Image to the Right: Excavation of Sāmarrāʼ (Iraq): al-Qāṭūn, House XI?, View of Wall with Ornamentation, 1911-1913 [graphic].
"In the first week of April, Herzfeld split his groups of workers to be able to examine three more sites simultaneously. In a two-day campaign he cleared House XI at Qatun which lay directly west of the modern city on the narrow bank of the Tigris overlooking the river. The place had previously been burrowed through by hopeful scavengers but Herzfeld, as he expressly states in one of his letters, wanted to prove that he could find ornamented stucco walls even in those areas."
Image Above: Excavation of Sāmarrāʼ (Iraq): al-Qāṭūn, House XIa, Panoramic View Facing Courtyard from Room 1, 1911-1913 [graphic].
"At the same time, excavation began on a residential complex situated to the west of Sur Isa palace and north of the Great Mosque. Finally, two baths were discovered west of the Great Mosque adjacent to one of the three parallel boulevards that connected the Shari Abi Ahmad with the Great Mosque. Activity at all three sites ended between April 9 and 11. Herzfeld spent the third week of April documenting the results of the excavations in the Great Mosque and registering small finds."
Image Above: Excavation of Sāmarrāʼ (Iraq): West of Ṣūr Īṣā, House XIII, View of Room 11, West Wing, 1911-1913 [graphic].
"The attacks against the German activities at Samarra and the people involved continued. Workers on their way to the excavation-house to get their work booklets stamped were beaten up by police. Locals rushes to the Great Mosque and started to smash its newly excavated pavement to pieces. When the excavation guard got hold of the two of them he was pelted with stones and manhandled, again by police. Only when Herzfeld arrived on the scene was the poor man saved from suffering more serious injuries. Gaining more and more attention from the populace while his superiors did nothing, Jemil Effendi finally boasted that he would make an end of the excavations and drag Herzfeld out of the area in chains. The situation became threatening when, after being brainwashed by the police commissioner, the workers testified that Herzfeld had talked them into believing they were German subjects. Other accusations said that he had beaten a policeman, and that the representative to the German expedition had insulted the Qa'immanqam."
Image Above: Excavation of Sāmarrāʼ (Iraq): Inside View of the Great Mosque of al-Mutawakkil, 1911-1913 [graphic].
"Herzfeld finally stopped the excavation and attempted to contact Friedrich Sarre, the German vice-consul, and the Ottoman authorities in Baghdad via telegraph to resolve the continuing a problems in Samarra. Looking for a scribe to render his letter into Turkish he learned that, for fear of the Qa'immaqam, nobody was willing to help him. The telegraphist simply declared the perfectly calligraphed telegrams unreadable. This left Herzfeld with the option of sending somebody to Baghdad to dispatch his several letters of complaint. He himself stayed at the site in order to be able to finish the work and leave the modern city of Samarra as quickly as possible, refilling the areas that had already been dug, and registering and packing up finds."
"Unfortunately the messenger he sent to Baghdad by steamer with the letters and telegrams had to return to Samarra because the Tigris had flooded and was not navigable. Herzfeld, now almost in despair, decided to go by himself. He left Samarra on April 24th and met with Hesse, Bedri Bey, the representative of the Imperial Ottoman Museums, and representatives of the Wali to demand protection for the excavation Cables were sent to Constantinople. The German ambassador advised Herzfeld to ask the Wali to remove the Qa'immaqam from his post. A committee of inquiry was formed in Baghdad to investigate the incidents and Herzfeld returned with this committee to Samarra. After two weeks of investigation it became clear that, besides the Qa'immaqam, two more highly ranked officials, the Ra's al-baladiyya and the head of the Municipal Council, had been involved in sabotage against the excavation. But the only one who finally lost his job turned out to be the representative of the Imperial Museums to the expedition, Salah al-Din Effendi."
"The demands of the harvest season and the more troubling conflicts between Herzfeld and the authorities in Samarra had left the excavation with only a handful of workers still willing to work for the Germans."
To See Previous Samarra Posts:
Samarra 1911: Excavation of the Great Mosque Finishes, al-Quraina Begins
And don't forget to use the Samarra Resource page.
The Freer|Sackler Archives will see you again mid-May, as Herzfeld and his team are finally able to get back to work!
Rachael Cristine Woody