Bullet indicates Lawrence of Arabia was no liar
|The bullet fired by Lawrence at Hallat Ammar and discovered by archaeologists|
from the Great Arab Revolt Project [Credit: Ali Baldry]
The project has excavated dozens of sites across the Arabian desert associated with the 1916-1918 revolt by Arab forces against the Ottoman Turks, then allied to Germany. T.E. Lawrence – later known as Lawrence of Arabia – served as a liaison officer with the rebel forces, an experience he described in Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Professor Nicholas Saunders said: “The bullet we found came from a Colt automatic pistol, the type of gun known to be carried by Lawrence and almost certainly not used by any of the ambush’s other participants.”
|The desert scene of the ambush; Lawrence and the Bedouin lay in wait where |
the railway embankment curves around [Credit: Nicholas Saunders]
Dr Neil Faulkner said: “Lawrence has something of a reputation as a teller of tall tales, but this bullet – and the other archaeological evidence we unearthed during ten years of fieldwork – indicates how reliable his account of the Arab Revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom is.”
In an unlikely coincidence, just two months ago, another Hallat Ammar connection appeared when a Hejaz Railway engine nameplate came to light after being ‘lost’ for almost 80 years. Lawrence had given it to the family of his friend, Vyvyan Richards, for safekeeping in 1933 but never retrieved it before his death in 1935. The inscription is in Ottoman Turkish written in Arabic script and translates as ‘iron road’, that is ‘Hejaz Railway’.
|The locomotive nameplate ‘souvenired’ by Lawrence from one of the |
trains he attacked [Credit: Nicholas Saunders]
The best documented example of such an opportunity is the ambush at Hallat Ammar, where the Turkish train had two locomotives not one, and there was ample time to lever off a nameplate. The ambush was so spectacularly successful that it probably meant more to Lawrence than his other railway attacks, and so could have merited this souvenir.
“It is extraordinary,” Professor Saunders added, “that after 100 years new discoveries like this are still being made, casting new light on a guerrilla war which helped reshape the Middle East after 1918 – the consequences of which we are still living with today.”
Source: University of Bristol [April 03, 2016]
Labels ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Greater Middle East, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, UK