December 20, 1913


“We have had a very good season’s digging this autumn … We found a great gateway, with long walls leading up to it, all lined with great carved slabs of black and white stone … a king and his children: men with drums and trumpets, and men dancing: a goddess at the head of a long procession of priests and priestesses, carrying corn and mirrors and fruit, and gazelles … Then a great base of two lions, holding up on their backs a great statue of a god, sitting on a stone chair, and holding a club: behind him the gateway, with very long inscriptions in Hittite (which of couse we cannot read) … It must be a great temple, or the palace of a king.”

—T.E. Lawrence to Florence Messham, his childhood nurse

February 28, 1914

Hotel d’Angleterre, Damascus, Syria

I got down to Akabah alone and on foot, since my idiot camels went astray … [A Turkish official] forbade [Captain Stewart] Newcombe to map, and me to photograph or archaeologise. I photographed what I could, I archaeologized everywhere. In especial there was an island [Jezirat Faroun], said to be full of meat. The bay of Akaba is full of sharks, hungry sharks (shivers) and the island was half a mile off shore … [Lawrence and his servant Dahoum] splashed off for the island with a couple of planks as paddles … I felt that any intelligent shark would leave me in the cold, but the whole squadron sailed across safely, saw, judged and condemned the ruins as uninteresting, and splashed homewards, very cold and very tired.

—T.E. Lawrence to a friend.