on the basis of inscriptions discovered, he determined its further direction (Drápal 1972, 16-18; Drápal 2005b, 14-18).
One of the first Musil´s journeys to Ma‘dabā. During this journey in the summer of 1896, he visited together with a missionary – Catholic Arab Don Antūn Adrabb – al- Karak, where he explored remnant of Roman camps and milestones. Other journeys led among others to the Ottoman fortified station of al-Qaṭrāna, on the coast of Dead Sea and to Nabatean Petra. There they engaged in exploration of town fortification, irrigation system, marketplace, ruins of pagan and Christian temples, drawing of grave ground plans and general plan of the city (Musil 1898b, 2). After return, he continued in the study of Assyrian, Hebrew and Arabic languages and in self study in Beirut´s libraries.
A few weeks later he set off on another trip (from 10. 5. 1897 until 14. 7. 1897) with a clear cartographic aim, accompanied by a military specialist Rudolf Lendle: “To connect the first with the second, to determine the southern border of Palestine, both Roman routes leading from Aqaba (…) On this trip I was accompanied by a German engineer officer Mr. Lendle, who arranged the map, drew plans and was of great benefit to me.” (Musil 1898, 3). In spite of an apparent progress, Musil felt that the work is not yet complete: what was left was mapping Wādī Mūsā (Petra) and unexplored territory southwest of ‘Ayn Qudays, and this was a source of unrest for hyperactive Musil (Musil 1898, 4).
The journey to Musil´s life´s discovery
In March 1898, a year after his departure from Jerusalem, he left for the most important expedition of his career, during which he discovered on 8th June the Umayyad Quṣayr ʿAmra. Already during his previous journey Musil learnt about the ruins of Qaṣr al- Ṭūba and about the Umayyad castle Quṣayr ʿAmra, whose interior should be decorated by paintings and inscriptions according to description of a Bedouin sheikh. Musil provisionally classified them as Nabatean (Musil 1898b, 3–6). In 1898 he visited for the first time Qaṣr al- Ṭūba, Quṣayr ʿAmra, al- Muwaqqar, al- Mushattā and al- Kharāna (Musil 1899, 252–262).
He had no idea before his departure what a radical change in his life was just around the corner: “The sole aim of my trip was to explore thoroughly the southern borders of Palestine and the adjoining territory. Along with this – if possible – I wanted to make cartographic records…” (Musil 1899a, 251).
This crucial expedition of his career he described immediately after his return to the letter sent from Damascus to the University in Beirut from the 17th of June 1898.
The letter with only one sentence long introduction was published in the journal al- Mašriq. This article with the headline Nová cesta do pouště – „The New Journey in the Desert“ (Musil 1898a, 625–630) contained the itinerary of Musil´s journey, the description of natural conditions and complicated circumstances of travelling in the desert among belligerent groups of Bedouins, and some monuments, which Musil visited. However, it is surprising that in the article is no mention about Quṣayr ‘Amra, which he happily discovered just eight days before he wrote the letter.
Musil´s planned cooperation with Brünnow
In 1901, Professor Rudolf Ernst Brünnow, based at that time in Vevey in Switzerland, turned to the academy of sciences in Vienna with a request for cooperation. In his letter of 21st July he asked Professor David Heinrich Müller, to submit the attached map of al- Karak region for Musil’s review.37 Musil accepted,38 and a long-term cooperation was started. The following year Brünnow suggested to Vienna, that Musil should publish his findings in Germany along with the local scholars. Menčík writes, that the academy sent Musil to Vevey to get acquainted withplans about the intended publication based on Brünnow’s trip in 1897, and to prepare a report about it. He adds, that Musil was willing to take part in the cooperation with Brünnow, but eventually the academy decided to publish Musil’s work as an independent publication (Menčík 1908, 33–4 and 42).39 In reality, this matter was evidently more complicated and the dismissal of this offer realized probably not only from an incentive of the Academy, however, also from Musil´side, as we can see from received letters of the Viennese academy in Musil´s inheritance in Vyškov and from the drafts of his letters in the same place.
