Produced from footage shot by Tom Barger, this episode shows the life of a geological field party in the Rub Al-Khali in 1938. Four American geologists and a half dozen Saudi guides explore the eastern Rub’al-Khali in 1938. En route, they harvest a locust plague to feed their poultry and the Hejazi driver Shauby and unfurl a hedgehog. In the shadow of the enormous sand dune at Ain Muhibbi, they assemble to find the oasis of al-Liwa on the extreme Eastern edge of the concession. They end the field season by loading their equipment at Selwa.
“The majority of the film clips posted on the Selwa Video You Tube channel are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country’s history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society. Many of the Bedouin depicted had never seen an automobile let alone a movie camera before these men arrived. The herds of camels, once the lifeblood of Bedouin life, would become irrelevant. The dhows of the Gulf replaced by motor launches, the date oases, the very anchor of the Al Hasa economy, would become all but insignificant. All that remains of those days are these flickering images from a time before oil.”
Selwa Press is a publishing company devoted to exploring the early days of Saudi Arabia. It’s website at www.SelwaPress.com has many related features to this time as well as a complete catalog of its publications. www.SelwaDigital.com is devoted to the company’s ebook selections and includes other titles not related to the Kingdom.