|One of the RJAF Hueys in flight during the 2010 season. Photographer: Don Boyer. APAAME_20101016_DDB-0045.|
Our old squadron, 8 Squadron (السرب الثامن) which flew the Hueys and with whom we have shared many fantastic years of flying has moved on too. We now are the passengers of 14 Squadron (السرب الرابع عشر) and their Eurocopter 635. The Eurocopter is a smaller but twin-engined aircraft but only two photographers can now attend any flight. This limits the ability to have a person acting purely in the role of 'spotter' as the others handle the navigation and communication with the pilots. The aircraft is primarily for transport, so the large and comfortable backward facing seats are removed. This gives room to allow us to sit on the floor facing out the door, legs braced against the landing skid, while our trusty crew member makes sure our body harnesses keep us safe and strapped into the aircraft. The speed, comfort, stability and quiet however are far superior to the Huey. The crewmen may beg to differ I am sure as on two occasions they have suffered airsickness from the constant circling required for us to photograph our target sites! I am sure you are all wondering why we do not upgrade to a Blackhawk, but it is probably too much of a beast for our aerial reconnaissance and burns through the fuel to match!
|Photograph distribution of Aerial Archaeology in Jordan May 2016 flights. Imagery: Google Earth.|
|Poor light at Khirbet Um al-Ghozlan obscures the site. Photographer: Robert Bewley. APAAME_20160523_RHB-0417.|
This season was once again, however, successful as the archaeology of Jordan never ceases to amaze. We completed 13.34 hours of flying, over three separate days, taking just over 2700 photographs of 487 features. We covered areas in the north, east and central areas of Jordan. Our reconnaissance team included Robert Bewley, Andrea Zerbini and Rebecca Banks. You can find the 2016 photographs on our Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apaame/collections/72157666359145684/. Some choice examples from each of the flights are below.
|The excavated site of Khirbat al-Dawayr. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160523_AZ-0105.|
|As yet unidentified (by us) site near Pella. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160523_AZ-0170.|
|A linear arrangement of enclosures, or wheels, near Azraq. Photographer: Robert Bewley. APAAME_20160526_RHB-0065|
|A pendant partially excavated. Photographer: Robert Bewley. APAAME_20160526_RHB-0254.|
|Clusters of sites along a wadi in the Badia. Photographer: Rebecca Banks. APAAME_20160526_REB-0466|
|A well-preserved possibly Nabataean site. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160529_AZ-0082.|
|The site of Ruweihi along the Wadi el-Hasa. Unfortunately looting is occurring in the vicinity of the site. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160529_AZ-0111.|
|A quarry, first surveyed in the Limes Arabicus Project (LA-315-316), that was possibly used as a reservoir. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160529_AZ-0172.|
|If you look closely in this image, you can see a large basalt stone, possibly used once in an olive press or for another agricultural process. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160529_AZ-0066.|
Unfortunately each flight also captured damage to archaeology. This is something the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project, with whom we work, is particularly interested in documenting. Some examples of site damage from this season are below.
|Old looting at the cemetery of Hammeh. Photographer: Andrea Zerbini. APAAME_20160523_AZ-0160.|
|The site of Deir el-Asal surrounded by later military trenches. Photographer: Robert Bewley. APAAME_20160523_RHB-0257.|
|Olive grove over the site of Beit Eedis (Duweir). Photographer: Robert Bewley. APAAME_20160523_RHB-0245|
|Possible stone robbing, looting and impact from tracks on the road tower Rujm Mudawar. Photographer: Rebecca Banks. APAAME_20160526_REB-0083.|
|The Azraq by-pass cutting through the Harrah Uweinid. Photographer: Rebecca Banks. APAAME_20160526_REB-0159.|