Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wadi Ram (Pt II), Kerak and Humeima

Yes, its only been two weeks, and already I returned to Wadi Ram. It is a beautiful place, and this time it was the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month. This holy month, when muslims fast from sun up until sun down, starts at the new moon, which meant a better stargazing night while sleeping on mats out in the desert this time. Last time we visited, two weeks ago, the moon was nearly full, which is nice but obliterates the stars. This time I joined Prof G, A. and M. Although A and M study post-interesting periods (Roman stuff, and Crusader stuff, respectively....really just a joke), it was ok because Prof G was there. At any rate, we visited some of the same sites as my post (see Wadi Ramm, 8.29) of a few weeks ago, so I will only post a few new photos from Wadi Ram.
First, where is Wadi Ram? Far to the south in Jordan, almost to the southern tip, where the port town of Aqaba is located. The southern yellow line is the border with Saudi Arabia; to the east is Israel.

You may recall that last time we looked at some fairly enigmatic features, some of which Prof G had uncovered during his initial research investigation this past summer. This included some stone arc features with paving stones and upright stele. I had also included some photos of an odd sinuous 'wall' or paved walkway, which seemed to connect to nothing nor lead anywhere (seen above with an apparently skeptical A and Prof G). There are three segments of this sinuous walk or wall, and although they are not connected it is apparent that they are from the same general period of time and probably built at more or less the same time, by the same people. But why?

Well, I don't know! But here is what the next best thing to an aerial view looks like of these three wall/walkways. You can just trace the line of the walls, primarily because they were cleared by Prof G and his able assistant. And the view below gives you a (admittedly slight) sense of the other features in the same general area where these walls or processional walks are located. I like the term Processional Walk, don't you?

We also returned to the rock art area.


That evening we sat and enjoyed the softening light. We also enjoyed watching a young bedouin fellow bring home a few camels he recently purchased (clip above). Prof. G comments that the price of dog food has gone up so much its cheaper to just use his four wheel drive!
After a rather chilly but beautiful evening sleeping in the same area as the processional walk, we awoke and counted off - still four of us! Despite our best efforts to put A out on the edge of the mats as bait, no dingos had carried her off.

The next day we bought some sodas and some "date newtons" for brunch and headed out. We stopped off at the Nabatean temple again, but that was boring the first time 'round, so you can refer back to the earlier post if you care for substantial architecture and reconstruction. (ok, thats not true, I think that A and M quite enjoyed it). Heading north, we crossed the narrow little rails that once served the Hijaz railway, but now primarily serves the limestone mines to the north.
Go little pufferbelly!

On our way north, we stopped off at the site of Humeima, a Nabatean site (with a temple, possibly seen below), Roman occupation, with subsequent occupation during the Ummayyad period (early Islamic).

Nabatean temple?

From Humeima we continued north toward Amman, and made one final stop, at Kerak. I had been to the town of Kerak before, but I'd never visited the castle or seen the museum. M., an expert on Crusader pottery, wanted to visit the Kerak Museum to see what is on display for future comparative research. And it was a beautiful day, so why not visit a castle?

To the west, one can see the Dead Sea and Judean desert to the west, even on such a hazy day. (The slightly darker patch is the Dead Sea).

And finally, the gang - many thanks for such a wonderful trip!!


Sue said...

REALLY pretty. And great picture of the carvings!

MMK and YMR said...

Thanks! Two days later I saw Lawrence of Arabia (for the first time!) and I could pick out features from the Wadi Ram landscape.

AmpiezzaDiVedute said...

Nice post!