Thursday, 15 November 2012

Day 10 Mudawarra

Back in the bus for the long drive to Mudawarra today, where all the team went except a few who were either working or not well.

This location consists of a series of raised hills with steep, rocky or sandy sides overlooking the railway station complex. 

The site we are focusing on  is showing all the signs of the battle which took place in 1918. Excavation of trenches and features is revealing typical finds of  World War One conflict in this theatre, with incoming rounds, large numbers of shrapnel balls and artillery fragments being common. Also the evidence of the defending troops fighting back is present, with many Mauser cartridge cases being found along the outer defensive walls, and also at other places within and outside the compound. We have also found components of grenades used by the Ottoman forces on the hillsides. 

This hill is one of three related positions that came under attack. The first two capitulated quite quickly and the one we are investigating was the last to fall. In total there were around 165 Ottoman troops defending the three sites. There is evidence from the archives that Lawrence called up air cover for the attack, and that two 60 pound bombs were dropped on the site. Shell fragments are also found throughout the site, ranging from about 1 cm to 20 cm in length. 

A few local children visited us today as it is a new year holiday and there is no school. Some were helpful and interested but not all, sadly, and we were grateful for the help of the local Sheik who came up and assisted.

Last day in the field for this season is tomorrow, followed by our second rest day.

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