Levant - Transjordan

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Tell Abu al-KharazTell Abu en-Ni'ajal-LahunTell 'AroerBâb edh-Dhrâ'Bâb edh-Dhrâ' / NumeiraBosraBosra / BusayraDhibanGamlaGamla potteryTeleilat el-GhassulTell el-HayyatHesbanJerashTell MazarPellaTell er-Rumeith / Ramoth GileadSahabTell es-Sa'idiyeh (Lower)Tell es-Saidiyeh (Upper)Umm al-Biyara / Sela / Edom


Tell Abu al-Kharaz (Peter Fischer, 2009)

Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley, Volume III: The Iron Age

The strategic position of Tell Abu al-Kharaz was of crucial importance during all the periods and in particular during the Iron Age. The Iron Age settlement was guarded by a city wall and the summit was dominated by a huge watchtower. There are a number of complete and fairly intact "four-room houses", and industrial complexes including workshops for the production of iron tools and weapons. There might also have been a workshop for the production of finely carved bone objects. Imported objects include – in addition to numerous items from Cisjordan – cylinder seals from Assyria, scarabs from Egypt, and pottery from Cyprus, Phoenicia and Mesopotamia. The find assemblages from Tell Abu al-Kharaz represent a valuable contribution to the ongoing, sensitive discussion on the chronology of the Iron Age I/II.

Tell Abu en-Ni'aj (Steve Falconer, 2007)

A Rural Perspective on Bronze Age Urban Collapse: Agrarian Village Life at Tell Abu en-Ni'aj, Jordan

Tell Abu en-Ni'aj embodies the remains of a moderately sized Early Bronze IV farming village (2.5 ha) in the ghor, the rich alluvial farmland of the Jordan Valley, which overlooks the zor, or active floodplain of the Jordan River (see map of Ni'aj's location in Figure 1). Ethnographic analogy (e.g., Kramer 1982) suggests a population of approximately 500-600 inhabitants. The village lies approximately 1.5 km southwest of Middle Bronze Age Tell el-Hayyat, excavated previously by the applicants, and now fully published with the support of a grant from the White-Levy Program (Falconer and Fall 2006). Tell Abu en-Ni'aj provides a remarkable opportunity to illustrate village life during urban collapse in contrast to Hayyat, a hamlet occupied amid the urbanization of the subsequent Middle Bronze Age. Only a few Early Bronze IV villages in the Levant have been excavated; fewer still have Tell Abu en-Ni'aj's long stratified record (seven Early Bronze IV strata) and its corresponding potential to contribute a fine-grained portrait of rural agrarian society during urban collapse.

al-Lahun (Margreet Steiner, 2007)

The Iron Age Pottery of al-Lehun, Jordan

The site of al-Lahun/Lehun or Khirbet Lahun is located in Jordan, on the northern plateau of the Wadi Mujib. The region is historically important: Dhiban, the former capital of the kingdom of Moab in the 9th Century BCE, lies only 7 km W of Lehun. The plateau between the Wadi Mujib (ancient Arnon) in the south and the Wadi Wala / Wadi Thamad in the north is the heartland of ancient Moab.The Iron Age pottery of ancient Moab is largely terra incognita. The publication of this corpus of Iron I and Iron II pottery will greatly enhance our knowledge of the social, political and economic organization of Moab in these periods.

Aroer (David Ilan & Yifat Thareani-Sussely, 2004)

Tel 'Aroer: an Iron Age II Caravan Town and Roman Fort in the Negev

With an area of two hectares, approximately 1500 m2 of which were excavated, 'Aroer is one of the most important Iron Age sites in the Negev. Three strata have been identified, dating from the 8t" to early 6"' centuries BCE. The architecture is well preserved and, while terraced, clear enough to allow stratigraphic separation. The ceramic and small find assemblage appears to be extraordinarily rich, including large numbers of complete vessels, figurines and several inscriptions. The importance of 'Aroer derives from its strategic location, on the trade route that ran from South Arabia through Edom, the `Arava, the Beersheba Valley, the western Negev, and on to the coast. Publication of the 'Aroer data will provide a large corpus of well-preserved artifacts from good contexts, facilitating comparison and relative chronology for, and with, other sites in the region (Tel Sheva, Tel Malhata, Tel 'Ira, Tel Arad, Horvat Qitmit and Horvat Uza) and farther afield ('Ein Hazeva, Qadesh Barnea, Tell el-Kheleifeh).

