Desert Insurgency: Archaeology, T. E. Lawrence, and the Arab Revolt

Desert Insurgency: Archaeology, T. E. Lawrence, and the Arab Revolt

by Nicholas J. Saunders


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In the desert sands of southern Jordan lies a once-hidden conflict landscape along the Hejaz Railway. Built at the beginning of the twentieth-century, this narrow-gauge 1,320 km track stretched from Damascus to Medina and served to facilitate participation in the annual Muslim Hajj to Mecca. The discovery and archaeological investigation of an unknown landscape of insurgency and counter-insurgency along this route tells a different story of the origins of modern guerrilla warfare, the exploits of T. E. Lawrence, Emir Feisal, and Bedouin warriors, and the dramatic events of the Arab Revolt of 1916-18. Ten years of research in this prehistoric terrain has revealed sites lost for almost 100 years: vast campsites occupied by railway builders; Ottoman Turkish machine-gun redoubts; Rolls Royce Armoured Car raiding camps; an ephemeral Royal Air Force desert aerodrome; as well as the actual site of the Hallat Ammar railway ambush. This unique and richly illustrated account from Nicholas Saunders tells, in intimate detail, the story of a seminal episode of the First World War and the reshaping of the Middle East that followed.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198722007
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/27/2020
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Nicholas J Saunders, University of Bristol, Professor of Material Culture

Nicholas Saunders is Professor of Material Culture in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. His main research interests are the archaeology and anthropology of twentieth-century conflict, particularly landscape, material culture, and cultural memory. He is co-director of the 'Great Arab Revolt Project' in southern Jordan, and 'The Soča/Isonzo Valley 1915-1918: Conflict Landscapes on the Slovenian-Italian Border' project. He has worked extensively on the material culture of the First World War in Belgium and France. His books include 'Killing Time': Archaeology and the First World War (2007), The Poppy: A History of Conflict, Loss, Remembrance and Redemption (2014), and Modern Conflict and the Senses (2017).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Into the Ghost-Land
3. Archaeology, Material Worlds, and the Arab Revolt
4. The Hejaz Railway: Faith, Conflict, and Afterlife
5. Guerillas and the 'Sultan's Mule'
6. Conflict on Jebel Sherra: Ma'an to the Blockhouse
7. 'Belly of the Beast': Abdullah's Fort to Batn al-Ghoul
8. Forts, Stations, and Ancestors: Wadi Rutm to Tel Shahm
9. Concealment, Raiding, and Ambush: Tooth Hill to Hallat Ammar
10. Beyond the Railway
Timeline of Major Events on the Hejaz Railway Between Ma'an to Mudawwara, 1900-2018

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