Saturday, 28 November 2009

Day 11 - A Lawrence of Arabia trail?

Jordan's Minister of Tourism announced plans for a Lawrence of Arabia Heritage trail to be developed in Jordan last year. This year discussions have begun about making it a reality. A representative of the Ministry of Tourism is expected to visit Waheida tomorrow, and the Minister herself is expected to visit in due course.

Waheida, with its Ottoman redoubts and Arab camp site, is now one possibility for  new heritage tourism site. This development reflects GARP's discovery this year for the first time of a site with clear evidence for both Ottoman and Anglo/Arab occupation. In redout C the eastern hill fired 303 cartridges were found in one trench and fired Mauser cartridges found in a trench 10 metres behind. Here is a very strong defensive position held at first by on side and then the other.

Other sites  likely to be under consideration for the trail include the station and entrenchments at Ma'an, investigated by GARP in 2006 and 2007.

In another foray, one adventurous group set out on foot to walk the 21 kilometres from Wadi Waheida to Jebel Semna and then on to the Hill of the Birds at Ma'an, (see GARP blog season 2007 and 8) roughly following the route that the Arab forces would have taken to launch their successful attack on the Ottoman trenches at Semna in April 1918. Traces of these trenches can still be clearly seen, and the area surrounding looks as if it may contain the original craters from artillery shells. We found one shard of large shell case in this general area.

Arriving eventually at the Hill of the Birds as the sun was setting we explored an intriguing looking mound a couple of hundred metres north of the main road between Ma'an and Aqaba, which turned out to be a fairly well preserved substantial Ottoman redoubt. An area for work in another season probably, and soon if at all possible. The surrounding landscape is increasingly damaged and every year we come back more of the archaeology we are working on has been destroyed forever.

1 comment:

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