Co-organized with



1. Under the Patronage of HRH Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal, the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and the University of Florence organized the 14th International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan. HRH Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal is the founder of this conference which is organized every three years started in 1980 in Oxford University. ICHAJ is becoming a prestigious and important event for the scientific community of archaeologists, historians and researchers who, at an international level, are interested and working in Jordan.

So far, ICHAJ has been hosted at these places:

1980-Oxford (UK)
1983-Amman (Jordan)
1986-Tubingen (Germany)
1989-Lyon (France)
1992-Irbid (Jordan)
1998-Copenhagen (Denmark)
2001-Syudney (Australia)
2004-Petra (Jordan)
2007-Washington (USA)
2010-Paris (France)
2013-Berlin (Germany)
2016-Amman (Jordan)

In the closing ceremony of ICHAJ 13 that was held in Jordan at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, it was announced that 14th International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan will be held in Florence, Italy, HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal passed a statement that ICHAJ 14 should focus on a theme "Culture in Crisis: Flows of People, Artifacts & Ideas", where UNESCO should play an active role in protecting cultural heritage and its people in the areas that are facing serious army conflicts.

It’s certainly true that cultural heritage is in danger of destruction, looting, or illicit trafficking in many places around the world. It’s also true that new types of threats to cultural heritage have developed in the last few decades. These include: the easier movement of goods across national borders via online marketplaces like eBay, the spread of global banking, the outbreak of war and other forms of political instability and poverty, and the widespread availability of heavy machinery and explosive. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and research as well as academic training must keep up with these challenges. Cultural heritage is about identity, knowledge, and the future, as well as the past.

2. Observing the program and the set of abstracts that follow, a dynamic and original picture emerges for amplitude and objective systematicity between the complex of a rich and articulated archaeological research on a potentially extraordinary scenario for a long chronological period (with some analogy, in this respect, with Italy and certainly not many other districts) and a 'laboratory' where, on equally extraordinary contexts, innovative or even experimental forms of international archaeological research are experimented. It is a scenario that characterizes this 14th Florentine ICHAJ edition as the apex of a trend that structurally characterizes, in increasing terms for participations both in contributions and authors, a cultural event that, in the sector and at this level, objectively places Jordan alongside very few other countries.

The ICHAJ, therefore, returns to Italy 24 years after the Turin edition, which made an important contribution to the insertion of the Jordanian archaeological  reality into a Euro-Mediterranean network to which the organizer Giorgio Gullini had dedicated himself with his Center for archaeological research and excavations for the Middle East. The choice of the Scientific Committee (unanimously) of the Florentine setting as the seat of this return can be attributed to the recognition of the growing role and interest of Italian culture, not only archaeological, for the enhancement (between science and conservation) of the Jordanian heritage (not just stones, not just men ...) and the specific role, which now appears irreplaceable, that the courageous and generous country that is Jordan, is developing; and also the contribution that the culture and history of a place like Florence, even by recent tradition, can give to this difficult phase to a nearby region (as its history can testify). A more occasional element we would like to think was also constituted by the role (methodological, merit, but in particular 'public') that the Mission of the Florentine University, 'Petra medievale', could represent in its uninterrupted 33 years of activity, thanks to the 'sympathy' (I would say in the Greek sense ...) with which the DoA has supported and supported us (with the GDs I remember well one by one: Adnan al-Hadidi, Ghazi Bisheh, Safwan al-Tell, Fawwaz al-Khraysheh , Ziad al-Saad, Faris al- Hmoud, Monther Jamhawi, Yazid Elayyan, ...).

For these reasons we tried to give the Florentine event also a national dimension, directly involving all the Italian archaeological missions supported by the MAECI; a presence that finds a moment of visibility in the small but accurate exhibition that exemplifies a work that for years has affected the entire chronological period of the long archaeological history of the country that hosts us, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. While among the sponsors who joined the organizers (Dpt of Antiquities of Jordan and the University of Florence, with the collaboration of CAMNES), are the main local institutions (Municipality of Florence, Tuscany Region), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Agency of Development and Cooperation and UNESCO). 

Cultural continuity rather than thematic, among the last ICHAJ, is certainly not random: from
‘Trasparents borders’ (ICHAJ-XI, a theme that was already at the centre of our reflections: ‘The Transjordan’ conference in XII-XIII cc and ‘The frontiers of the medieval Mediterranean’, Florence, Palazzo Vecchio-Palazzo Strozzi, 5-8 November 2008 and Exhibition ‘From Petra to Shawbak, Archeology of a frontier’, Florence, Palazzo Pitti, 2009) to Ethics in Archeology (ICHAJ-XIII) form the background of the theme that we are called to debate in Florence. In fact, ICHAJ 14 will devote much of its program to the discussion and development of new proposals and methodologies on the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, in Jordan and in other international contexts. A moment in which such a setting will emerge clearly, will be during the 'Special Event' (January 24th, 2019), promoted by Prince S.A. Hassan bin Talal to whom we owe the same foundation of the ICHAJ, organized by the Presidency of the Regional Council - sponsored and supported by MAECI and UNESCO - open to the public and, for the first time in the forty-year history of the 'ICHAJ, also addressing issues outside the national borders; the main focus will be the situation of prolonged crisis in the region and on the role that objectively and under different aspects, is being played by Jordan, aimed at contributing, as the only country at peace in the region, and ensuring continuity to the international attention on the cultural heritage of the area, with an important Italian support; in fact, interventions by protagonists of archaeological research in Syria, Iraq, Libya are planned.

Welcome to Florence, therefore, to everyone: a city whose hospitality has been possible, so to speak, and made perceptible also through the dislocation of the works that will take place in some places not so monumental, but representative, at the highest level, of the values that the history of this city has been able to render to the civilization of Europe, of the Mediterranean and of humanity itself.

Welcome, in particular to those coming from the land of Jordan and the Arab regions: part of the history of this city has in fact shared its events with the nearby Arab and Islamic East, leaving traces in its monuments, its arts, its archives, as only Venice, in Europe, was been able to do.

Welcome to Florence, for an experience that is both scientific and personal, possibly without a solution of continuity between these two dimensions, both to be interpreted, according to the genius loci, in terms of a fully understood humanism.

