Today's blog will concentrate on the efforts of a small team to identify and hopefully obtain evidence of a Royal Flying Corps airstrip near Wadi Rum.
The road to Wadi Rum is interesting and beautiful, with huge rocky vistas and mountains near and distant.
The location of the site had previously been identified from another set of photographs which show the aircraft of X Flight in temporary canvas hangers in front of a very distinctive rock formation. After many hours and trips searching for these the definitive location was found, which in the photographs shows the hangers adjacent to a large, flat strip of sand ideally suited to take-off and landing.
Today however it is a different story. The site had originally been chosen by the RFC because as well as providing suitable landscape for the aircraft, there was precious water present. Now this water has been damned in to form a reservoir and a pumping station, as well as a range of buildings and concrete bases for more. Furthermore the land which the airstrip occupied is now very marshy, as both the natural water and leaks from the pumping house have leaked into the surrounding areas.
Some of the modern graffiti emulates traditional rock art which can be found in many other places in Southern Jordan, and includes beasts, snakes, human figures and the like.
The compound has all the elements one would expect of Bedouin life, with animals, food production and storage.
While we were looking for significant rock markings a local man approached and asked if we had seen the carvings nearby. He then led us about 100 meters to the location below.
The rock carvings show Abdullah and Lawrence side by side, with their names carved in Arabic beneath and the date 1918 between. We were told that they were 'very, very old'.
He then insisted we went back to his house for tea and to look at some photographs.
On the wall was an old photograph of his father, now deceased, pointing at the carvings and showing them in a much more pristine state. We reckon the earliest the photograph was likely to have been taken was mid 1960's. The photograph in fact turned out to be a postcard which he gave to one of us as a gift, as he said he had more.
Then we sat down for some tea and chatted about his family and the history of the place. The hospitality was wonderful, and he refused all offers of money for showing us the carvings and around the museum. Such a great experience and so typical of the serendipitous occurrences that have happened time and time again over the nine years of this project.
As we were leaving a local sheik came over and we showed him the photographs that had led us there. He was very interested and pointed out the areas on the photographs that we had confirmed.
Maybe we will go back to this place to try to understand the significance of these carvings and to look in more detail at the contents of this tiny museum. Today was certainly another fascinating day in the journey that is the Great Arab Revolt Project.