Walter Granger's 1907 Fayoum Expedition Dairy
Wed. Mar. 20:
. . . I took a camera and with Daoud went in as far as Qasr el-Sagha to get photographs for Prof.'s [Osborn] Century article . . . .
Tues. Mar. 26:
Still splendid weather with nights cool but getting warmer.
Spring seems to be on here now. Several new plants have sprung up in favorable wadies and there are more birds moving about. Saw storks flying northward to Europe today.
It is surprising what a variety of life one can find here upon careful search and it seems remarkable that any thing can live. Lizards are fairly common; we have seen two or three snakes. There is a species of quail seen occasionally and one of them came into our tent during a windstorm one day.-- two or three species of Raptores [Raptors] and several small Passeres [Passeriformes] complete the list of birds. Antelope of at least two species leave tracks in the wadies every morning. There are a few beetles and millions of house flies.
Saw Daoud's Arsinoithere skull today -- is the backstop [in display quality] and worth saving.
Thurs. Mar. 28:
All hands in the quarries. Daoud and I prospected Westward in the afternoon and pasted the Ars.-- skull.
Fri. Mar. 29:
Busy pasting bones all day. Olsen in Quarry B east. Quft men in Quarry A.
Weather splendid, beginning to be comfortable at night without an overcoat. More storks today.
Sat. Mar. 30:
Rather hard sandstorm last night. The general condition of the atmosphere now is becoming more hazy each day. During Feby. and March the air has been clear but we can barely see the cultivation in the Fayum today. Dew is heavy at night. So much so that we are obliged to cover our [fossil] bones up.
Mon. Apr. 1:
Olsen began prospecting today for the first time and celebrated by finding a very beautiful skull of Apterodon in the wady 1/2 mile below camp.
In Quarry A. Hassan & Massaout uncovered several good bones -- including a fine palate of Palaeomastodon. Markgraf left this morning for Sinnouris, and will go on to Cairo.
Tues. Apr. 2:
I spent a few hours in the Middle Eocene below Garat el-Esh [about 2 1/2 miles south of the main camp].-- found jaw and vertebrae of Moeritherium. These exposures have been pretty thoroughly examined and not much of value is left.
We have decided to send all but two of Quibell's men back to Quft on Friday. Olsen will keep Machmud and I Ibrahim Mohammed as personal assistants -- they are the most capable men of that outfit.
Camels in tonight.
Wed. Apr. 3:
Today Olsen found another creodont skull -- 1/2 sheared off by erosion but the other half is perfect. Found it about 100 yds. from the first one. Natives all in Quarry A.
Today is our first hot day -- much too warm for comfort in the middle of the day and not cold tonight.
Camels returned to Tamia and Talba is to have others here tomorrow night.
Cooler today -- sky overcast. Daoud found fine large Crocodilus skull today -- near the creodont skulls; has lower jaws which is the first association of parts we have seen except a string of four small vertebrae in Quarry B.
The Quft men left at midnight. Talba travels at night now -- when he can to avoid the heat of the day. Discharged two camels last night. Six will suffice from now on.
Sat. Apr. 6:
Very hot today -- a terrific wind is on tonight and it is impossible to keep a candle lit.
Sun. Apr. 7:
Fine day -- cool north breeze. Last night occurred our worst sandstorm, a regular corker. Blew down the Quft mens' tent, tore up the cook tent and would have taken our own if we had not been up every half hour to strengthen the ropes and keep the walls tied up. The men came out twice and readjusted the chunks of fossil wood on the guy ropes. It was impossible to face the wind and everything was black as pitch. This morning the beds and everything in the tents were covered with a thick layer of fine sand. Camels should have been in yesterday and we had only one fantass of water left -- too close a margin in this weather. Camels have just arrived, 9 P.M.
Our heavy sandstorms are all from the north and all come at night. The day winds are mostly So-West. Last night's storm lasted from about 9 untill 4.
Yesterday Olsen and I spent the forenoon in the Middle Eocene collecting invertebrates but finding no good vertebrates. Took only 1/2 bottle water and came home very dry.
Fri. Apr. 12:
Uncomfortable between 10:__ & 4:__. A cool breeze occasionally but mostly dead calm. Got up at 5 and packed two more cases -- sent four in by camels. Finished up work in Quarry B; nothing more being found. Remained in camp all day packing boxes & labelling.
The flies are getting to be the greatest nuisance, the heat would not be so bad without them; they are particularly bad when pasting bones. The paste draws the flies and with both hands engaged they have a free swing at one's face. The weather is not excessively hot yet but still uncomfortable -- about like a hot day in Wyoming.