The ICHAJ 14 Organizors:
1.   Department of Antiquities of Jordan
2.   University of Florence, Chair of Medieval Archaeology 

Committes and Staff STEERING COMMITTEE:
  • HE Minister of Tourism and Antiquities
  • Mr. Yazid Elayyan, HE Acting Director General of the Department of Antiquities
  • Mr. Fabio Cassesse, HE Italian Ambassador in Jordan Mr. Fayiz Khouri, HE Jordanian Ambassador in Italy Mr. Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence
  • Mr. Eugenio Giani, President Toscany Region Council
  • Prof. Luigi Dei, Rector of The University of Florence
  • Prof. Guido Vannini, Dir. of the School of Specializz. of the Univ. Florence

  • Prof. Guido Vannini (Chair), Director of the School of Specialization of the University of Florence
  • Prof. ZeidanKafafi, Yarmouk University
  • Dr. Monther Jamhawi, Jordan University of Science and Technology Dr. Barbara Porter, American Center of Oriental Research_Amman Dr. Omar Al-Ghul, Yarmouk University
  • Prof. Fawzi Abu Danneh, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University
  • Prof. ShaherRababah, Hashemite University Dr. Khairieh Amr, Independent Researcher Prof. Michele Nucciotti, Florence University
  • Prof. Lorenzo Nigro, Rome University (La Sapienza) Prof. Andrea Polcaro, Perugia University
  • Prof. Giovanna De Palma, Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro
  • Dr. Roberto Gabrielli, Institute for Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage-CNR Prof. Basemah Hmarneh, Vienna University
  • Prof. Stephan Schmid, Humboldt University
  • Prof. Saba Fares, University Toulouse II Jean Jaurès
  • Prof. Bethany Walker, Bonn University

  • Mr. Yazid Elayyan, HE Acting Director General of the Department of Antiquities
  • Dr. Monther Jamhawi, HE Former Director General of the Department of Antiquities Dr. Ahmad Amaireh, Dean of Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration Mahmoud Sobuh, Assistant Director General for Administrative Affairs
  • Aktham Oweidi, Director of Excavations and Surveys Directorate Hanadi Al Taher, Director of Studies and Publication Directorate Samia Khoury, Director of Museums Directorate
  • Ghassan Al Dier, Director of the Director General Office
  • Arch. Shatha Mubaideen, Engineering and Conservation Directorate
  • Prof. Michele Nucciotti, Florence University
  • Prof. Elisa Pruno, Florence University

  • Chiara Molducci (General Coordinator)
  • Lapo Somigli
  • Chiara Marcotulli
  • Francesca Cheli
  • Raffaele Ranieri
  • Andrea Biondi
  • Laura Lazzerini

  • Dr. Guido Guarducci
  • Dr. Stefano Valentini

  • Benedetta Pacini
  • Dimitri Pizzuto
  • Gemma Alfonso
  • Diletta Bigiotti
  • Leonardo Squilloni
  • Giacomo Enrico Ponticelli
  • Sofia Vagnuzzi
  • Chiara Santini
  • Miriam Leonetti
  • Arianna Lobina
  • Martina Rodinò
  • Anna Maria Nardon
  • Silvia Valisano
  • Julia Maczuga

General Program
(The final updated and detailed program will be delivered during registration)


Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei Cinquecento 
Piazza della Signoria
8.00-14.30University of Florence, Via Capponi 9 - REGISTRATION
12.30-13.30University of Florence, Via Capponi 9 - WELCOME RECEPTION APERITIVE
Afternoon Sessions
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
History and Archaeology of Jordan

Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 1 

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 1 

History and Archaeology of Jordan 

History and Archaeology of Jordan 



Morning Sessions (A)
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan
History and Archaeology of Jordan

Science, Methods and Technology in Arch. 2

10.40-11.10COFFEE BREAK
Morning Sessions (B)
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 2

History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan


Science, Methods and Technology in Arch. 3

12.50-14.30LUNCH BREAK
Afternoon Sessions
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 3 

History and Archaeology of Jordan 

History and Archaeology of Jordan


Science, Methods and Technology in Arch. 4



Morning Sessions (A)
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 4

History and Archaeology of Jordan
Jordan in Global Histories: The Land of Peace 1  

Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 5 

10.40-11.10COFFEE BREAK
Morning Sessions (B)
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

History and Archaeology of Jordan

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 5

History and Archaeology of Jordan

Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 6


Jordan in Global Histories: The Land of Peace 2
12.50-14.30LUNCH BREAK
Afternoon Sessions
UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 13
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 14
UniFi – Via Capponi
Room 16
UniFi – Via San Gallo
Aula Magna
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Santa Apollonia
History and Archaeology of Jordan

Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 7

Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 6 

History and Archaeology of Jordan 

History and Archaeology of Jordan


Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 8

Istituto degli Innocenti
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, 12 - Salone Brunelleschi, Sala Poccetti
20.30-23.30ICHAJ 14 GALA


Teatro della Compagnia
Via Camillo Cavour, 50/R
10.30-13.00SPECIAL EVENT
Culture in Crisis
with the participation of
University of Florence - Via San Gallo, 10
13.00-14.00LUNCH BREAK
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Magna UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Parva
Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP)
Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA). Culture in Crisis - the role of digital documentation in heritage protection and management
15.40-16.00COFFEE BREAK
UniFi – Via San Gallo Aula Magna The new discovery of the Bayt Ras Tomb
UniFi – Via San Gallo EST 48 49 - antecedent Aula Magna
14.00-16.00MINI TOURS


UniFi – Via Capponi Room 5 UniFi – Via Capponi Room 3 UniFi – Via Capponi Room 14
History and Archaeology of Jordan PREHISTORY 6
Science, Methods and Technology in Archaeology 9 ETHNO-ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHODOLOGIES Public Archaeology and Social-Economic Development 7 MUSEUM AND COLLECTION
10.40-11.10COFFEE BREAK
Aula Magna del Rettorato - Piazza San Marco, 4


(1) PALAZZO VECCHIO - Salone dei Cinquecento

Piazza della Signoria, 1st floor

Palazzo Vecchio is the City Hall of Florence and it overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David as well as the gallery of antique and Renaissance statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.

Palazzo Vecchio, or Palazzo della Signoria, has been the symbol of the civic power of Florence for over seven centuries. Built between the end of the 13th century − by Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Duomo and the church of Santa Croce − and the beginning of the 14th century to house the city’s supreme governing body, the Priori delle Arti and the Gonfalonier of Justice.
The solid, massive building is enhanced by the simple tower with its clock, called Tower of Arnolfo, and over time it has been subject to a series of extensions and transformations.
Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici moved his official seat to the Palazzo della Signoria in May 1540, signalling the security of Medici power in Florence. When Cosimo later moved to Palazzo Pitti, he officially renamed his former palace the Palazzo Vecchio, the “Old Palace”. Cosimo commissioned Giorgio Vasari to build an above-ground walkway to join the two palaces, the Vasari corridor, from the Palazzo Vecchio, through the Uffizi, over the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. From 1865 to 1871 it was the seat of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy − when Florence was the Capital city − while today it houses the Mayor of Florence and various municipal offices.

The Salone dei Cinquecento is an imposing hall with a length of 52 m and 23 m broad. It was built in 1494 by Simone del Pollaiolo, on commission of Girolamo Savonarola who, replacing the Medici after their exile as the spiritual leader of the Republic, wanted it as a seat of the Grand Council (Consiglio Maggiore) consisting of 500 members. Later the hall was enlarged by Giorgio Vasari so that Grand Duke Cosimo I could hold his court in this chamber. During this transformation famous (but unfinished) works were lost, including the two frescoes representing the Battle of Cascina by Michelangelo, and the Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci. Tha Salone is decorated by a large number of statues by Renaissance masters, including the original “Genius of Victory” by Michelangelo (c. 1532); the famous frescoes made between 1555 and 1572 by Giorgio Vasari and his workshop to celebrate Florence victories over Pisa and Siena, decorate the upper part of the walls.

