After a day exploring Petra and Wadi Musa the team headed back into the deep desert today to continue work on the standing building and the three sets of tent rings about 5 km from it. The building lies about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Wadi Musa and the rings about 5 minutes further down both being slightly to the west of the Hijaz railway. The blockhouse is clearly visible from the road, but the rings are only easily found by fieldwalking or from the air.
This part of the desert doesn’t have the epic grandeur of other places we have worked, such as Wadi Rutm or Fassuah Ridge, with their sweeping sandy vistas and magnificent views over the Belly of the Beast. (Batn Al Ghooul). It has its own special nature though, as all of our sites do, in this case characterised by slight rolling dips and troughs, which are often steeper than they appear to be when travelling across them. Also the landscape here has occasional small outcrops of rock crystal, glistening in the desert sun. This appears sometimes to have been collected by workers or soldiers, as there is often a collection of small pieces near the tent rings or round about. Not much to do out here for recreation – maybe collecting bright shiny bits from the desert was a usual pastime…
A couple of the photographs today shows a typical desert bread oven, used to support the troops and other workers in situ. Also there is an image of some of the team in silhouette on a ridge, with the Jordanian sky unusually cloudy but with streams of sunlight breaking through above them.
Also today Neil Faulkner was asked to appear on Jordanian TV live for their equivalent of our Breakfast shows. This was great, apart from the fact it meant leaving the hotel at 3.30 am to make the live transmission time of 7.00 am in Amman. Sporting his Sunday best keffiyah, he and Mansour, together with the President of Al-Hussein Bin Talal University were interviewed for about half an hour on prime-time breakfast television. To great whoops and cheers from the assembled team, including several cries of “I took that photograph!” Neil and Mansour described the work of the project and the great assistance given to us by Mansour, The University and the Jordanian Royal family.