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Ancient bullet supports Lawrence of Arabia’s accounts

Experts say discovery in the desert, near scene of famous train raid, seems to prove British diplomat’s memoir was not just a tall tale

Lawrence of Arabia. (Public Domain)
Lawrence of Arabia. (Public Domain)

A bullet from a Colt gun found in the Arabian desert lends credence to TE Lawrence’s own account of his part in the Arab revolt in the early 20th century.

Until now, Lawrence’s account from his memoir, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was disputed by some historians as an instance of the man over-embellishing his achievements.

But according to a report Friday in The Guardian, archaeologists who spent years excavating sites associated with the 1916-18 conflict have found a bullet that was probably fired by “Lawrence of Arabia.”

The bullet was found during excavations at Halat Ammar, on the Saudi Arabia-Jordan border, on the site of an Arab ambush against a Turkish train that was later recreated in scenes in David Lean’s movie starring Peter O’Toole.

Lawrence served as a military adviser with Arab forces fighting the Ottoman Turks, who were allied with Germany.

Experts from Bristol University believe the discovery corroborates Lawrence’s own account in his war memoir.

Prof Nicholas Saunders from the university said: “The bullet we found comes from a Colt automatic pistol, the type of gun known to be carried by Lawrence and almost certainly not used by any of the ambush’s other participants,” according to the Guardian.

Another researcher, Dr. Neil Faulkner, said: “Lawrence has something of a reputation as a teller of tall tales but this bullet – and the other archaeological evidence we unearthed during 10 years of fieldwork – indicates how reliable his account of the Arab revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom is.”

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