Wed. Apr. 17:
Camels in with Amer. Mail. Weather cool and comfortable. There has been a very noticeable decrease in the number and the energy of the flies since the Khamsine [khamsin or kh'am-seen] of Sunday. Are planning now to break this camp on the 21st and go to Qasr el-Sagha for a few days before going in to Tamia.
Train to Tamia
Both Olsen and I worked in upper beds today. Took photographs of Gebel. Daoud and men prospecting found half of a Moeritherium skull.
Fri. Apr. 19:
The only hot day I have ever seen! Weather conditions were not unusual in the morning. After breakfast I went with Daoud and Ibrahim to the west to collect the small turtle skull and the Ars.-- humerus of Markgraf's -- took the camera.
Collecting a fossil turtle.
Atmosphere began to be hazy about 10 o'clock, preventing good photographs, growing hotter and with strong So-West wind. By noon the air was full of dust and the wind strong and hot. I realized a Khamsine was on and packed up the turtle and started for camp. The hot sand was moving freely by this time but the wind was fortunately at our backs. Reached camp at 1:o'clock about used up. Olsen had returned earlier from upper beds. Spent afternoon lying in bottom of tent -- suffocated with sand and scorched with heat. Natives wrapped our water bottles in wet burlap which afforded some relief. At 6 P.M. the wind died down suddenly and after a few moments of calm a cool north breeze sprung up causing hundreds of tiny whirlwinds as it came in contact with the So.-West wind. It is now (9:P.M.) very comfortable again.
Sun. Apr. 21:
Broke camp and moved in to Qasr el-Sagha. Camped below the temple [ruins].
Setting up camp below the temple ruins at Qasr el Sagha.
Granger's and Olsen's tent is to the right.beyond which lies the temple.
The butte is Tel Schweinfurth.
Spent the afternoon with Olsen up East along the Middle Eocene escarpment where Daoud says the Barytherium came from -- we found the hills pretty well scoured. Took photos of camp and temple.
Mon. Apr. 22:
Today with Daoud, Ibrahim & Machmud we walked to the Birket [Qarun], stopping on the way at Dime to look on the ruins and take photographs.
Ruins at Dim.
At the Lake we found native fisherman and engaged them to run in their net for us. The fish come up into the shallow water along the shore in great numbers. The method of capture is to select a small bay and creep up with great caution and suddenly rush across the entrance of the bay with one end of the long gill net. Two or three naked natives then enter from the shore side and by great splashing & commotion drive the fish into the net in their attempt to reach the open lake. Several fish jumped over the net and escaped. 84 fish about 8 inches long were caught. Cost us 6 piasters. Most of the fish caught here are shipped daily to Cairo.
Saw Markgraf's trail near camp today where he had passed recently with his outfit. Apparently he is in the field again. Collected invertebrates from the Lake Moeris sediment. Ali informs us that the grub is about exhausted -- the fish will help out though.
Tues. Apr. 23:
Camels in late this afternoon with American Mail. We are to go in to Tamia tomorrow.
Collected Moeritherium jaws and weathered skulls of Tomistoma and Zeuglodon and Olsen got good turtle -- all from 1 mile west of temple.
Very hot during middle of day. Food almost entirely gone this evening -- barely enough for breakfast. Our leaving is now a necessity.
Phimoia wintoni (left) and Protosiren (right)
Wed. Apr. 24
Left Qasr el-Sagha this morning and reached Tamia by three -- lunch at Cafe in Tamia. Met a Caravan of several hundred Camels being driven in to the Cairo "Sukh" [soukh, or bazaar] from the oases to the south. The owners -- five stalwart Arabs in white robes and long barreled rifles -- brought up the rear of the Caravan.
Our tent is pitched near the [Railway] Station tonight. Have paid off Ibrahim and Machmud and they leave early in the morning for Quft. Hassan and Massaout have gone to their homes. Hassan's wife baked a (?)pudding for us -- terribly greasy affair, and she and Hassan brought it up to us this evening and Hassan made her come in the tent. Olsen and I each buried a piece of the pudding in the sand and gave the balance of it to Daoud and Ali.
Thurs. Apr. 25: -- Cairo:
Got our fossil cases out of storage at Abdulla's this morning and had them weighed & shipped as luggage on our train -- Daoud and Ali sitting on them all the way and watching after their transfer. Our camp outfit was loaded on the camels and ready to start for Cairo and Olsen and I were ready to take the train when I was handed a cablegram from Prof. O. saying to continue work in Fayum. . . .