Banner image 2014

Banner image 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tuesday - back to the airstrip

Several of us went back to the site of an RFC airstrip, this time to look at an area in another rocky indent around the corner from the heavily trashed and wet region visited on Sunday. More success this time, with identifiable finds in our areas of interest, including tin cans and munitions of the period. 

On the way there we stopped near the entrance to Wadi Rum to look at the Ottoman attack tourist experience train. This is supposed to be a simulation of an attack on the train during 1916, but the authenticity of many elements in the 'experience' are, shall we say, subject to poetic licence. Anyway, the train is interesting.  As is the cafe stop near the railway at this point., and the puppy that was there.

At the site the detectorists undertook a quick sweep and found a couple of 303 cartridge cases. Also an eyes only find of a fragment of rum jar was quickly spotted. These finds confirmed we were in the right area for a British encampment, so the rest of the day was spent systematically clearing the surface of the region of both rubbish metal and metal finds of interest, by field walking in strips across the landscape. Then the area was metal detected in a methodical way, with parallel traverses until the whole area had been covered. Over the course of the day the finds assemblage was completely consistent with that of a typical WW1 British army camp in this region.

The landscape here on the edge of Wadi Rum is stunning. Weathered rocks, hills and mountains loom above the extensive mixed vistas of both flat and sandy dunes.

Local Bedouin came to see us as usual, to check out what we were doing and be friendly and helpful. 


  1. Obviously, Lawrence is viewed as a tourist attraction; is it possible to tell when this began to be the case? Do the local people view him as folk hero or just see him as a tourist attraction because he draws visitors and use his name for that reason?
    How do you converse with the locals? Do you meet many adults who can use any English?
    Yet again the images are really interesting. I particularly like number 10 but also 9 and 12. The way the light hits the various heights makes the photos look almost 3-D: wonderful!

  2. We think the earliest evidence of Lawrence tourism we have seen is probably the result of the film in 1962. There may well have been some before this though. There is a lot more now, with all sorts of tours and attractions beginning to spring up bearing a version of his name. Local people have mixed views about him, mainly positive, but some definitely view him as a tourist asset these days.

    A few of us have a bit of Arabic, which helps, and we also have a local academic, Sate Massadah, with us, who is bilingual and often is vital in sorting out situations. He's great and really has become one of us. Occasionally the local Bedouin speak some English they have picked up from tourists. One of the two Bedu in the ledge tea place overlooking The Treasury had quite good English via that route, and told us all about his passion, which was the love for and racing of his horse.

    The light in Wadi Rum is incredible, and the sun going down on the rocks there makes some of the most vivid and beautiful colours and vistas to be seen anywhere. Most of today's images were taken with a Panasonic Lumix camera, which compensates for back-lit views very well. I think it's the combination of the place and the clever camera which have produced the images you liked today. But in truth, nothing beats looking at it.

  3. Thanks for the information, Roger - I did wonder if the film had anything to do with the use of Lawrence's name. I loved the spelling you noticed recorded in yesterday's (?) blog :)
    I am constantly being reminded that there is nothing like seeing it for real. I think that can be said of most landscapes thought; the images are, nevertheless, very beautiful and give a flavour of what it is like.