Banner 2013

Banner 2013

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day 8 - Back to Batn Al-Ghul. Plans and a train

Back to the ring complex at Batn Al Ghul today. In total there are over 100 tent and other rings in three related areas at this site. Situated just to the west of the modern railway finds at and near this complex show it was likely also right on the transit route for pilgrims and traders in the past. Metal finds such as buttons, nails, food tins, coins, small locks, oil lamp bases and many others are scattered within the rings and also to either side, at distances of up to 100 metres or more from them.
Detectorist at work

GPSing and recording a detector find
The detector survey is confined to specific areas. Tent rings or other features that are being excavated are excluded from the survey until they have been completed, cleaned and photographed. It's rare to find anything after this has happened as the archaeologists are incredibly thorough and very little gets past them. Sometimes there might be a tiny coin or similar wedged in a side wall or under an edge stone, but they are usually completely clean of metal.  

Each significant metal find is then GPS'd, recorded and placed either in a general finds bag or, if of rarer or more significance, given it's own special 'small find' status and bagged separately.  Later, team members will individually photographe each significant find from several angles, with and without an accompanying scale. A similar process takes place for all finds within features, and the resultant written recording, GPS data and photographs are aggregated into spreadsheets and plots to show the spread of the material recovered during the dig. 

Planning an excavated ring

One very important aspect of the work is called planning, which involves recording measurements and drawings of the features. This is painstakingly done and provides the written and drawn record of the work.

A completed excavated ring ready for photographic recording


Some minor excitement occurred today when a train came down the line from Aqabat Hijaz station. Usually we have seen several of these by this point in the dig, and they are typically about four or five times longer than this one, and carrying phosphate in large containers. This short train with a different load nevertheless broke the stillness of the landscape as it snaked it's way down the curved track to descend the escarpment. It may be possible to see the old Hijaz rail track in the distance in some of these images. This old line, the defence of which was the very reason the soldiers were stationed here, carried on down inside the Belly of the Beast. The new trains travel to the west of this and head down towards Aqaba.

Coming down the loop to descend the escarpment

Batn Al-Ghul beyond

Ali, our official GARP photographer

Photographing a find in a tent ring
We are back here agian tomorrow to complete our work on the tent ring complex. 

1 comment:

  1. Roger- Because of all the shifting sands and winds causing erosion, do you actually have to dig down very far to excavate these items? At what point does the surface become hard pack.