(2) SAN GALLO / FENZI - Palazzo Fenzi-Marucelli
Via San Gallo 10

The Palazzo Fenzi-Marucelli is currently home to the Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts of the University of Florence (SAGAS).
It was built in the 16th century for the Castelli family by Gherardo Silvani − an Italian architect and sculptor, active mainly in Florence and other sites in Tuscany during the Baroque period − and it was later enlarged by the Marucelli family. In 1829 it was bought by Emanuele Fenzi in order to house his bank and his family. He was Senator of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and later of the Kingdom of Italy, a leading Italian banker, iron producer, concessionaire of the Livorno-Florence railway (Strada Ferrata Leopolda) and other railway enterprises, merchant for exportation of Tuscan products, and landowner.

Among many other Baroque architectural features such as ornate ceilings and marble sculptures, the Palazzo Fenzi has a wide variety of frescoes, some of which by the painter Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734). The series of frescoes on allegorical and mythological themes, on the ground floor of Palazzo Fenzi, were executed during his stay in Florence from 1706 to
1707 and are considered among his masterpieces. 

The large ballroom on the first floor, the present-day “Aula Magna”, was completely renovated by the architect Giuseppe Martelli and adorned by Vincenzo Marinelli with mythological friezes on the upper part of the walls and was a sought- after venue for Florentine, Italian and international nobility during the second half of the 19th century.

Plan of SAN GALLO / FENZI: Ground floor 

Plan of SAN GALLO / FENZI: First floor 
NB: Publisher stands & Poster Session are located between Aula Parva and Aula Magna 

(3) CAPPONI - Palazzina de’ Servi
Via Gino Capponi 9

The also called “Palazzo dei Servi” or “Palazzina de’ Servi” is currently home to the Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts of the University of Florence (SAGAS).

It is located between the fourteenth century complex of the Convent of Santissima Annunziata and the Botanical Garden of the University of Florence (founded in the 16th century and it can be considered the third oldest in the world). The Palazzina was designed by Niccolò Tribolo in the mid-16th century and extensive renovations through the centuries have made architectural changes to the original structure. Its history is therefore intertwined with that of these two historical institutions, the former religious, the latter botanical. It was built as an annex to the convent and in 1810 was transformed in neo-classical style by the architect Luigi De Cambray Digny to accommodate the new bishopric.

With the annexation of Tuscany to the Kingdom of Italy, the northern part of the monastery of Santissima Annunziata and the “Giardino dei Semplici” (that means “garden with plants with medicinal virtues”) passed under the management of the municipality, while during the period when Florence was capital of Italy (1865-1871) the Palazzina dei Servi was occupied by the State for use of the War Department. These offices were vacated in the 1870s and passed to the University who set up laboratories for the faculty of Chemistry, Physics and Physiology. The National Museum of Anthropology was also sited there.

On the initiative of Hugo Schiff (1834-1915), founder of the modern academic structure of the University chemistry section, extensions to the building to enable a more modern arrangement of chemistry laboratories and a new form of educational experimentation were planned. During the course of these changes it was decided instead that the building should house the faculties of History of Art and the Performing Arts, with the aim of conserving every trace of the rich historical stratigraphy of the building thus restoring dignity to the whole architectural complex.
The recent restoration of all these characteristic elements allowed a return to a comprehensive vision of the architectural space and the renovation of corridors, the vestibule and the monumental staircase brought unity to the whole building.

Plan of CAPPONI: Ground floor  

Plan of CAPPONI: First floor 

Piazza San Marco 4

The headquarters of the University of Florence is located in a building formerly used as a grand-ducal stable with the buildings of the Natural History Museum, belonging to the University itself, in particular the Museum of Botany and the Museum of Geology and Paleontology.
Here in the 15th century some lion cages had been moved at the expense of the Florentine Republic and after 1429 the construction of a “Collegio della Sapienza" − a school to welcome fifty young people, half foreigners and half Florentines − commissioned by Niccolò da Uzzano, a politician of the supreme court of Florence, and under the patronage of the Arte
dei Mercatanti (Guild of Merchants) was started. The building was designed by the painter Lorenzo di Bicci (1350-1427), but the work did not see the light soon, as many of the money left by Niccolò were diverted by the Republic to finance wars and other needs.

In the 19th century it belonged to the army, which then sold it to the University of Florence.
In the building today are located the rectorate, the main hall, the administrative services department and a secretariat. A bust with a plaque on the façade in Piazza San Marco recalls Cesare Battisti (1875-1916), a graduate of the Florentine University and a famous patriot, journalist, geographer, Italian socialist and irredentist politician.

The building has two courtyards, in the main one there is a small garden and in the secondary one there is the entrance to the Museum of Mineralogy. Among the monumental environments stand out, in addition to the auditorium decorated with frescoes of the period of Florence as Capital city, the staircase in neoclassical style, the hall of the university Senate and the small historical library.

(5) ISTITUTO DEGLI INNOCENTI - Salone Brunelleschi
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata 12

The Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence has worked uninterruptedly for over six centuries, to help children and families: founded at the beginning of the 15th century, it was the first secular institution dedicated to taking in orphaned children. The old hospital, “Spedale degli Innocenti”, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and enriched over time with works of art by many other famous artists.

The architectural complexes were commissioned and financed by the Arte della Lana (WooI Guild). The refectory, cloisters, dormitories, infirmary, nurses, rooms and porticoes were purposely balanced by Brunelleschi to create a harmonious and rational hospital architecture. Later, they were enlarged and decorated with frescoes, thus documenting the on-going activities of the institution and the favour of the reigning dynasty of the Medici.

The “Spedale degli Innocenti” is more than an architectural milestone. Today the Institute’s activities include establishing and testing educational and social services, studying the condition of children and promoting children’s rights and culture, in line with the UN Convention on the rights of the child. The commitment to protect children and their rights, updated as culture and society develop, has always been supported by donations from private citizens, associations and companies, confirming a widespread participation in the Institute’s mission.

Today this precious historical and monumental complex is also the home of the Museo degli Innocenti, a museum that houses works, among others, by Botticelli and Ghirlandaio (

via Cavour 50

It is an historical building now turned into a theater. The architectural project, commissioned to Adolfo Natalini by the Fondiaria − an Italian insurance company − in 1984, involved the transformation of the pre-existing cinema “Modernissimo” (created in 1921) into a theater hall to be used as a permanent venue for the Teatro Regionale Toscano (regional theater of Tuscany). The works ended in 1987 and they were characterized by the respect of the original building and its historical stratifications, giving emphasis to the pre-existing architectural elements, as for example the longitudinal axis of the boundary wall of the former garden of Palazzo Bastogi − a 18th century palace. Thanks to the Tuscany Region the theater reopened in 2006 as “Cinema La Compagnia” and became the home of short films and Florentine cinema festivals.

