Notes on being hopelessly lost in the Syrian Desert

* No matter what, Homs will be signposted. This will not be helpful.

* Maps vary wildly in accuracy.  There are no accurate maps.

* These maps mean nothing to locals. That said, always ask directions from the dudes sitting down in front of the local stores. They know what’s up.

* There are no gas stations. If you find a gas station, it won’t have any gas.

* If you don’t bring a compass, you will not know what direction you are headed for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day.

* If you see Bedouin settlement camps, you’ve probably gone the wrong way.

* If these camps are abandoned, start to panic.

* If you ask for directions to Damascus, half of the time the person will ask to go with you. The other half of the time they will invite you for tea.

* You probably will not find the archaeological site. Sorry.

* Never follow a wadi.

Life lessons, y’all.

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Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

3 thoughts on “Notes on being hopelessly lost in the Syrian Desert”

  1. HA! I can definately relate to that!
    Also to note: you will probably have more chance of asking a camel for directions…

  2. Ah, this brings back memories. I left Apamea early one morning heading for Homs. There were not even mistaken signs on the way and no fork in the road even boasted a shepherd (not that that would have helped, as you say). As night fell, I was in Tartus. Nice place, Tartus.

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