Friday 4 October 2013

Three weeks to go!

until the new season of GARP begins.

The 2013 blog is now set up and ready to tell the story as it unfolds this year in the deep southern Jordanian desert. If you subscribed to follow our adventures last year it would be great if you did so again for this season. We have some really exciting (but hush-hush at the moment) plans which hopefully will bring new and amazing information to our blog followers before anyone else gets to find out.

Please click on the 2013 blog link and follow us by Joining the site at the bottom right of the page. We really love followers. :-)  

Wednesday 10 April 2013

2013 Prospectus now available

We are recruiting for the 2013 season in Jordan and have a few places remaining. For full details of the dig this year please see the 2013 Prospectus

Monday 10 December 2012

Lawrence radio programme - Radio 4

Some of the team, and especially Tim, have been involved in making some audio recordings in the field over the past two seasons in preparation for a radio broadcast by the BBC. This programme, entitled Lawrence of Arabia: The Man and the Myth, is a Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4 and aired last Saturday in the UK.

It can be heard by clicking the following link for the next few days. If it subsequently becomes a podcast that link will be provided also.

Lawrence of Arabia: The Man and the Myth

QR link 

It's a very interesting programme and includes several passages of recorded interviews with GARP team members.

Friday 16 November 2012

Day 11 Waheida again

This is our final day in the field for this season. The whole group went to Waheida to carry out some excavation and planning of some of the many lined stone arrangements that lie along one side of this vast wadi.

A small group continued the detailed GPS survey of the features of the site, and while doing this more surface metal and other finds became apparent. It is hoped that the detailed mapping of these features, together with the archaeological excavation and study of some of them will yield further insight into the exact nature of, and relationship between, the many arrangements of lines, circles, rectangles and other patterns of stone marked on the ground.

Before dinner we held our usual 'wash-up' session, where a representative selection of finds was put on display and the directors spoke about their reaction to the work this season. Without doubt this ha been the greatest season for discovery and development of the project to date, and further news of these  will be released as soon as possible via the press and this blog.

Tomorrow is our final R&R day before we begin  preparations for travelling home in the next few days. Many thanks to all of the team for being so helpful in making this blog interesting and stimulating for me to do, and especially to our followers, commenters and readers who make it so worthwhile.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Day 10 Mudawarra

Back in the bus for the long drive to Mudawarra today, where all the team went except a few who were either working or not well.

This location consists of a series of raised hills with steep, rocky or sandy sides overlooking the railway station complex. 

The site we are focusing on  is showing all the signs of the battle which took place in 1918. Excavation of trenches and features is revealing typical finds of  World War One conflict in this theatre, with incoming rounds, large numbers of shrapnel balls and artillery fragments being common. Also the evidence of the defending troops fighting back is present, with many Mauser cartridge cases being found along the outer defensive walls, and also at other places within and outside the compound. We have also found components of grenades used by the Ottoman forces on the hillsides. 

This hill is one of three related positions that came under attack. The first two capitulated quite quickly and the one we are investigating was the last to fall. In total there were around 165 Ottoman troops defending the three sites. There is evidence from the archives that Lawrence called up air cover for the attack, and that two 60 pound bombs were dropped on the site. Shell fragments are also found throughout the site, ranging from about 1 cm to 20 cm in length. 

A few local children visited us today as it is a new year holiday and there is no school. Some were helpful and interested but not all, sadly, and we were grateful for the help of the local Sheik who came up and assisted.

Last day in the field for this season is tomorrow, followed by our second rest day.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Day 9 - Waheida

In the 2009 season we visited the large site at Waheida, and concentrated main excavation efforts here on the three hilltop Ottoman redoubts. This season a small party went back to this interesting and puzzling site to  begin further investigations of the many hillside rock pattern arrangements. 

One other element of the visit today was for more team members to learn to use a sophisticated differential Magellan MobileMapper CX GPS system. This device is currently being loaned to the group and operated by one of the team members, and we hope to purchase a similar unit for further use in the field. In particular  it will be used, in combination with Google maps, photographs and detailed on site sketches to produce increasingly accurate plans of the features we discover and uncover in the landscape.

The features at Waheida themselves are large and range across about a kilometre of wadi hill side. Many are indistinct due to natural and inhabitant erosion, but some of the lines are very clear indeed. It is hoped that the systematic GPS record of this site will enable us to better understand what exactly it was being used for. 

The site is also home to a small Bedu family, with goats, sheep and camels wandering freely in the wadi. We had to be careful at one point hen the camel feed was dropped near where we were working, and the man with them warned us in very clear terms that when they had finished eating they may get a bit agitated toward us. After a couple of photos we headed to the next feature. 

The GPS work here will continue for the next couple of days, and we may come back here again with a larger team form ore systematic excavation, planning and recording of this site.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Day 8 - Mudawarra

Today we traveled further south than at any time in previous GARP seasons, to Mudwarra. As the journey time was around 2 hours and 45 minutes, we stopped for safety break at Wadi Rutm station. 

This small, sprawling town is a few kilometres north of the Saudi Arabian border and has naturl water, which has led to some cultivation along the roadside nearby. It is also adjacent to the location of three large fortifications which were the scene of a major battle towards the end of 1918.

The site and the battle are described in a variety of sources and it is known that around 160 Ottoman troops were stationed on the three redoubts which were attacked by British and Arab forces. 

Today we climbed the steep, sandy sides of the northern redoubt to the large walled enclosure to begin investigations. This is a very large site and will require lots of study, thought and excavation over the next few days.