Paper Abstracts


Muhammad Al Absi
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Jordan is an open museum with about 24,000 registered and 100,000 expected archaeological sites. Many types of columns were found in archaeological sites surrounding ancient Forums and roads. These columns suffer from various types of deterioration, whether in materials or structure, due to mix of natural and human factors. In order to minimize conjecture and emphasize sympathetic conservation, International organizations such as ICOMOS and Getty institute attempt to classify deterioration type – in particular stone deterioration- to help conservators cope with a number of longstanding conservation problems. This research aims to  take a broad and critical look at the present state of archaeological columns, with a focus on common types of deterioration, decay or problems that affect negatively its structure, to give a strategic overview of column conservation field and to identify areas of strength and weakness on where further research should be focused. The study is based on an analysis of the columns’ deterioration types were found in four archaeological sites mainly; Jerash, Amman, Um Qais and Petra, and some other cases in Jordan. A combination of image-based and non-image-based techniques (evaluation form, maps, reports and articles) were used to collect initial data, and followed by comparative analysis considering international scientific publications and case studies, to identify problems and determine solutions. The results show that structural decay, erosion, pollution and moist issues are the most types of deterioration have been detected, whereas the most reasons impact archaeological columns negatively are bad previous restoration, vandalism and lack of periodic maintenance.

Keywords: Archaeological Columns, Survey, Deterioration, conservation, Jordan


Mark Abbe
University of Georgia

Michael Morris
Sculpture and Architecture Conservator

Megan A. Perry
East Carolina State University

In 2016 excavations by the Petra North Ridge Project discovered two imported under life-size marble statues of Aphrodite amidst 4th century AD domestic debris. The pair, which may have been displayed as a pendant group in the private bath of a villa urbana near where they were found, constitutes unprecedented and well-contextualized examples of domestic marble statuary in Petra and are among the most important marble sculptures to have been found in Roman Arabia in recent decades. While both statues of Aphrodite share the well-known Capitoline type pose, the goddesses’ costumes and supporting Eros figures provide different narratives that frame and characterize the central iconic image. Interestingly both statues display extensive repairs and are notably different in technique, style, and polychrome finish: one displays subtle pigment mixtures in combination with gilding, while the other has a more simplified graphic painting style. Style and technique suggest dates around the first century AD for one and the third century for the other, respectively. The North Ridge Aphrodites not only provide new evidence for long-standing questions about the imported material and workshop production of marble sculpture in the Roman Near East, but they also present a unique opportunity to explore important broader historical and cultural perspectives, including the domestic display of marble statuary in the region and the diverse cultural responses to it, the adoption of Hellenistic Roman domestic practices among the extra-Mediterranean elite, and the fate of such statuary in the changing circumstances of Petra and Roman Arabia in late antiquity.

Keywords: Aphrodite, Petra, marble, sculpture, polychromy 


Yazan Abu Alhassan
Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, RWTH Aachen University

Salt weathering is considered one of the most decisive contributors to the weathering of monumental stones since large parts of our cultural heritage were built from stone. Therefore, inhibiting or limiting the crystallization of these salts is an important step towards the preservation of our cultural heritage. In the past, a desalination of stone by using distilled water has been applied in order to mitigate the impact of salt weathering, with considerably different success. A fairly new field of research is the use of salt crystallization inhibitors/modifiers. It has attracted interest for improving desalination as well as for reducing aggressiveness and damage potential of salt weathering mechanisms. Sandstone samples from the archaeological city of Petra were examined, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of stone treatment with distilled water and crystallization inhibitor as a method to improve desalination of salt-loaded sandstone. Comparing the extraction of salts from stone samples with traditional methods using distilled water and by the application of a crystallization inhibitor, it can be concluded that using sodium ferrocyanide as a crystallization inhibitor for both preventive measures of salt weathering and extraction of salts, is superior to using a pure water to mitigate the salt-induced damage to porous materials. In addition, crystallization inhibitor has the ability to extract the salts from the depth of the samples up to their surface in the form of harmless efflorescences rather than harmful subflorescences.


Yousef Abu Ali
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

The objective of this study is to propose a developmental and promotional plan for the site of Umm El-Jimal as a tourist destination and to preserve and sustain the cultural and historical potential of the site. And the importance of this study comes due to the missing plans that were not conducted before. The site consists of a Nabataean temple, Byzantine governor’s house, barracks, churches, water system and domestic houses. This study presents a comprehensive study of the various resources that the site has and the possibility of using these resources in tourist development without affecting the environmental, social and economic components of the tourist system of the site. Likewise, this project endeavors to suggest strategies to protect and restore the site, and create an efficient administration of the cultural resources of Umm El-Jimal that can ensure integration of the local people in the management of the site, and, therefore, their socio-economic benefit from this culturally-rich site. To achieve these goals, the study uses available written literature and the published results of field research on Umm El-Jimal, in addition to observations collected in the course of many field visits by the author. The study suggests the following: the enhancement of the infrastructure of Umm El-Jimal, qualification of personnel and professional training to deal with tourists and tourism, encouragement of local tourism through lectures, seminars, videos, and the adoption of an ideal tourist marketing and promotional policy.


Wael Abu Azizeh
Archéorient - Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée (Lyon)

Mohammad Tarawneh
Nabataean Centre for Archaeological Studies, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Wadi Musa, Jordan

Rémy Crassard
CEFAS, Koweit

Juan Antonio Sanchez-Priego
Archéorient - Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée (Lyon)

Investigations in the framework of the South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project allowed recently the discovery of the first evidence of “Desert kites” in the southeastern desert of Jordan, away from their main concentration area in the basalt Harra landscape. Following this preliminary recognition, excavations undertaken during resumed fieldwork in Jibal al- Khashabiyeh area, located at 90 km east of the Jafr Basin, provided valuable information allowing to clarify the architectural layout and to confirm the hunting function of these Late Prehistoric mega structures. These results provided moreover the first indisputable evidence pushing back the use of these sophisticated hunting strategies to the Neolithic period (Final PPNB). In parallel, a number of sites evidencing a homogeneous techno-cultural entity have been identified in close spatial connection to the “Desert kites”. They are characterized by exceptionally rich lithic assemblages, which provide elements of comparison with other techno-complexes of the southern Levant’s arid margins. These flint scatters are linked to structural remains of sub circular dwelling units. Work in progress indicates that these sites constitute hunting campsites directly related to the “Desert Kites” in a Final PPNB chronological timeframe. The identification of this first occurrence of occupation remains associated to the “Desert kites” constitutes an unprecedented discovery in the near eastern arid margins, and an invaluable opportunity for a better understanding of these mass-hunting strategies, and their socio-cultural background, in a Neolithic chronological context.

Keywords: Desert kites, Southeastern Jordan, Arid margins, Neolithic, Mass hunting


Nizar Abu Jaber
German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan

Catreena Hamarneh
German Protestant Institute for Archaeology, Amman, Jordan

Abdallah Rawabdeh
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan

Qasem Abdelal
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan

Khaldoon Al Qudah
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan

Khaled Al Amrien
Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority, Wadi Musa, Jordan

Wadi Madras/Wadi Hraimieh is the ephemeral stream tributary that feeds the Siq and Treasury area of Petra from the south. It covers an area of about 5km2, and ranges in elevation from 1400 m down to 1020m at the confluence with the Siq. The distance from the Siq to the top of the drainage basin is about 3km. Geologically, the drainage area can be divided into the Upper Cretaceous Limestone upper drainage basin (down to an elevation of about 1250m) and the Palaeozoic Sandstone lower drainage basin. Due to frequent flooding of Petra, largely coming from this drainage basin, the Nabateans devised an elaborate flood control and water management system here. This included a system of dispersed terraces in the upper drainage basin, as well as a system of check dams, dams, cisterns, canals and terraces in the lower drainage basin. Due to long negligence, the system has fallen into disrepair and many of its elements are longer recognized. With a grant from the US Ambassadors Fund, our team is working to document and understand the archaeological, engineering and hydrological aspects of the site. The project will then move towards rehabilitation and restoration of key components of the system. Along with that, the local community will be trained in the optimal practices of building and maintaining flood control terrace systems. The results will be monitored through observation and stream gauges. Expansion of the results to the other tributaries feeding the ancient city will ensure optimal protection from flood hazards.

