The star find of the season, without a doubt, is the most gigantic pair of pants any of us have ever seen. Riddled with holes, they must have belonged to an enormous Ottoman soldier. Made of fine cream coloured cotton, with a draw string waist, the owner must have had a girth getting on for 2 metres. How this man manoeuvered himself across this difficult landscape in an effort to make himself useful, we can only guess.
Coincidentally, on the same day, we also found in the same area a large number of Ottoman military buttons. This site, Makins' fort, is one of a number of intermediate defended posts between Shedia Station to the North and Aqabat Hijaz Station in the south. These posts are inter visible such that the whole of the line could be observed and each fort could communicate with the next nearest to both north and south. We would like to come back next season and try this method for ourselves.
Further north, at a new site known as the Birds Nests, the three detectorists carried out a preliminary diagnostic sweep of the 20 or so tent rings running in two parallel lines to the west of the modern railway. This resulted in more metallic finds than other recent areas of interest, with an array of buttons including some new types, some Ottoman coins, lamp wick holders and two personal seals. One of the seals was in fairly good condition and we hope to have some analysis done on the name of the owner soon.
After 8 straight days of digging, detecting, sieving, photographing, sorting, cataloging, planning, GPS-ing, blogging and generally staggering all over the deep Jordanian desert all of the team are now very tired and looking forward to some R and R tomorrow, our first day off this season.