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Granger Dairy In the Fayoum Oasis for his Fossil Expedition Page 2


Walter Granger's 1907 Fayoum Expedition Dairy

Page 2

Sat. Feb. 16:


Prof. O.'s party back from Zeuglodon Valley this evening.


Mrs. O. & Josephine visited Quarry C before lunch. Some one camped in the wady East of quarry attracted attention and Mrs. O. became worried and we all returned to camp with her. Mickawi rode over to find out who he was -- returned saying he was a German prospector.

Lunch at Upper Camp. Returned to Quarry C in afternoon. Saw the German who had just uncovered a good Arsinoitherium jaw.-- he knew the name of it. Is apparently a prospector of some experience. Up to Osborn's camp in the evening. The Keating's Powder has arrived.

Sun. Feb. 17:
The German prospector called on Osborn today. He is a Mr. [Richard] Markgraf -- has done considerable work here for Prof. [Eberhard] Fraas. Says he has a quarry of creodonts in an upper level. Prof. O. mentioned employment to him but he says he is under agreement with Fraas.

Faiyum fossil collector Richard Markgraf at his campsite in 1907.

Faiyum fossil collector Richard Markgraf at his campsite in 1907.

Prof. O. has decided to send the three Helouan men back. They are worse than useless. The two old men from Tamia are better workers and much more careful. Talba and camels in tonight.

Talba and friend

Mon. Feb. 18:


Tonight we are lonesome. Prof. O. and party got off about 10 o'clock -- took photographs of our entire working party -- including camel men.

Still at Quarry C which appears to be pretty well worked out. A few bones in the upper end.

Herr Markgraf called over to Camp this evening. Expressed willingness to work for us. Shall try and get Prof. O. to make arrangements. I am to see his collection tomorrow.

Ferrar has left his tent with us; also a drawing table which was much needed. The three Helouan men have been paid off and leave tomorrow morning for home. They are Abas Abdulla, Abdulla Mohammed & Mohammed Mohammed, -- the two latter are brothers of Daoud and Ali.

Tues. Feb. 19:


Went with Daoud to Markgraf's camp and then under Markgraf's guidance to the Westerly bone pits of Beadnell [about 8 1/2 miles due west from main camp].

Here, M. pointed out location of all of his important finds which I plotted. Some of his finest skulls were broken in transit.

Saw his collection from the upper level; they are not creodonts but Ancodon, Megalohyrax & Geniohyus, -- well preserved white bone -- apparently from gypsum layers. Find him very agreeable. Have written Prof. O., hoping to make arrangement for his employment. Herr M. lives in a tiny tent with bare necessities; has two camels and two men. Speaks Arabic well.

Olsen has begun to find good bones in Quarry B. Weather beautiful today. Helouan men returned with Camels this morning.

Wed. Feb. 20:


Olsen began a heavy stripping today in Quarry B.-- we need shellac badly. That which we brought from Museum is not good -- have written to Prof. O. asking that he send some out from Cairo.

Today Daoud and Ali prospecting North-East of camp found a young Arsinoitherium skull horn cones and occiput missing. They also found a good palate of Palaeomastodon palate not far from north end of Quarry B and near camel trail. Gave Daoud 1/2 for the skull.

Thurs. Feb. 21:


This afternoon Markgraf's native came over to camp saying that he had found a "ras". I went over and found he had a fine skull of Palaeomastodon -- incisors and Archis [arcus - bow, apex of dental arch] gone but otherwise excellent.

Fossils of Faiyum Proboscidea -- [added April 23, 2001] Gomphotherium (top) and Phiomia (bottom)

Markgraf uses hot glue for hardening bones. Has the Arab collect dead brush and boil the glue and applies while hot & thin. Seems to penetrate and harden well. The skull was an isolated specimen -- just north of his tent in the bottom of the Wady.

Olsen at stripping in Quarry B today.

