The history of Nabataea.net goes back before the time of computers.
In fact it stretches back a century before that. In the late
1800's the Gibsons in England became interested in archeology
in the Holy Land. They began to collect information and formed
a small library which was passed on to Arthur Henry Gibson.
David J. Gibson
| Arthur Henry
Arthur Henry Gibson became an electrical engineer who set a number
of small milestones in history. As a young engineer, he wired
Buckingham palace with its first electric lights. Later in South
Africa he added a diamond to the end of a drilling bit and patented
it. He always claimed that while he held the patent, the ancients
were the ones who did this. He also pioneered the area of percussion
drilling. Several years later, after emigrating to North America,
he invented the Gibson Grader, one of the first successful road
graders, (built in Bradford Ontario). In the 1930's he and his
sons moved to Canada and homesteaded in Alberta (south of Holden).
He later retired in Wainwright Alberta. A.H. Gibson wrote many
articles, and continued to build his library of Biblical and
Holy Land research which he passed to his son David J. Gibson.
- When he was 12 years old, David contracted polio while swimming
in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey. Once the family
moved to the Alberta prairie farm, David did the bookkeeping
for the farm, and spent the rest of his time pursuing his hobby:
researching Middle Eastern chronology and archeology. Several
years later David married a German girl, Hattie, and moved to
the nearby town of Wainwright. Here David opened an accounting
office and store. Since polio tied him to his wheel chair and
desk, he spent considerable time pursuing Holy Land studies,
narrowing down his field of interest to a number of topics:
- 1. Biblical Chronology
- 2. Nabataea: especially early Nabataea
3. The Land of Eden: Did it exist? Where
would it have been?
4. The Land of Tarsish: Where was it?
5. Early man, the Biblical and evolutionary accounts.
For his research David depended on his growing library (he subscribed
to a number of archeological and scientific journals, as well
as the books he purchased. His library began with books he received
from his father and grandfather and it grew from there. Along
with these books, he also had copious correspondence with historians
and archeologists in the field. All of this study came to an
end with David's death in 1966. It lay dormant until 1979 when
David's youngest son, Dan took up the cause.
| Dan Gibson
Dan grew up reading all of the archeological books and journals
in his father's library. After graduating from highschool he
went on to receive a theological education, and then in 1979
he and his young bride move to the Middle East where they lived
in a variety of countries. They first arrived in Jordan where
they studied the Arabic language. During this time they made
repeated trips to Petra and the surrounding area. Dan explains
it this way. "The director of the language school had
been an archeologist at one time. Once he realized the needs
of the local people he quit archeology and began to work with
Arab churches. Over the years, however, he had many of his old
archeological friends visit him, and in many cases he would hand
me the keys to his car and ask me to take them to Petra. In the
first few years of being in Jordan I made multiple trips with
some very interesting people."
In 1981 Dan and his wife Mary moved to the edge of the Empty
Quarter of Arabia, to the city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates
where they spent one year. This was an important year in widening
the Gibson's Middle Eastern experience. After a brief stint in
Jordan as directors of the language school and a visit to Canada
the Gibson's moved on to Yemen in 1984
During the 3 1/2 years that they spent in Yemen,
Dan visited the Marib Dam site, the
ancient ports along the coast, and many
of the ancient villages, towns, and
caravansaries in the interior of
the country. After their son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
they returned to Canada for a seven year period.
Then in 1993 they returned to Jordan where Dan began to research
and write while working at the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf.
In the year 2000 Dan and his family returned to Jordan after
ten months in Canada, this time to work on a project jointly
sponsored by the Jordanian Ministry of Antiquities and Ministry
of Toursism, researching and writing about the Nabataeans. They
moved into a small Bedouin village between Petra
and Wadi Rum. During this time Dan
wrote the book: The Nabataeans, Builders of
Petra, and he also started to put together this website:
Nabataea. In the future he hopes to
publish the book: The Nabataeans, Merchants of the Ancient
To date, only a small portion of the information that has
been collected by the Gibson family over the generations has
been published. In the last ten years Dan Gibson has writen several
books, produced a documentary film, and he continues to catalouge
all of his research, plus put together an electronic library
of resources that centre on Nabataean and early Islamic studies.