2008
Season
   
    

Back to Jordan: preparing for the third season in the field


We are now preparing for our third field season in Southern Jordan. A team of 28 will be flying out on 12 November for a two full weeks’ work. What are we hoping to achieve?

Excavating an Ottoman camp

At Batn Al-Ghoul, the site of an abandoned and demolished railway station, we will be excavating part of a former Ottoman camp. The preservation here in the dry desert conditions is superb, with surviving wood, rope, canvas, sacking, and even parts of uniforms. We plan ‘micro-excavation’ – careful exposure and recording of artefacts and food remains in situ – in order to reconstruct something of the everyday life of Ottoman soldiers guarding this remote desert outpost.


Tent ring system at Batn Al-Ghoul


Exploring an Ottoman fort

Nearby, on a high ridge overlooking Wadi Rutm, where we worked in 2006 and 2007, we will be investigating the well-preserved remains of a large Ottoman fort, complete with breastworks, trenches, blockhouse, oven, and trackways. The local rumour is that this was a major command-and-control centre for the anti-insurgency war in the area. We aim to find out.


Ottoman fort with views over Wadi Rutm


Reconstructing an Arab Revolt battleground

At Jerdun, a new site, we are planning preliminary work to test the archaeological potential. Contemporary records show strong defences around the railway station here and describe a major battle to capture it. We are hoping that we can trace the trenches on the ground, and, from scatters of expended munitions, to begin to build a picture of the battle itself.


A re-drawn version of Jafar Pasha's sketch (redrawn) of the first attack on Jerdun Station in mid-April 1918.
From 'A Soldier's Story: from Ottoman rule to independent Iraq: the memoirs of Jafar Pasha Al-Askari (1885-1936)'
published by Arabian Publishing

Join us on the 2008 season

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