Table of contents :
1.1 Aims and scope
1.2 The reason for the choice of this topic
1.3 Sources of the work
1.4 Brief content of the work
1.5 Method of presentation
2 THE ORIGINS OF THE EUROPEAN INTEREST IN THE NEAR EAST
2.1 The first journeys from the Czech lands to the Near East and the origins of scientific explorations of Czechs in the Near East
2.2 The origins of European interest in the Near East and the state of archaeology in the Near East in the time when Alois Musil worked there.
2.2.1 Max van Berchem (1863-1921)
2.2.2 The beginning of German archaeological engagement in the Near East
2.2.3 The development of priorities in the archaeological research in the Near East and in the Islamic archaeology
2.2.4 K. A. C. Creswell (1879 – 1974)
2.2.5 Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945) and Ernst Herzfeld (1879-1948)
2.2.6 Gertruda Bell (1868-1926)
2.2.7 T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935)
2.2.8 A. Musil a T. E. Lawrence
2.2.9 The origins of aerial archaeology in the Near East
2.2.10 Antoine Poidebard (1878-1955)
2.2.11 The development of archaeology in the Near East after the First World War
2.2.12 Jean Sauvaget (1901-1950)
2.2.13 The development of subsequent research in Islamic archaeology up to present times (in brief)
3 THE STUDIES AND RESEARCH JOURNEYS OF A. MUSIL
3.1 Musil´s arrival to the Near East, École Biblique, the first school expedition to Egypt and the origins of his studies of archaeology
3.2 Transfer to Université St. Joseph in Beirut
3.3 Musil´s travels to the Sinai Peninsula
3.4 The first research travels in the Near East
3.5 The journey to Musil´s life´s discovery
3.6 Musil´s planned cooperation with Brünnow
3.7 Musil´s essential monographies published in Vienna
3.8 The summary of Musil´s journeys in 1908 – 1917
3.9 Musil´s activities after the First World War
3.10 Musil´s publication activity after the First World War
4 MUSIL AS AN EXPLORER AND A CREATOR OF DOCUMENTATION
4.1 Musil and photodocumention
4.2 Musil as a cartographer and his documentation of monuments
4.3 Musil´s cooperation with architects and the interest in modern archaeological research
4.4 Quality of Musil´s documentation
4.5 Advantages of connections of Musil´s archaeological and cartographic research with travelling with Bedouins
5 ALOIS MUSIL IN THE FIELD OF ANTHROPOLOGY
6 ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCHES OF BEDOUINS
7 MUSIL AND KEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES – MUSIL‘S THE MOST EXPLORED SITES IN DETAIL
7.1 Quṣayr ‘Amra
7.1.1 History of discovery – Musil´s great discovery and initial problems connected with it
7.1.2 Musil‘s description of Quṣayr ‘Amra
7.1.3 Monumental publication about Quṣayr ‘Amra from 1907
7.1.4 The documentation and problems of the publication
7.1.5 Chronology of Quṣayr ‘Amra and the initial problems with its dating
7.1.6 Modern explorations in Quṣayr ‘Amra – Researchers in Quṣayr ‘Amra after Musil
7.1.7 Restoring interventions
7.1.8 Other publications about Quṣayr ‘Amra
7.1.9 Recent researches in Quṣayr ‘Amra
7.1.10 Present project of reconstruction and research in Quṣayr ‘Amra
7.2.1 History of the site
7.2.2 Survey, documentation and publications of A. Musil
7.2.3 Description of the site according to Musil
220.127.116.11 Basilica of St Sergius with three naves
18.104.22.168 Basilica with five naves
22.214.171.124 Martyrion or the central church
126.96.36.199 The church extra muros
7.2.4 Significance of the site
7.2.5 Revisional explorations and new projects
8 MUSIL AND THE UMAYYAD CASTLES
8.1 Phenomenon of the Umayyed castles
8.2 The development of the hypotheses about the function of the Umayyad castles from Musil up to the present
9 MUSIL AND THE EXPLORATION OF ROMAN LIMES
10 THE ARCHEOLOGICAL DATABASE – ITS STRUCTURE AND DESCRIPTION
11.1 Evaluation of the Quality of Musil´s Documentation
11.2 Evaluation of Analyses by Musil Documented Monuments
11.3 The evaluation of the scientific research and its contribution for the contemporaty science
11.4 Musil´s aims, methodology and a shift of Musil´s researching interests in the Near East
11.5 Musil´s significance for the Islamic archaeology
15 LIST OF FIGURES