Keywords: Petra, flood control, Nabatean technology


Farah Abu Naser
Department of Antiquities of Jordan 

This study monitored and examined the surrounding environment and the major problems that facing Umm-Qais "Gadara"; which it's location in the hills above the Jordan Valley affects the deterioration of the architectural monuments of the site. The study is distributed within three monuments: Nymphaeum, basilica-terrace and five-aisled basilica, using different  methodologies such  reviewing  previous researches,  publications and  previous interventions. The  second program involved detailed recording of the temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide using Gemini Tinytag plus. And finally create a 3D-models and 3D-reconstructions. This research showed that the surrounding environment condition caused a deteriorated in the structures; the unexpected change in temperature and relative-humidity had the greatest impact. The fluctuation in temperature led to granular disintegration and break out the stone. The high relative-humidity led to crystallization of salts on surface; moreover the low relative-humidity led to irregular cracks and weakness the stone hardness. In order to suggest some solutions that could contribute in improvement the site and develop tourism strategy, the author recommends some points such developing an environmental plan to control the surrounding condition and create 3D-Models in other locations in the site. Weathering problems should be controlled by studying all the monuments problems, in order to find all the common damage, after that develop a reservation plan to keep the remaining of the monuments in Umm-Qais.

Keywords: Weathering-effect, Plan, Conservation, Umm-Qais, 3D-documentation


 Fawzi Abudanah
Al-Hussein Bin Talal University

This paper presents the results of the archaeological evidence which was collected by the author from the hinterland of Petra. Little is known about the cultural, economic, social and political relations between Petra and its hinterland. The results of the different fieldwork projects, surveys and excavations, the author initiated or participated in indicates that the hinterland of Petra was always in direct connection with Petra at all levels. A major road network guaranteed and facilitated this connection, the flow and exchange of ideas and material culture between the two sides. The archaeological evidence shows also that the hinterland of Petra played a role in its prosperity. The markets of Petra appear to have encouraged farmers to cultivate their lands with different types of crops, vegetables and fruits. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that the upper class of Petra enjoyed the wine produced in its countryside considering the number of wine presses. The monuments of Petra seem to have inspired the inhabitants of its hinterland and made them trying to match the quality of architecture in the capital. Finally, it is quite safe to say that the hinterland of Petra does reflect the development the city had witnessed during its flourish.

Keywords: Petra, Nabataean, hinterland, agriculture, architecture


Adeeb Abushmais
Friends of Archaeology & Heritage Society

Amman Citadel has the largest archaeological remains in the core of the city. To the west of a Roman paved road, discovered by Husam Hejazeen and Yazid Olyan (2005-2007), running in the style 'bat steps' up to the Hercules temple a Sundial was discovered. The occupants of this Byzantine complex, occupied from more than 1600 years ago reused the architectural elements present from different periods. This artifact containing the sundial failed to be reused. It was a technological tool used for measuring time. The craftsman using a well dressed stone on the Roman-Byzantine style; technique carved an accurate design in both shape and measurements. The sundial has to be situated either in a high position or in the center of a complex so as to observe the time by the position of the shadows formed on the sundial by the vane. The bronze vane was fixed in the center of the hemispherical stone in the upper horizontal position but unfortunately it is not present. It is the work of a professional engineer and/or astronomer requiring accurate drawing, carving and measuring. The study will focus on the discovery of the sundial and the scientific ways of using rays from the sun for measuring time.


Takuro Adachi
Institute of Human and Social Sciences, Kanazawa University

Sumio Fujii
Kanazawa University

Harrat Juhayra 1 and 2 are Chalcolithic composite sites at the northwestern corner of the Jafr basin, southern Jordan, consisting of an elongated settlement and an extensive burial field, respectively. The former contains a dozen rectangular dwellings, whereas the latter is composed of some dozens burial/ritual features including rectangular ossuaries with a tail- like features, independent tail-like features, and enclosures. Several spoon-shaped pottery vessels, probably used for some ritual, were found in situ at an enclosure (Feature 123) and a dwelling (Feature 256). Similar products have been attested at a few contemporary sites in the Jordan Valley, suggesting that common ritual was shared in the wide range of the Chalcolithic southern Levant. This paper briefly reviews the research outcomes at the composite sites and discusses the archaeological implications of the unique ritual vessels in a broader context.

Keywords: Chalcolithic, ritual pottery, enclosure, Southern Jordan


Alexander Ahrens
German Archaeological Institute, Damascus

The Wadi Shuʿaib Archaeological Survey Project (WSAS) was initiated in 2016. It focus-ses on a thorough survey and reevaluation of all archaeological and historical sites in the Wadi Shuʿaib, ranging from the Neolithic to the Ottoman Period, starting from south of the city of as-Salt in the west of the Transjordanian Plateau down to the city of Shuna South located in the Jordan Valley. The wadi itself is a broad and deep natural feature that links these two specific regions. The microclimatic diversity in the two regions connected by the Wadi Shuʿaib also presents a strong and striking contrast, with an abundant precipi-tation and natural aquifers located in the north-eastern part of the wadi along the western edge of the Transjordanian Plateau, and a dry, semi-arid climate in the riparian zone of the southern Jordan Valley. The wadi thus serves as a “transit zone,” not only geographically and climatically, but also culturally and political-historically. In the course of three successive survey campaigns, a large number of archaeological sites were thoroughly recorded for the first time. Additionally, small scale targeted excavations were conducted at the site of Tell Bleibil, located close to the alluvial fan of the Wadi Shuʿaib in the south-eastern part of the Jordan Valley. Soil samples for radiocarbon dating were taken at five different locations along the northern site of the tell, which features a collapsed section with exposed stratified remains in situ. The samples analyzed give datum lines for the chronology and occupational sequence of the site.

