After arriving at 3.30 am local time the main party swiftly retired to meet again at 11.30 for an introduction and briefing session. The team were introduced and the aims and history of the project together with specific activities for this season were outlined by Neil Faulkner. The main sites to be worked on were confirmed as the large encampment at Batn Al Ghul and the hilltop fortress at Fassouah 2. Work on these will begin tomorrow with a team assigned to each site.
Following this we travelled north east to investigate a new site at Uneiza which had been identified by our field archaeologist, John Winterburn, by painstaking research over several months using images from Google Earth. This is a large circular trench system with tent rings and other WW1 military workings at the top of a series of hills. The 2 km trek from the road over and up the steep basalt strewn landscape soon gave the new members of our party an insight into the harshness of this terrain. The Google Earth coordinates of this site are 767076 3376533 for those interested and the militarised landscape elements can be clearly seen from around 3000 metres, with a 250m trench easily visible running from NE to SSW.
In the short time we were there today several ottoman shell cases were found on the surface near the trenches. These were quickly identified as being Ottoman rounds fired during WW1. As to whether they represent evidence of battle at this site remains the subject of further investigation and research. This looks like it might be a possible site for the team to return to in a subsequent season.
Tomorrow this season’s work begins in earnest with the incredibly exciting prospect of new finds at the site of the discovery of the Ottoman army tunic last season and the beginnings of systematic recoding of the fortress.
Lastly many thanks again to the Candles Hotel in Petra for their kindness in allowing us to freely use their internet access to upload this blog. We are extremely grateful for their assistance again this year.