Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.



A Nabataean settlement was discovered in Wadi Rumm by G. Horsfield and excavated by himself in the early 1930s. Later in May 1959 D. Kirkbride conducted another excavation. In 1962 the Department of Antiquities began a large-scale clearing operation, exposing more than 2800 square meters of antiquities. However, an earthquake in 1995 caused the area severe damage. The ruins in Wadi RUmm include a temple, several villas, and building complexes.


The Temple

Within the construction materials of the Nabataean temple was a stone that was reused from a previous structure. This stone contained a Thamudic inscription referring to the construction of a sanctuary (house) for Lat, (a god) done by a member of a local tribe. The main Nabataean temple was later erected around the first century BC. A wall at the rear of the temple seems to be the last part built, and has been dated to the end of the first century AD. A Latin inscription was attached to an alter, indicating that the temple was in use in the first half of the third century.



Above: Wadi Rum Temple as seen from the air. Click the photo to see an enlarged picture.

The Western Complex

In 1962 a complex of 20 rooms was cleared behind the temple. This complex was dated to the late first century. Pottery shards found during the excavation date to as late as the mid-fifth century AD. There are earlier structures below this, which have been tentatively dated to the late first century BC. The outline of these building can be seen in the top right of the satalite photo above.


The Southern Village

In the 1930s, the archeologists sketched in a 3500 square meter area south of the temple. It contains two very long walls (100 meters), and may have been associated with the canals that come from the spring higher up the mountain.


Wadi Rumm (Iram) is first mentioned by Cl. Ptolemaeus in his list of cities in Arabia Felix. (Aramava-Geogr., 6.7.27). Above the site, on Rumm Mountain are several natural springs ("Ayn ash-Shallalah) commonly known as 'Lawrence's Spring.' During the Arab Revolt, Lawrence apparently came to this spring to soak in the small pool that formed below the spring. From these springs Nabataean aqueducts carried water down to two built cisterns, today badly damaged by the removal of their construction material. A second canal system came from 'Ayn Abu Rumayleh, down through the temple hillside to the eastern complex and its baths. The ancient site at Wadi Rumm apparently was occupied from very ancient times. It was the meeting place for several nomadic tribes, where they had a primitive building dedicated to Lat. Later, the Nabataeans built a temple on this site to the God Allat. Inscriptions around the temple and at the springs were left by various workmen, Masons, sculptors and architects.

Wadi Rumm Reserve

Below are a number of photographs taken in and around the Wadi Rumm reserve. This desert reserve is now a popular tourist spot, and the Nabataean ruins are often ignored by most of the visitors.

Photos of Wadi Rum
We wish to thank the many readers of who have submitted their photos of Wadi Rumm. We have included a sampling of these below:
Above: Thanks to Michaela Weis for the above photo

Above: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Mentioned by Lawrence of Arabia
Above: Looking for petrogylphs and game boards

The next four photos (below) were sent to us by Shea Johnson. Thanks Shea!

The picture on the left was taken by Greg Fisher, (Humeima Expedition, 1998, 2002). If you have a great picture taken in Wadi Rumm that you would like to share with us, please email it to us.

Copyright 2002 CanBooks

Petra (A complete section in itself) Bostra
Nabataens in the Negev Wadi Rumm
Mampsis Aila
Mampsis Photos Humeima
Nessana Meda'in Saleh
Ruheiba Meda'in Saleh: Tombs: Exteriors and Interiors
Avdat Meda'in Saleh: Tomb Decorations, Falcons, Faces, etc
Elusa Meda'in Saleh: Niches, Altars and God Blocks
Gaza Ma'an
Shivta Leuce Come
The Wall Where was Leuce Come? by Bob Lebling
Negev Wall A Possible Solution for Leuce-Come By Dan Gibson
Sela South Forts
Archeological sites in Saudi Arabia More South Forts