Keywords: Jordan Valley, Transjordanian Plateau, Wadi Shuʿaib, Survey


Peter M.M.G. Akkermans
Leiden University, Faculty of Archaeology

Some 130 km East of Amman beginsel Jordan’s barren basalt desert, part of which is the Jebel Qurma range. This area is an extensive and rugged basalt massif, with steep-sided, basalt-covered prominences and rocky dissected plateaus. The Jebel Qurma area is highly arid, with an average annual precipitation of less than 50 mm. Despite the rather uninviting appearance of Jebel Qurma, the region has an astonishingly rich archaeological and epigraphic record, including very large numbers of stone-built installations and innumerable pieces of rock art and texts in ancient North Arabian script. There are also many hundreds of burial cairns, preferentially located on remote high plateaus and the summits of the basalt mounds. Until very recently, virtually nothing was known about the burial cairns of the Jebel Qurma area and about those of Jordan’s basalt desert at large. This picture is now dramatically changing, due to the current research by the Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project (under auspices of Leiden University, The Netherlands). Entirely new and exciting insights are being received on ancient burial practices in the basalt desert. Several dozen cairns have been meticulously excavated by now, ranging from low and roughly circular heaps of stone about 1,5 m across and 1 m high of use and reuse over the ages, and come in various types: ring cairns, tower tombs, cist graves, rectangular cairns, etc. The largest cairns appear to consist of two tombs built on top of each other. The oval, corbelled burial chamber inside the tombs yield human skeletal remains as well as burial gifts in the form of jewelry and weaponry. Both radiocarbon dates and Optically Stimulated Luminiscence (OSL) dates indicate that the majority of the tombs dates between the 8th century BC and the 3rd century AD. One cairn field, however, appears to date to the late 3rd millennium BC. This lecture will present the newest archaeological insights on the burial cairns and their date, construction, content, and use over the centuries. The newly excavated cairns provide, for the first time, a unique insight into the treatment of the dead in Jordan’s North-Eastern basalt wasteland in antiquity.


Khaled Al Bashaireh
Department of Archaeology, Yarmouk University

This paper investigates the source of marble elements uncovered in situ from churches at different archaeological sites, north Jordan including Abila, Rihab and Hayyan Al-Mushrif. The churches were dated constructed during the Byzantine period. The investigations were based on physical, mineralogical-petrographic and geochemical analyses using optical microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, and mass spectrometry. Analytical results were compared with the main reference databases of known Mediterranean marble quarries exploited in antiquity. Proconnesus-1 from Saraylar (Maramara, Turkey) is the most likely primary source of marble, while Proconnesus-2 from Ҫamlik (Marmara, Turkey) is a minor source. The results show clear evidence that the major marble trade during the Byzantine period was Asia Minor (Turkey). It is likely that the low cost, availability of ecclesiastical products of standard sizes, large labor forces and advanced transportation methods were the principal reasons for the success of Proconnesus (or Marmara) in supplying ecclesiastical marble for the construction of new churches arising from the spread of Christianity during the Byzantine period.

Keywords: Ecclesiastical marble, Proconnesus, Marmara, Asia Minor, Byzantine period

Omar Al Ghul

Department of Epigraphy, Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, Yarmouk University

The paper tackles the Assyrian contacts with the Jordan Valley during Iron Age II, based on a hitherto unpublished bulle. The piece carrying cuneiform writing was uncovered at Tall Damia in the central Jordan Valley during excavations of the joint Jordanian-Dutch expedition of the Settling the Steppe project. The archaeological context in which the bulle was found points to the 8th century BCE. This date agrees with the information we have from the Assyrian royal inscriptions and from the Old Testament about the Assyrian invasion of the southern Levant at that time. The resulting Assyrian influence is amply attested in the material culture of the Jordan Valley, as manifested in the architecture and pottery uncovered in sites, such as Deir ‘Alla. However, this bulle remains the only evidence for cuneiform writing from the Iron Age in Jordan. The paper will offer a reading, transliteration and translation of the text on the bulle. The subsequent commentary will seek to put the find in its historical and economical contexts, investigating the various possibilities that brought the bulle to Tall Damia. The Assyrian military and political expansion might seem an apparent reason for this, but there are also enough reasons to believe that commercial contacts might have carried the document down to the Tall. Actually, such contacts between the southern Levant and Mesopotamia probably were always extant and did not begin in the 8th century BCE.

Keywords: Jordan Valley, Tall Damia, Contacts with Mesopotamia, Regional Trade, Assyria


Khaled Al Hawawrah
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Basem Mahamid 
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

It is located in the Dhiban, about 35 km south of Madaba. The historical site of Dhiban is very important as it includes architectural features representing different periods of time as human settlement began in the site since ancient times. This tomb was discovered to the east of Tell Dhiban on the main road. According to Roman law, the tombs were built outside the walls of the city and may have been near the Roman Street. The mausoleum is nearly similar to the cut-rock tombs, but it is irregular. It is located in a large, almost rectangular cave, consists of a central outer room leads to three side rooms and a central room. In this paper I will present the mausoleum in terms of architectural, historical and archaeological aspects. Rehabilitation of this monument to be a touristic landmark in the area of Dhiban.

Keywords: mausoleum


Abdel Hakim Al Husban
Faculty or Archaeology and Anthropology - Yarmouk University - Irbid

Archaeologists agree that Jordan's history is considered as one of the oldest and richest ones in the world. It is characterized by a unique cultural heritage and a huge cultural and religious diversity. That is why the number of archaeological sites is countless. Archaeologists are talking about tens of thousands of archaeological sites in Jordan. Despite this colossal and huge number of archaeological sites in Jordan the scientific, economic, social and symbolic benefits or opportunities obtained from these archaeological sites are limited. The reasons laying behind this weak or limited benefit from the country's rich and valuable cultural heritage can be reduced to many technical, administrative, bureaucratic, political and socio-cultural obstacles and problems. In my paper I argue that one of the most important problems preventing Jordan from a better utilization of its resources in the fields of cultural heritage is the nature of the negative relationship between the local communities living around the archaeological sites and the archaeological sites themselves which is characterized by some sort of apathy. indifference, lack of information on the site and even some sort of physical, emotional, and cognitive ruptures and discontinuities with these sites. The general feeling of the population is that those sites do not belong to them but to other peoples and cultures who used to invade their lands across history. Consequently, different forms of alienation, hostility and aggressiveness against the archaeological sites and objects including the illicit trafficking of archaeological objects are widespread as a result of this negative and problematic relationship between the Jordanians and their heritage.


Duha Al Hwayan
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

This research aims to study the reality and the state of Jordanian tourism in light of the challenges prevailing the region. The research problem lies in the impact of the so-called Arab Spring and the Arab revolutions on the decrease number of visitors and tourists, and its role in changing the visitor point of view about the security in the country. After study and research; these problems were caused by the administrative and marketing problems that Jordan tourism suffers from the beginning of the Arab Spring. Theoretical and practical methods have been used in the research. The practical framework is presented through questionnaires that have been distributed on visitors of the site to see their point of view of the site and the services provided therein, also the impact of the Arab Spring on tourism in Jordan and the reality of tourism. Likert scale were used to measure strengths and weaknesses to find out the problems that tourists and visitors faced.