Bâb edh-Dhrâ' (Walter E. Rast & R.T. Schaub, 1998)

Bâb edh-Dhrâ‘: Excavations at the Town Site (1975-1981)

For a site that has been well known for its tombs, this volume on Early Bronze Age settlement at Bâb edh-Dhra' brings a new perspective by turning attention from the cemetery to the living community and its activities, insofar as these can be reconstructed from the archaeological finds. The burial evidence and accompanying artifacts are naturally always important in themselves as well as for comparison, and reference to them will be found at many places in this volume. But the focus here is on a large body of data relating to the people who settled this Early Bronze site from the latter quarter of the fourth to the end of the third millennium B.C.

Bâb edh-Dhrâ' / Numeira (Meredith S. Chesson & R. Thomas Schaub, 2006)

Numeira: Excavations at the Town Site (1977 - 1983). Volume 4 of the Final Publications of the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan

The Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain was undertaken as a regional investigation devoted to the single period of the Early Bronze Age. The overall objective has been to explain the lifeways of the peoples of the third millennium BCE in the Dead Sea Valley, based on data from settlements and tombs and from intensive environmental and natural resource research in the entire valley.

Bosra (Jacqueline Dentzer-Feydy, 2007)

Bosra Nabatéenne

Bosra is a well-known Romano-Byzantine city with porticoed streets, large public baths, public fountains, a circus and an exceptionally well-preserved Roman theater. The city is also well-known as a medieval, mainly Ayyubid, city with several mosques and madrasas and an impressive citadel built around the Roman theater. Before becoming the capital of the new Roman province of Arabia in 105/106 A.D., Bosra had also been the most important city of the northern part of the Nabataean realm, while Petra, the capital of the realm, was located in the land of Edom, in the southern part of modern Jordan. For the French archaeological team, excavations in this eastern quarter of Bosra had several aims : 1) to pursue the study of the transitional period between the Hellenistic and Roman periods in southern Syria, begun in the sanctuary of Sî' (Jabal al-'Arab) ; 2) to discover new aspects of Nabataean settlements in this area by comparing architectural planning, building techniques and ceramics with archaeological remains in Petra ; 3) to improve our knowledge of the most important antique city of southern Syria before its Roman development.

Bozrah / Busayra (Piotr Bienkowski, 1997)

Busayra Excavations by Crystal M. Bennett 1971-1980

Crystal-M. Bennett undertook excavations at Busayra for a total of 44 weeks from 1971-4 and in 1980. Bennett's excavations at Busayra uncovered part of a substantial administrative centre dominated by two large buildings and fortified by a town wall. Her initial objectives were only partially fulfilled. Nothing was found to prove or discount Busayra's identification with biblical Bozrah. No occupation was found dating to the thirteenth century BC. Evidence for a chronological sequence was limited: the earliest and major use of the site was in the late Iron II / Persian period, possibly extending into the Early Hellenistic period (c. late eighth to third centuries BC), with some re-use in the Nabataean/ Roman period (c. first century BC to fourth century AD).

