On the way to the dig site at Wadi Rutm the party stopped to take a brief look at three extremely interesting coupled 1913 dated German manufactured rail wagons on the oldline between Ma'an and Wadi Rutm. Showing the signs of age and wear and tear from their fierce desert environment, hey are desperately in need of conservation and we hope we can be able to find some way to encourage this.
Following on to Wadi Rutm the party as usual split into various teams. The detectorists went on to a site near to South of the station itself where a known spread of ancient and modern coinage and artefacts had been found the previous season. After a shaky start they located 12 coins ranging from medieval to 1955.
In the afternoon two detectorists revisited each of the tent ring features at the site to re-sweep and code any new finds. One went off with three others to two sites to the west of Rutm station that had been found in the walk yesterday. These consisted of approximately 8 tent rings and a suspected outpost. Only one fragment of a fired bullet was located.
The western end of the tent rings and gun emplacement recording (both drawn and written) continued. Tent ring 4, the most extensively and professionally constructed, (i.e. it has the largest placed ashlar!) produced unexpected small finds. These included a piece of Turkish WW1 barbed wire, a desiccated date stone, (you can imagine the Ottoman soldier chewing and spitting whilst keeping guard over the Wadi), and even fragile paper.
Once the recording was complete the excavation team moved west – to begin the next challenge: further tent rings, not all circular (more info to follow tomorrow), small gun emplacements and features as yet undetermined. And, the non-cesspit is now definitely a cooking pit and square into the bargain. Burnt seed/corn husks are just some of the finds surfacing.
Today’s heat also made us feel like trapped Ottoman soldiers awaiting the Arab anvil.