Sahar Al Khasawneh
Faculty of archaeology and anthropology, Yarmouk University, Irbid

Nizar Abu Jaber
Center for the Study of Natural and Cultural Heritage, German Jordanian University 

Catreena Hamarneh
German Protestant Institute of Archaeology, Amman

Andrew Murray
Nordic Laboratory for Luminescence Dating, Department of Geoscience, University of Aarhus, Denmark

On the wide stretches of mountain environment of Petra region, ancient Nabataean engineers established a complex and extensive system of terraces and damps to harvest and redirect rainfall water. This complicated hydraulic structure has been always dated based on surface pottery, but the question of chronology and the length of use of these structures was always an archaeological debate. In this work, we will date directly, for the first time, terraces structures from Petra using a recently developed luminescence technique for rocks; which determines the last time rock surfaces were exposed to light. This work employs a very new procedural and mathematical technique based on measuring luminescence signal bleaching by sunlight at varying levels deep in rock surfaces, the principle of the method relies on the fact that when a rock surface is exposed to light, any charge trapped in meta-stable sites in the minerals in the rock (especially quartz and feldspar) is released. After burial, this charge begins to build up again as a result of exposure to natural ionizing radiation. The stored charge is measured in the laboratory as luminescence and divided by the rate of storing charge (dose rate) to give the period of burial (Sohbati et al., 2011; Freisleben et al., 2015). The technique has solved many chronological questions for different archaeological sites in the Levant area where organic matters for C14 dating is not available (Sohobati et al., 2015, al Khasawneh et al, a &b, 2018).


al Khasawneh, S., Murray, A., Bonatz, D. Thomsen, K. (2018). Dating a Near Eastern desert hunting trap (kite) using rock surface dating. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, in press al Khasawneh, S., Murray, A., Abudanah, F. (2018). A First Radiometric Chronology for the Khatt Shebib Megalithic Structure in Jordan using Luminescence Dating of Rock Surfaces. Quaternary Geochronology, in press.

Freiesleben, T., Sohbati, R., Murray, A., Jain, M., Al Khasawneh, S., Hvidt, S., & Jakobsen, B. (2015). Mathematical model quantifies multiple daylight exposure and burial events for rock surfaces using luminescence dating. Radiation Measurements, 81, 16-22.
Sohbati, Reza, et al. "Investigating the resetting of OSL signals in rock surfaces." Geochronometria 38.3 (2011): 249-258.
Sohbati, Reza, et al. "Age of a prehistoric “Rodedian” cult site constrained by sediment and rock surface luminescence dating techniques." Quaternary Geochronology 30 (2015): 90-99.

Keywords: OSL dating, terrace, Petra


Nabeel Al Kurdi
Department of Architecture Engineering, The University of Jordan

Razan Yousef Al Abed
Department of Architecture, The University of Jordan

Many historic cities in recent decades experienced redevelopment often related to culture, tourism and technology. Such applications may offer the potential for creating more sustainable and livable cities. Particularly, in old industrial districts, new politics, strategies and funds have been used for the re-utilization of old industrial sites. This paper discusses Jerash City through detailed analysis of sustainable urban regeneration approaches. Unemployment, low education, poor health condition and bad condition for the built environment have been considered. A detailed study was performed to obtain all information needed regarding the district. In order to build a regeneration model for Jerash city center, the problems of the central area of Jerash City were defined, and then a set of criteria was established for urban regeneration policies that involves the social, economic, institutional, and environmental aspects. Cultural activities should be evaluated as substantial regeneration tool to attract skilled personnel and capital investment. Also, they should be seen as a tool to enhance city's urban image, quality of life and competitiveness in relation to other cities. Solutions were suggested upon the assessment and were discussed by the community representatives and other local government departments. The research concluded that integrated and comprehensive regeneration strategies are required for revitalization of historical city Centre of Jerash.

Keywords: Challenges, Community Participation, Jordan, Sustainability, Urban development


Tariq Al Mhairat
The University of Jordan

Jordan has a great diversity of cultural heritage sites are of national and international significance like Madaba that known as the “City of Mosaics " because of the sheer number of mosaics which have been found in the area, This study highlights the presentation and interpretation that carried out by Friends of Archaeology & Heritage in cooperation with the stakeholders in Madaba by exploring Madaba Visitor center as a case study to evaluate the success of Presentation & Interpretation techniques in the case study  in order to evaluate  the extent to which visitors and the local community benefit from such project and evaluate the interpretation methods from the visitors perspective in addition to augment the ability of the archaeological sites staff to deal with interpretation tools. This study assesses the interpretation techniques that applied in Madaba Visitor center by comparing it with the international interpretation standards. The assessment is primarily based on questionnaire to assess if these techniques were successful or not and the extent to which they are possible for application in other sites in Jordan. The purpose of this study is to Build visitors’ emotional attachment to the site by enhancing the sense of the place real events by that time together with a good amount of information that gives the visitor the chance to live and feel an unforgettable experience of the place. The second idea is how to design a useful interpretation plan that could be implemented on all archaeological sites.

Keywords: Presentation, Interpretation, assessment, Madaba, Jordan, techniques


Maysoon Al Nahar
The University of Jordan

The site was excavated during the University of Jordan 2005-2008 and 2014-2016 field seasons, directed by the author. The probable size of Abu Suwwan is ca.10.5 ha (26 acres) therefore, it is considered to be one of the Neolithic Megasites in Jordan. The discovered architecture and a high number of diagnostic pieces of lithics and the carbon dating suggest that the site was occupied continually from the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (MPPNB) to the Yarmoukian (Pottery Neolithic) period. The site contains a "Grill Building" plan with a long chronological sequence. It resembles the Cayonu Tepesi architecture in Eastern Anatolia. Moreover, the site produced a ritual mudbrick area which contained several burials and thirteen skulls, two of them were plastered. While the Yarmoukian pottery and arrowheads were found during the first six seasons only in disturbed contexts, the seventh season revealed the first in-situ contexts in the southern part of Area B.   This discovery finally confirmed the existence of the Yarmoukian occupation already indicated by some radiocarbon dates obtained during the previous seasons.

Keywords: Neolithic, Yarmoukian, PPNB, Megasites, Plastered skulls


Mohammed Al Nasarat
Department of History, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University

The study of the history and geography of Jordan during the Byzantine period is still in need of further research. This study aims at shedding light on researching and analyzing geographical locations in the southern Jordan region mentioned in the military document Notitia Dignitatum dated to the end of the fourth century A.D. and the beginning of the fifth century A.D., through a historical and geographical methodology to analyze the names of the sites mentioned in the document based on the Byzantine gazetteers, and compares them with various Byzantine sources. The document provides clear and accurate information on the posted of Byzantine military garrisons in various locations in southern Jordan such as: Robatha, Toloha, Arieldela, Bir Madhkure, Zadocathae, Zoarae, Ailae, Admatha, Tarba, Sabaiae, Areopolis and other sites. The study of the document shows that the history of the majority of the Byzantine military units posted in southern Jordan is mostly returned to the Roman period, i.e. during the period of the military and administrative organizations carried out by the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.), as well as the extraction of sufficient information to form a clear picture of the degree of contribution Arab military units in the defense of the borders of the Byzantine state, 

especially that most of these military units posted in areas near the main centers such as military garrison in Byzantium near the entrance to the city of Petra, which feels that internal security is the goal of these garrisons.

Keywords: Southern Jordan, Byzantine period, Notitia Dignitatum, Byzantine sources, Military sites.