Dhiban (Bruce Routledge,1998)


The final three seasons (1955, 1956 and 1965) of the ASOR-sponsored expedition to Dhiban, directed by Dr. William Morton, will be brought to publication. The manuscript will include a discussion of the stratigraphy, chronology, regional context, and historical and sociological importance of the major periods of settlement revealed by Dr. Morton (EB II-III, Iron I, Iron II, Nabataean, Late Roman-Byzantine, Umayyad and Ayyubid-Mameluke). These conclusions will be aided by analytical studies of the palaeobotanical remains, ceramic clay sources and the composition of the metal artifacts. Furthermore, a concerted effort to link the well-stratified remains of Dr. Morton's excavations to the published results of the first five seasons will provide a sorely needed holistic view of ancient Dhiban as a nodal point of human experience in this region for almost five thousand years

Teleilat el-Ghassul (Stephen Bourke, 2002)

Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan. Vol. l - Area A: The Stratigraphic Soundings, Vol. 2 - Area E.' The Sanctuary Complex, and Vol.3 - Areas B-M: Other Probes and Soundings

Teleilat Ghassul is the largest and most important Chalcolithic period (ca.5000-3500 BC) site in the southern Levant, and has been the type site for the Ghassulian culture since the first Pontifical Biblical Institute excavations began in 1929. J. Basil Hennessy's four seasons of excavation at Ghassul (1967, 1975, 1976/77 and late 1977) revolutionized our understanding of the history of occupation at the site, and succeeded in isolating ten (A-J) discrete phased assemblages. The signal importance of Hennessy's excavations lay in their demonstration that the Ghassulian culture, long thought to be an intrusive assemblage from elsewhere (Syria or Mesopotamia), was indigenous to the southern Levant, having developed out of the well known Late Neolithic culture documented by Kenyon at Jericho.

Tell el-Hayyat (Steven Falconer & Patricia Fall, 2003)

Bronze Age Rural Ecology and Village Structure at Tell el-Hayyat, Jordan

Our final volume will explore the foundations of early village life with attention to rural agrarian ecology, the behaviors of farming households and the roles of communal ritual. This book will distill the research orientation, methods, data and interpretations of the Tell el-Hayyat Project. Most archaeological studies epitomize Bronze Age society in the southern Levant (i.e., the region of modem Israel, Palestine and western Jordan) in terms of the advent and florescence of urbanism. Along with the rise of state-level governments, questions of cities and city life constitute the standard paradigm for archaeological analyses of Near Eastern civilizations. However, the growth of cities also necessarily entailed the development of rural communities, which housed the vast majority of ancient Near Eastern populations.

Gamla (Danny Syon, 2005)

Gamla - Final Report of the Shmarya Gutmann Excavations (1976-1989)

Gamla is a key site in the archaeology and history of the late Second-Temple Period and especially of the First Jewish War (66-73 CE).During the Jewish War Gamla initially favored peace but eventually rebelled, and thus was besieged and taken by Vespasian's legions in October 67 CE, in the last major military operation of the Romans in Galilee, one that is described in great detail by Josephus.Gamla was never resettled again, and thus the excavations provide an unparalleled glimpse of Jewish urban life in the first century, as well as the earliest urban synagogue. Gamla provides also an extraordinary opportunity to study a Roman battle site of the first century CE just as it was abandoned. One of the most striking findings at Gamla was the immense number of weapons and military objects recovered. Some 2000 basalt ballista stones and 1600 iron arrowheads have been found to date, probably more than the sum of all other such find from the period anywhere. The pottery, glass and coins, with a firm terminus ante quem, help elucidate standing questions of chronology of the period.

Gamla Pottery (Andrea M. Berlin, 1997)

The Hellenistic and Roman Pottery from Gamla

Fourteen seasons of excavation here revealed a prosperous town with blocks of houses, oil presses, and a large public building. Gamla's lively Hellenistic occupation is little known; the site is instead famous for its fierce destruction by the Roman general (and future emperor) Vespasian in the course of the First Jewish Revolt. The town was never reoccupied, with the consequence that thousands of artifacts were left in situ in houses and workshops. The pottery is the single largest category, as well as the one most illustrative of the habits, details, and economic connections of the site's inhabitants. Its publication will provide vivid testimony of rural Jewish life in the first centuries BC and CE.

