Hidden Roman Forts Unearthed in Northern Arabia

The Western front Roman camp in Jordan captured from above in an image provided by the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East.

Archaeologists from the University of Oxford have made an extraordinary discovery, revealing three previously unknown Roman fortified camps in northern Arabia. The remarkable find was made possible through remote sensing techniques using satellite imagery.

A groundbreaking discovery by the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology reveals the presence of three previously unknown Roman fortified camps in northern Arabia, shedding new light on an undocumented military campaign in the region.

Roman Forts Unearthed in Arabia

Archaeologists from the University of Oxford have unearthed three ancient Roman forts across northern Arabia, which were previously undiscovered. The revelation was made through a remote sensing survey utilizing satellite imagery.

Evidence of Undocumented Military Campaign

These findings suggest that there could be evidence of a previously unknown military campaign carried out by the Romans across southeast Jordan and into Saudi Arabia. Dr. Michael Fradley, who spearheaded the research, confidently stated that the Roman army was responsible for building the camps.

Distinctive Camp Characteristics

In the journal Antiquity, Dr. Fradley’s report outlines the basis for his conclusion, highlighting the encampments’ distinctive “playing card” shape, featuring opposing entrances on each side. He also noted that the westernmost camp was significantly larger than the other two eastern camps.

Roman Forts: Possible Connection to Roman Takeover of Nabataean Kingdom

The research team theorizes that the camps may be connected to an undiscovered Roman military campaign linked to the Roman conquest of the Nabataean Kingdom in 106 AD. The Nabataean Kingdom was centered around the world-renowned city of Petra in present-day Jordan.

New Insight into Roman Campaigning in Arabia

Dr. Mike Bishop, a Roman military expert at the university, praised the discovery of the Roman forts in Arabia as a “spectacular new find” and emphasized its importance in understanding Roman campaigning strategies in Arabia. He explained that temporary camps, such as these, reveal how Rome initially acquired its provinces.

Remarkable Preservation of the Camps

Dr. Fradley also remarked on the extraordinary preservation of the camps, particularly considering their potential short-term use. Further investigation on the ground is required to confirm the age of the camps, according to the researchers.

Collaborative Efforts in Archaeological Discovery

The camps were initially identified by the university’s Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project and were subsequently photographed by the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan project.

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