Fri. Feb. 22:


First holiday and pay day to the natives. Great excitement. Men did not like being docked half-day[']s pay. Objected seriously, say they are never docked by Quibell. They were overruled. A party of them walked to the Birket to wash and buy fish from the fishermen in there.-- about 15 miles round trip. Olsen and I went to the top of Gebel-el-Qatrani back of camp. Collected ants for Prof. [William Morton] Wheeler. Could see Giza Pyramids. Found Gazelle tracks but saw no animals.

Last night the natives were talking all night in anticipation of their pay today; tonight they are boisterous again. Everything is "faloos, faloos".

Sat. Feb. 23:


Olsen began prospecting in Quarry B today, found some fairly good Jaws of Arsinoitherium and smaller things. His men are working well now, have been singing all day except when they stop to talk over money matters. The excitement of pay day is still on them.

Watched the Quft men make their bread this evening. We allow two of them to leave the quarry 1/2 hour earlier in the evening to do the cooking. The flour (apparently whole wheat) is mixed with salt and water to thick batter; is then rolled out on a board with a broom handle very thin and 18 inches across. It is then laid on a piece of sheet iron placed on rocks with a fire underneath -- fuel is tamarisk stumps brought out by camel men from East end of Birket. When cooked the bread is tough and leathery but not bad to the taste; it is almost their sole food. Daoud's men eat dry bread brought from their homes together with onions.

Sun. Feb. 24:


Herr Markgraf over to dinner this evening. He has found nothing new since the skull. Olsen and I have a great time talking with him, have to use English, German, Arabic and sign language but manage to get along. We find him very agreeable. He is a native of Austria, his wife is dead and a small daughter is being brought up in Italy. He was a violinist and came to Egypt on account of his health -- has some lung or throat affection, possibly t'b. Makes his headquarters in Cairo but has recently purchased land in Sinnouris [to the east southeast, south of Tamia and within the Faiyum oasis] and will set out date & orange trees this spring. His camels go to Sinnouris instead of Tamia.

Mon. Feb. 25:

Quite a heavy sandstorm from the north last night.

Olsen continues to find bones in Quarry B. I worked on Arsinoitherium skull and Palaeomastodon palate. Camels in tonight. Letter from Prof. O. with 50.

Names of our native workmen are --

Daoud Mohammed Reis Abas Abdulla of Helouan. Ali Mohammed Cook Abdulla Mohammed Discharged. Mohammed Mohammed "

Hassan Tamia

Mass[a]out "

Ibrahim Salim - Reis

Ali Achmed 2nd Reis From Quft.

Suliman Salim

Salim Halil Mohammed Hassin

Halil Mohammed Achmed Abid

Machmud Mohammed Hamid Said Hassin Mohammed (boy)

Ibrhim Etman

Have written to White Star Lines at Naples relinquishing our staterooms on the "[S.S.] Celtic" Mar. 20.

Tues. Feb. 26:


Today I opened up the pits S-West of Quarry A, 1/2 mile [means south southeast at quarry D?]. Took most of Olsen's men leaving him only the old men who do careful work. He was glad to get rid of the men for a few days; they require careful watching. Did not get down to the bone layer in the new quarry.

Weather continues fine.

Camels returned from Tamia this A.M. Talba does not send out all 10 camels at once but runs them in two relays. Aside from our fantasses of water, they bring alfalfa to feed on overnight. They bed them down near the 3rd tent and sleep among them to keep warm. Ali won't allow the Camel Men to sleep in the Cook tent and the other tents are full. The 12 men from Quft occupy one tent but Daoud allows one or two favored ones to sleep in his tent with Ali, Hassan & Massaout. The camel men seem to be lower caste.

One of Talba's Caravans to the Fayoum

One of Talba's Caravans to the Fayoum


Main camp - Quarries A & B. The 3rd and 2nd tents are in foreground. Granger's and Olsen's tent stands beyond.

Main camp - Quarries A & B. The 3rd and 2nd tents are in

foreground. Granger's and Olsen's tent stands beyond.

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