Hesban (Larry Herr & Gloria London, 1997)

Tell Hesban Pottery

From early in the field work at Tell Hesban, pottery excavated at the site impacted studies in Jordan and Israel due to the long, uninterrupted sequence of ceramics extending from the Iron Age I through the Mamluk period. The Tell Hesban material remains a well-stratified collection which merits analyses using current laboratory techniques and a full publication. The assemblage of diagnostic sherds permits typological studies and analyses concerning long term developments and changes in the raw material. Both the form and finish of pottery from Hesban and 'Umayri reveal much overlap which would benefit from mineralogical testing before drawing social implications. Initial petrographic analyses of 'Umayri pottery have concentrated on trade and interaction between a tell and its hinterland. Studies of the Hesban material would enable us to compare pottery from the two tells and to comment on the ceramic traditions of central Jordan.

Jerash (A. Ostrasz & I. Kehrberg, 2004)

The Jerash Hippodrome Excavations 1984 to 1996

The Gerasa hippodrome was built next to the contemporary Hadrianic Arch just outside the walled city and its main South Gate. The architectural remains present unique details for a 2nd century construction designed specifically for chariot racing and seating over 15000 spectators. Evidence brought to light that chariot racing took indeed place but ceased after barely one century due to damages caused by poor foundations which made parts of the hippodrome unusable. Subsequently, potters and tanners occupied the large empty structure and already in the late 3rd century it had become the biggest industrial complex of Jerash. The pottery kilns and workshops expanded their production throughout the Late Roman and Byzantine periods progressively increasing their output with innovative styles to compete and cater for a rapidly growing diverse market. After 400 years of occupation, the potters and their families abandoned their workshops and kilns in the early 7th century. The hippodrome was last used as a burial place for 250 victims of the plague which had struck Jerash in the mid-7th century. Two devastating earthquakes in 749/50 and 1247 brought about the final collapse of the hippodrome whose vast ruins protected its archaeological and architectural testimony.

Tell Mazar (Eveline J. van der Steen, 2003)

Tell el-Mazar, Jordan

The central East Jordan Valley is a key region between ancient Israel and its hinterland to the east. The (almost) continuous occupation from the Late Bronze to Persian period on Tell Mazar is therefore of special significance. No other continuous pottery or occupation sequence has been published from this region east of the Jordan, and Mazar is vital in clarifying the settlement history of the proto-Israelites and their neighbours, as well as the history of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel and Ammon. The Persian period is still something of a dark age in the Southern Levant. The East Jordan Valley may have been part of the route between Mesopotamia and Egypt, but so far little evidence of Persian presence in the region has come to light. Mazar is one of the few Persian-period sites in the region, and therefore plays a key role in our understanding of the expansion politics of the Persian Period.

Pella (Phillip C. Edwards, 2004)

Wadi Hammeh 27: an Early Natufian settlement at Pella in Jordan

The Natufian period of the Levant (ca. 13,000-10,300 BP) witnessed the birth of crucial settlement and subsistence practices in the Levant that laid the foundation for the Neolithic village farming way of life. The discovery of the larger, complex Natufian open sites such as 'Ain Mallaha and Jericho in the 1950s lent strong impetus to the study of the advent of human sedentism in the Middle East. Yet since then, Wadi Hammeh 27 is only the third example of the large Natufian base-camp to be in the Mediterranean zone of the southern Levant, and is the only one of its type in Jordan. The site, dating to ca. 12,000 B.P., is thus important for detailing the characteristics of the agrarian transition, and to this end it an extraordinarily rich and well-preserved one. Broad excavation of the uppermost occupation phase has revealed large oval limestone dwellings, which enclose an array of stone features such as hearths, postholes and pavements and boulder clusters. Beneath this lie two further superimposed architectural phases, the whole underlain by a layer with human burials.

Tell er-Rumeith / Ramoth Gilead (Nancy L. Lapp and Tristan Barako, 2005)

Tell er-Rumeith

Tell er-Rumeith is located in northern Transjordan near the modern town of Ramtha, not far from the Syrian border. Its identification with Ramoth-Gilead of the Old Testament was suggested by its occupational history, literary evidence, and geographic location (I Kings 22:1-36). The Iron Age strata and destruction layers may correspond to events described in the biblical text: Ramoth-Gilead was located between the Aramean and Israelite kingdoms, which fought over the city and region during the ninth and eighth centuries BCE. Its small size is the strongest argument against the identification with Ramoth-Gilead, but excavation of a larger site in the area with an equivalent occupational history has not yet been undertaken.In 1967 excavations concentrated on the Iron Age strata of the mound proper. A quarter or more of the fortress was cleared, recovering coherent architecture and well stratified ceramic assemblages dating to the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.

