Here and there mounds of the rosy micaceous schist, still unworked, looked as if it had been washed out by the showers of ages. The general appearance is that of an ergastulum like Umm Amil: here perhaps the ore was crushed and smelted, when not rich enough to be sent down the Wady for water-working at the place where the inland fort now is.
Steaming southwards we shall note the mouths of all these watercourses. We presently passed on the right bank the debouchure of the Wady Ruways, and left there a guard to direct the caravan, in case it should disobey orders, and march up to Umm Amil. Here the valley gave forage to a herd of milch-camels, apparently unguarded; each had her foal, some newborn, others dating from January or February.
We brought back details concerning the three great parallel Wadys; the Salma, the Damah, that "Arabian Arcadia," and the 'Aslah-Aznab. We dug into, and made drawings and plans of, the two principal ruined cities, Shuwak and Shaghab, which probably combined to form the classical <Greek>; and of the two less important sites, El-Khandaki and Umm Amil.
Marco Polo and his companions made an excursion to the north-east, to the city of Amil, going on as far as Ginchintalas, a town inhabited by idolaters, Mahometans, and Nestorian Christians, whose situation is disputed.
Hence the Bedawin always give it precedence Shaghab wa Shuwak; moreover, we remarked a better style of building in the former; and we picked up glass as well as pottery. From Shaghab to Ziba ruins of El-Khandaki' and Umm Amil the Turquoise Mine-Return to El-Muwaylah.
There are several foreign artists within the last two years, who have sent their works to the Louvre which must not be passed unnoticed, amongst the rest is a Spanish artist named Villa amil, whose interiors are far above mediocrity, and who has given us some rich specimens of Spanish monuments, which are now admirably illustrated in a periodical lithographic work. Our countrymen, Messrs.
By far the poorest thing we had yet seen, this "town" had been grandiosely described to the first Expedition at Ziba. On the coast-town I procured some specimens of heavy red copper which had been dug out of a ruined furnace; the metal is admirable, and it retrieves to a certain extent the lost reputation of Umm Amil.
Amis and Amil were the David and Jonathan, the Orestes and Pylades, of the mediaeval world. Dr. Hofmann, who has edited the earliest French verse account of the Legend, enumerates nearly thirty other versions of it in almost all the tongues of Western and Northern Europe, not to mention various versions which have crept into different collections of the Lives of the Saints.
The adjacent scatter of Arab wells in the bed is known as the Ma el-Badi'ah. According to the guides, there are no remains of the "old ones" nearer than Umm Amil On the left bank, above this narrow, lies a group of Arab graves, which may have been built upon older foundations.
From the Col, reached at 9.45 a.m., a descent, vile for camels not for mules, presently landed us in the Wady Umm Amil. Crossing the torrent-gully we left on its right bank the ruins of large works, especially the upper parallelogram. After a thirteen miles' ride we halted at 10.40 a.m. under a rock on the left side, opposite three couthless heaps of water-rolled stones surrounded by fine quartz.