Excavation continued at the southerly tent rings site at Tel el Shahm. Further identification of Ottoman pottery found here took place. Opposite the site and to the east on the top of a high plateau on a rock outcrop is a definite firing position, and in the lea of the plateau looking east is rectangular structure which looks Ottoman in design. Further investigation of these tomorrow if time permits.
A believed Nabatean structure north east of the southerly rings has a sloping floor rising south to north with two well defined stone steps and floor. Cut into that floor surface and stone lined is a much later crude ottoman baking area. It’s worth noting that two of our very best excavators spent two days removing the sand from this structure to reveal it’s detail. Top work!
A new dimension to the project opened today with the arrival on site of our Turkish colleague, Adil Bakhtiaya from the university of Istanbul. Adil joined us and Jordan colleagues for lunch at the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University and then visited with us two Ottoman cemeteries in Ma’an. We are exploring ways in which research into the Ottoman archives in Turkey can fill in crucial gaps in our knowledge of the Great Arab Revolt in Southern Jordan.
Prior to this we were invited by our Jordanian colleagues to give a lecture on progress over the last four years to an audience of Jordanian academics and students. This was followed by twenty minutes of interesting questions from the motivated students.
At Ma’an station cemetery Adil spent most of his time looking at four or five inscriptions and taking photographs.
One of the inscriptions on a gravestone read:
The Son of Hasan of Aleppo, From Damascus
(translation by Adil)
At the second cemetery, which was in several sections one of which was older and one current, we were guided by a local expert and resident of Ma’an, who recounted the history of the town and the cemetery. At the second cemetery we are fairly certain that we discovered the inner line of trenches forming the last line of defence of the city during the time of the Great Arab Revolt, overlooking the medieval ruinous remains of old city.
On the way back from the main site of excavation today we stopped at Wadi Rutm, one of the most beautiful sites we have had the privilege to work in. The site is bounded by huge rolling sand dunes forming a stunning backdrop to the valley floor, which itself is the pilgrims caravan and trading route that has been used for centuries.