Thursday, 29 January 2015

Flight 20141019 - A new Edomite Stronghold

On Flight 20141019 from Amman to Aqaba six photographs were taken of the dramatic landscape looking west from Qasr Rajif over Wadi Suweid cutting through the sandstone peaks. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the photographs capture the site of an Edomite Fortress.
Wadi Suweid; el-Manktaa (Edomite Fortress)
'el-Manktaa' (Edomite Fortress) - APAAME_20141019_RHB-0287.
Prof. Chaim Ben David alerted us to the existence of the site, known as 'el-Manktaa' to the Bedouins, after he viewed the photographs on our Flickr. His ready knowledge and identification of the site probably due to the fact he had coincidentally visited it just a few months earlier.
The bridge to the site as seen from the wadi valley below. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
Following information from fellow hikers Eli Raz and Lior Enmar, who were aware of the phenomenon of Edomite mountain strongholds, in July 2014 Chaim visited two new, apparently as yet undocumented mountain strongholds in the sandstone area below the village of Rajef. The sites are about three kilometers south of Qseir, the southernmost known stronghold until this latest discovery.
Crossing the bridge to the site. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
The isolation of the site in the landscape is easily discernible on Google Maps (click here to go to the location). The small Bedouin constructed bridge used by Chaim and his companions to cross into the site can just be seen on the satellite imagery across the fissure that marks the western boundary of the stronghold. Structures are not readily visible on the satellite imagery, or on the low level obliques taken by AAJ, but photographs taken by Boaz Langford from the visit with Chaim show collapsed stone built structures.

Evidence of stone structures at the site. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
Chaim’s information means that we can add the coordinates of these sites to future AAJ flight routes, so that the site may be captured in full instead of in a lucky low level oblique landscape shot. Moreover, our better understanding of this type of site means in future we will be better able to discern these sites from the air. Chaim has offered his knowledge to the identification of many sites taken during the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan project's seasons of flying, and taken us on a couple of his amazing hikes across the landscape to investigate features further. Many thanks!

Following is an excerpt from Chaim Ben-David’s forthcoming publication in ARAM Periodical:
“You who live in the clefts of the rocks” (Jer.49:16): 
Edomite Mountain Strongholds in Southern Jordan

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Goodbye 2014

What a year it has been!

6 flights of aerial reconnaissance as part of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project 2014
9,522 aerial photographs taken as part of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project 2014
3,216 slides/film digitised
17,344 images cataloged and uploaded to our Flickr archive

Conferences attended:
  • David Kennedy and Rebecca Banks, 'The Khatt Shebib in Jordan: from air and space', Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie
  • David L. Kennedy and Brett D. Hirsch, 'Prime Suspect: William Cowper Prime in the Holy Land and the identity of 'An American' in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 1858', Palestine Exploration Quarterly
  • David Kennedy, Rebecca Banks and Matthew Dalton, 'Kites in Saudi Arabia'