This site contains over 900 web pages, over 10,000 pictures, videos and maps, and hundreds of thousands of words all focused around the ancient Nabataean Kingdom. Thanks to input from our readers, this site continues to grow every month plus. Nabataea.net is not an academic site, although some of the articles we publish are academic in nature. Rather, this site is intended to introduce the general public to some of the interesting facts and speculation that surround the ancient Nabataeans and thus we focus on popular history and archeology, rather than academic archeology alone. During the last fifteen years we have been averaging over 1000 unique visitors each day. We trust you will enjoy the thousands of man-hours that have gone into creating this site.
History of Nabataea.net
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 Gibson family in England became interested in archeology in the Holy Land. They began to collect information and formed a small library which was passed on from person to person.
Eventually it became the property of Arthur Henry Gibson, 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 made improvements on drills and drill bits. He claimed that while he held various patent, the ancients were the ones who made most of the improvements which he simply copied. He also pioneered areas of percussion drilling. Several years later, after moving to North America he sold his patents to a drilling firm in Pennsylvania. Around that time 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 western Canada and purchased a farm 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 Gibson contracted polio while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey. Once the family moved to the Alberta farm, David did the bookkeeping for the farm, and spent the rest of his time pursuing the family interest of researching Middle Eastern history, 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 business 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 topics such as Biblical Chronology, the land of Edom, the location of the Garden fo Eden, among other topics.
For his research David depended on the growing library. He subscribed to a number of archeological and scientific journals, as well as purchasing books. He also carried on 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 grew up reading all of the archeological books and journals in the family library. After graduating from high-school 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 Arabic language school had been an archeologist at one time. Once he realized the needs of the local Arabs he turned from archeology 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. This was an important time 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 years 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 Tourism, 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 for tourists, and he also started to put together this website: Nabataea.net.
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 written several books, produced a documentary film, and he continues to catalogue all of his research, plus put together an electronic library of books, articles and other resources that centers on Nabataean and early Islamic studies.
The Authors and Contributors
We would like to thank everyone that has contributed to this site. The majority of articles were originally written by Dan Gibson, but have been edited by a host of volunteers since then. Along with this, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the website, and a good number of them have offered their own photos or articles.
So many people have provided us with pictures and info over the years that it is impossible to list them all in one place. We have done our best to include their names, contact information and or website link to their photos or written contributions. If something is amiss please contact the webmaster and we will do our best to correct it.
Please remember that this site is run my volunteers, and sometimes it takes several months to get things corrected or in better order. Over the last two years we receive dozens of letters each day, so it is impossible to reply to all of them. But each letter is read and considered.