Thursday, 28 October 2010

Day 3 GARP Aerial Adventure

Today we were visited by a television production crew working for National Geographic, who are making a new documentary about Lawrence. The doc will focus on Lawrence’s role in developing a strategy for modern guerrilla warfare.

One of the excellent side benefits of this visit was that some of us, together with members of the film crew, were privileged to have the fantastic opportunity to fly in a Jordanian Airforce  helicopter from Ma’an right down through central Jordan along the line of the Hijaz railway.  
This incredible trip, was made possible by King Abdullah and Prince Mired, and enabled the lucky team members to view many of the main sites we have been working on for the past five years from the air, which provided a stunning perspective on all of these locations we have been walking, digging, measuring and recording during the times we have been here. Some of these views were hitherto unseen by any of us, and provide a superb data set which will facilitate further understanding of the work for years to come. 

Making the most of this extraordinary opportunity, we took hundreds of photographs, some of which are on the blog tonight, and also some video footage which, due to the nature of the internet connection here is impossible to load at present, but will appear on the blog once we are back in the UK. Together we hope these will provide an altogether different perspective on the work for us and others interested in the project, as well as aiding in the research itself. We now have aerial photographs of many of the sites we have discovered.

The aerial footage will enormously enhance the quality and value of the tv documentary, making it possible to explain to the general viewer the importance of space, distance and mobility in the guerrilla war in Southern Jordan.  We  would like to publicly express our huge thanks  to Captain Mohammed Jamel Qawaqzeh, Captain Issam Olimat and crewman Makram Hussein, the aircrew who were superb professionals and excellent hosts for our trip.

Another significant highlight of today was the wonderful meal which was served to us in the middle of the Desert at Tel El Shahm. This marvellous feast was made entirely by traditional methods with an oven in the sand, and the chicken cooked in eastern herbs and spices together with the accompaniments served to 45 people was an astonishing achievement given the harshness and heat of the desert environment. 

Again great thanks to our Jordanian friends and colleagues for enabling this meal and indeed the whole day, with special thanks to Mansour for being overall in charge and organising everything, Zeyad for his general organisation, Salah and Ahmed, and others, for their provision of the meal itself. 


  1. Hi everyone wow what a brilliant time you all appear to be having, lucky people who went on helicopter what stunning photos. Im missing being out there with you all big time. Talking of flight orientated things a Jordanian Fighter Pilot has been reading my TH mag articles about GARP and made contact via the publishers. He fieldwalks (and flies over) many of the sites we investigate, and he wants to meet up perhaps next year. Thanks to those of you keeping me informed and up todate via email its very much appreciated. If anyone is interested the Time Team I organised is on TV this Sunday at 5.15 UK time dunno if you can get Channel 4 out there but am sure Rog can rig up some cool type of technical receiver on his PC....Sorry to hear about the flight bags at Customs, congratulations to the young lady who found an eyes only Ottoman button thats brilliant. Oh well have a Petra Beer or two or preferably a large Brandy for me at the Pub....That way although Im not with you in body I am in spirit....All the best everyone Jules

  2. What stunning images! They give a clearer idea of the Jordanian landscape for those of us who haven't visited the area; it's truely amazing so textured and beautiful in it's own way - almost etherial. Getting to look at it from the air must provide a really useful supplement to all the work going on at ground level & for those who got to travel in the helicopter, a very exciting and memorable experience.
    Thank you for including a map: much appreciated.
    Your baked-in-the-sand meal adds a further dimention, I imagine, since it provdes yet another chance to experience, first hand, another aspect of desert culture.
    I look forward to reading the next edition of the Blog; it's become an eagerly-awaited evening event!

  3. Jules: Cheers mate. You can tell by the fact that in the picture my grin is wider than the rotors how I felt about yesterday. :-)

    Have passed on all info to powers that be. Hope you get great response from TV prog. Miss you and all the other ex GARPer's too.

    Anthea: Firstly thank you so much for your fantastic responses to the blog. It's really great to get such positive feedback - makes it all worthwhile to know that someone actually reads and appreciates it. Huge genuine thanks.