June 30, 2016, by Matt
The Eastern Badia Archaeological Project
Matt Jones blogs from his recent fieldwork in Jordan…
There’s a moment each day out here when the Eastern Badia breaks you. For some it’s the 4pm return to work and the wrestling on of rigid socks, but for me it’s somewhere between 10 and 1, when the shadows have all gone and pretty much all I’ve eaten all day are dry biscuits.
I’m a part timer too, only spending 8 days of the 28 day season out here this year. Even then I miss the regular contact with my family, and we all leave sweat, blood and other parts of ourselves behind here every year.
So why do we keep coming back? It is a privilege to live and work in an amazing landscape, the archaeology and palaeoenvironmental story is untold and it scratches an itch to explore and discover. It’s probably something to do with that.
This year in the Wadi Qattafi I’ve been digging holes and trying to get my head round the environments of a ~7000 year old occupation site – it’s the first of a 3 year Team Award from the CBRL with a focus on understanding the environmental context for the people who lived here in the early Holocene.
We’ve been camping and luckily there’s a well about 10km from the site that’s kept us watered. We eat well from canned and dried foods and the occasional delivery of fresh vegetables, bread and ice when someone needs to come or go from the site. Alex, Blair and Barry have cooked up some fine feasts including a pineapple upside down cake this year – it’s culinary magic out here and it’s a great pick up, especially when accompanied by a cold carbonated beverage* when the ice supplies hang on (which they did most of this season).
We share our camp with plenty of flies (at least 5 different types), a jerboa who is getting progressively fatter even in the short time I’ve been here, some friendly birds including mothers feeding their fledglings, a fairly lively Schokari Sand Racer, and at least two Arabian Horned Vipers have been spotted (we’re not too keen on these…).
It’s been a productive week for me and I’m now stopped off in Azraq on my way home to catch up with friends and colleagues working at Kharaneh IV. It looks like there’s been a few things going on back home whilst I’ve been out in the desert too – probably should catch up on some of that…
My thanks to all I shared the desert with this year; Yorke, Alex, Morag, Wesam, Blair, Chas, Jill, Barry and Cat.
*if any suppliers of carbonated beverages that are drunk best when chilled want to sponsor any future seasons we’d be very grateful and I’d be more than happy to name you with glowing thanks in future blogs and publications…