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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1342] (397/688)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (341 folios). It was created in 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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are most regular, being best described as resembling the imprint of a gigantic horse-
hoof. In size they vary greatly, some covering a hundred acres, others not more than
an acre ; the average depth may be between 150 and 250 ft. They all lie with the deep,
east pa rt of the horseshoe towards the north-we?t, the sides running out to the south
east. Apparently they never vary in this respect, whether they lie in the Nafud dunes
which run north and south, or are in the Dahanah belt among dunes trending east
and west. The internal walls are very steep and unstable in the middle of the bend,
but less so at the sides. The sides are as well covered with vegetation as are the
ordinary dunes.
The sands lie deepest, and the grains are heaviest, in the western, southern, and cent
ral portions ; on the north and west the beds become shallower and lighter both in tex
ture and in colour. The characteristic hollows and high bare dunes of the centre and
west fade away, on the east the sands assuming a more even surface; finally the sand-bed
breaks up into intermittent dunes and hard desert. The depth of sand in the west is
reckoned at from 200—300 ft., and in the east at less than 100 ft. The nomenclature
of the dunes is somewhat confusing. There is a host of names, which includes terms for
every variety of sand formation. Jvrda is applied, in Qasim, to the hard stationary
dunes where desert bushes grow 5 iaus to the high single dunes, generally bare of
vegetation, and also to the little white dunes which accompany a/eZ/ ; a dan at and kelhib
to the light shifting sand ; kabl is an ordinary sand-hill, and barkah an isolated patch of
Nafud. In colour the sands vary from white to dark red, being heaviest and darkest
in the centre and lighter and whiter on the edges.
The Nafud is situated at an average altitude of 2,500 ft. above sea-level. On the
north and east the underlying floor of the Nafud is about 2,000 ft. above sea-level • on
the south and west it is 3,000 ft. '
As regards climate, the sand-bed is by no means a rainless area ; travellers have ex
perienced heavy rain-storms and snow, standing pools of rain-water have been seen
while the vegetation on the dunes proves that the sands hold much moisture. The
weather is subject to great variation in a short space of time. Shakcspear experienced
ram thunder-storms, cold winds, and great heat in April on the northern margin of the
sands Frost is quite usual during the winter nights. The temperature is liable to
considerable change during the 24 hours ; great heat at noon may be followed by frost
soon after sunset. J J
B.—The Dahanah, Ardh-el-Madhua, and Woshm Nafud.
fJli USUally ap P Iied to of sand wh i c h, breaking off from
I Z a ' a a I ™ 1' lie in ton gu e s and strips along the eastern borders of Qasim, Sedeir,
Hasa separate these district of Nejd from the gulf provinces of Koweit and
the^narHrmlnr " J 3 . 6 r( ' servec ' f or the middle portion of the most easterly belt,
p Dahanah being a series of parallel ridges of sand
noled of rTt-n n ^ y ^ 0f hard bare gr0und - T h e ordinary sand-belts com-
irXLd "H 08 ' 0r eve ^ COnfuSed and shapeless sand-hills, should not be
selves but thev Hn ^ 1 Da h an ah belts are formidable barriers in them-
waterl'ess staged ^ C0V01 ^ Sing 8° are a, and they do not therefore entail long
neighbourhood^ 0f Sand which breaks awa y fr0m the Nafiid in the
Lid desert At f0r 600 miles before losin g itself in the ^uthern
to cross. Wh^re fh p ' pp q ^ br0ad ' but the Sands are not dee P difficult
are scarcelv notireal 1p 1Sian d 8 rim ro ute—the Darb Zobeideh—crosses it, the sands
a . and ^ but 40 ^ t0 theeast ' immediately to the
60 ft hiffh and flip L + mi f le + S across ' th * which run east and west, being about
fied forms^of the ' m T ' he + WaVe ? ^ 300 y ards a P art - There ar'e also modi-
U ] P lts — 80 of the true Nafud.
for 100 miles ^t^hich^Vnt^^ 110 south " east and continues in the same 15-mile wide belt
crossed bfth/^ an l bars great Wadi er-Rummah. Here it is
takes .bout 4 hours, the duues'rismrSTatovfth^UK ^

About this item


Volume II of III of the Gazetteer of Arabia. The Gazetteer is alphabetically-arranged and this volume contains entries K through to R.

The Gazetteer is an alphabetically-arranged compendium of the tribes, clans and geographical features (including towns, villages, lakes, mountains and wells) of Arabia that is contained within three seperate bound volumes. The entries range from short descriptions of one or two sentences to longer entries of several pages for places such as Iraq and Yemen.

A brief introduction states that the gazetteer was originally intended to deal with the whole of Arabia, "south of a line drawn from the head of the Gulf of 'Aqabah, through Ma'an, to Abu Kamal on the Euphrates, and to include Baghdad and Basrah Wilayats" and notes that before the gazetteer could be completed its publication was postponed and that therefore the three volumes that now form this file simply contain "as much of the MSS. [manuscript] as was ready at the time". It further notes that the contents have not been checked.

Extent and format
1 volume (341 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: This volume's foliation system is circled in pencil, in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1342] (397/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 28 February 2020]

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