Sahab (Moawiyah M. Ibrahim, 2008)

Sahab - Chalcolithic Village Farming Community at Sahab

The modern town of Sahab was founded on the ancient tell and spread from there to the surrounding area, destroying parts of the ancient settlement in the process. The cutting of three main streets through the occupation material left two large trenches which revealed the stratigraphy of the upper part of the mound. The ancient mound occupies an area of about 500 dunums and is 873 m. above sea level. The highest point of the mound is ca. 22 m. above the western plains, but on other sides of the sites its area above the surrounding fiels is much less.. The area around Sahab is well cultivated with the actual desert about 15 to 20 km. to the east.

Tell es-Sa'idiyeh : Lower Tell (Jonathan N. Tubb and John D.M. Green, 2005)

Tell es-Sa'idiyeh Volume III: Excavations in the Lower Tell Cemetery

The Sa'idiyeh cemetery is crucial to our understanding of the culture-history, social organisation and demography of the Jordan Valley and wider region over time. Published findings highlight the social and cultural diversity of populations buried in the cemetery, especially given the mixture of Aegean, Anatolian, Egyptian and local Canaanite features found in Late Bronze and Iron I phases, and the possible role of Sa'idiyeh as a 20th Dynasty Egyptian outpost. The social, political and economic impact of imperial powers upon local populations, and local responses to foreign domination (e.g. Egyptian, Persian), are central themes that cross-cut the different periods represented in the Sa'idiyeh cemetery, with burial customs being a sensitive indicator of such influences. The Sa'idiyeh burials provide an opportunity for examining features such as body treatment, age and gender distinctions, wealth and status expression, and local ritual practices of Jordan Valley populations over time.

Tell es-Sa'idiyeh : Upper Tell (Jonathan Tubb & Rupert L. Chapman III, 2007)

Tell es-Sa'idiyeh Volume IV: Excavations on the Upper Tell 1986-1996

Tell es-Sa'idiyeh is the largest site in the Jordan Valley, and a meeting place for the different cultural spheres of Cis-Jordan, and Trans-Jordan within the Levant, Egypt and the Aegean to west and south. The substantial corpus of material from the excavations since 1986, taken together with that from the previous excavations, is extremely important for studies of chronology and culture throughout the Levant and beyond over the whole span of its occupation. The changing nature of the occupation on the Upper Tell is important in reconstructing the economy, social structure, and political history of the region. The shifting political control, which is visible in the changing material culture, both the portable finds (e.g., pottery and metalwork) and the fixed finds (architecture), forms part of the larger regional picture.

Umm al-Biyara / Sela / Edom (Piotr Bienkowski, 2003)

Final report on the excavations at Umm al-Biyara

Umm al-Biyara is the highest mountain in the centre of Petra in southern Jordan (the area known as Edom in the Iron Age). It remains the key to the absolute chronology of the Iron Age in southern Jordan. The ancient site is on the mountain's flat, trapezoidal summit. Bennett's excavations uncovered an unfortified Iron Age settlement consisting of a group of houses with long corridor rooms. The settlement was evidently domestic, judging from the quantity of loom weights and spindle whorls recovered. The pottery shows characteristic Iron II shapes, but, unlike assemblages at other Edomite sites, it was largely unpainted. Several apparently similar nearby 'mountain-top' sites, now seen as characteristic of the Petra area in the Iron Age, have been surveyed in recent years, but Umm al-Biyara remains the only one that has been excavated. Recent research suggests that Edom was a tribal kingdom rather than a nation state, and the Petra area had its own unique characteristics in terms of settlement type and location and pottery assemblages.