Ekhlass Al Qananweh
Yarmouk University

As the world celebrates 70 years since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Arab scholarly work in this field is still of little or no significance. On the other hand, western scholars studied these texts from a specific religious and cultural perspectives, and largely neglected the broader cultural and geographical context in which they were written. The current paper introduces a two-year project - funded by the Scientific Research Fund - which is part of a comprehensive long- term plan that aims to study the non-biblical texts of the DSS, and train young Jordanian researchers to participate in further work in this area. This study, in which the presenter is a main investigator, will put these texts within their broader linguistic, religious and cultural contexts. This project constitutes the initial phase in which twenty-five texts of the so- called "Rewritten Bible" of the DSS will be studied. These texts are of the type that belongs to the broader genre named “Para-Biblical Texts”, which accounts for about a quarter of the total number of manuscripts discovered in the caves of the Dead Sea region. The ultimate goal of this study is to render a volume of the twenty-five "Rewritten Bible" texts comprising lexicographical research on the languages used in these texts (Hebrew and Aramaic) in which linguistic evidence of other languages of the same period, such as Nabataean, Palmyrene, and Ancient North Arabic will be considered. The work will also examine the Arabic-Islamic historical and religious sources in order to determine how they rendered the biblical narratives and characters mentioned in the “Para-Biblical texts”.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew, Aramaic, Sectarian Jewish Writings, Para-Biblical Texts, Re-written Bible


Aven Mazen Hmoud Al Qatameen
Bayt Ras Project / SCHEP

The removal of skulls is documented for the first time in the Levant during the Natufian period (9000 years BC.), and spread to the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) (8500 – 6000) BC. When this practice was discovered for the first time by Kathleen Kenyon, it was interpreted as a sign of ancestral worship. This study will analyze and discusses the characteristics of socio-cultural community in the southern Levant through the study of skulls found in the southern Levant; the collected data from literature review was made in order to clarify other interpretations for the removal of skulls from that era and this has led to another innovative explanation other than that of ancestral worship. The new interpretation is supported by direct and indirect physical and intangible evidence such as spatial distribution of collective skulls caches, linked with plaster statues, creation of memory, the social construction of identity and its relationship to the issue of abandonment that have occurred in some areas of southern Levant during the (PPNB) period, and why the skull was specifically removed. The evidence showed that the skulls do not all belong to elder males but also to male and females of different ages. This result is contrary to the idea that worship was only associated with older males and other interpretations related to social phenomenon.

Keywords: Neolithic, Removed Skull, Ancestral Worship, Identity, Burial Practices, socio-cultural community


Musallam Al Rawahneh
Department of Archaeology and Tourism, Mutah University

This paper aims to study fifty Ayyubid/ Mamluk glazed and painted pottery sherds from Al Rabbah Archaeological Site in Southern Jordan. That were found during an archaeological excavation season in 2004. The pottery fragments were divided according to the color of the glaze and the style of its manufacture into four groups: yellow glazed pottery, brown glazed pottery, green glazed pottery, and painted clay pottery. Chemical analysis was also conducted for the first time of four samples using Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (SR-XRF) Technique. Furthermore, the semi-quantitative analysis of the elements MnO, CI, P2O5, Na2O, MgO, TiO2, K2O, Fe2O3, PbO, CaO, Al2O3, SiO2, and L.O.I has been carried out in order to identify and characterize the elemental composition: i.e to determine their provenance. This was compared with some of Ayyubid/ Mamluk pottery, which was found in the archaeological sites in Jordan. This was achieved by obtaining information on their similarity and clustering. Based on the raw materials for ceramic production, the glazing method, and the technique of industry, the results of the chemical analysis provided persuasive evidence that Al Rabbah pottery sherds have least two different sources of provenance and types. The first was an external indicating that the Sherds were imported. The second type was extracted from the area surrounding Al Rabbah Site, which confirms that it was local industry.

Keywords: karak, Al Rabbah, Ayyubid/ Mamluk pottery, Archaeometry, Chemical analysis, Synchrotron Radiation X- ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (SR-XRF), semi-quantitative, MnO, CI, P2O5, Na2O, MgO, TiO2, K2O, Fe2O3, PbO, CaO, Al2O3, SiO2, L.O.I.


Ziad Al Saad
Yarmouk University, Irbid

Today 3D technologies represent necessary instrument for professional cultural heritage preservation, interpretation and communication to the wider public. In this study 3D models have been used for the documentation and reconstruction of a number of important monuments in two famous Greco-Roman Decapolis cities, namely Gadara and Gerasa. 3D laser scanning and image-based modelling techniques were used to generate 3D models of a number of key monuments in the two cities. The 3D modeling technology proves to be an effective instrument for the interpretation and presentation of these monuments, particularly those that are poorly preserved due to the adverse effects of nature and human. The generated digital replicas can be used as a tool for the interpretative hypotheses of archaeologists and as an effective medium for a visual description of the cultural heritage.

Keywords: 3D technologies, Cultural Heritage, Jordan, Decapolis, interpretation


Zeyad Al Salameen
Al-Hussein Bin Talal University

Fawzi Abudanah
Al-Hussein Bin Talal University

Laurent Tholbecq
Univeristé Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Khirbat Braq is one of the major Nabataean sites in the Greater Petra area. It lies 6 km east of the Nabataean capital, on the western ridge of the limestone massif (Jabal Shara) overlooking Petra. It includes perennial springs feeding the city and ensuring part of the water supply of downtown Petra through well surveyed water channels. The presence of this critical spring explains the development of an important sanctuary during both the Nabataean and Roman periods and a long-term occupation of the area. After the initial description of N. Glueck, the site remained unexplored despite of the accidental apparition of sculpture discovered at Kh. Braq during the 20th c. (Parr 1960). Complementing a first excavation project carried on in the 1990’s by S. Farajat, M. Marahla and H. Falahat on a late Islamic house of the site.
A documentation field season was carried out in Kh. Braq in April 2018 providing a first general description and top plan of the visible remains. This complements usefully our knowledge of interactions between downtown Petra and the Jabal Shara area from antiquity to the present day. 


Tahani Al Salhi
Consultant for Chief Commissioner to Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority

Monther Jamhawi
Jordan University of Science and Technology

Giorgia Cesaro
UNESCO Amman Office

Aylin Orbasli
Oxford Brookes University and UNESCO consultant

Hanadi Al Taher
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Ibrahim Farajat
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Sulieman Farajat,
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Husam Hjazeen
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Petra was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1985 and has been the subject to a number of operational and management plans since 1968. None of these plans could be fully endorsed or become operational, thus the site continues to face a number of challenges.

The need for a comprehensive management plan for the property was specifically expressed in the World Heritage decision 37 COM 7B.50, 4b. For this reason, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan joined efforts to initiate the development of an integrated management plan for the site under the technical guidance of the UNESCO Office in Amman.

Consultation represented an integral part of the process of preparing the management plan. Managing the consultation process is central to achieving workable results. It is therefore essential that it is sufficiently planned for, organized and transparent to all concerned stakeholders. The consultation structure shall be maintained throughout the implementation of the management plan as a useful tool for dialogue that is key for the management of the site. The consultation structure was organized around the following topics: local community partnerships, law and legalities, conservation, archaeology, geology and hydrology, infrastructure management, nature conservation, visitor services, interpretation and museums, tourism, planning and land use, risk management, sustainability and eco development, education and data management. As part of this study, the methodology utilized for the development of the integrated management plan will be presented placing particular emphasis on the consultative and participatory process adopted.

Keywords: management plan, World Heritage Site, participatory, consultation


Mohammad Al Shebli
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Al-Qatraneh Fortress is one of the Ottoman Fortresses in Jordan, located in the Town of Qatraneh/ Karak, 90 km south of Amman on the desert road between Amman and Aqaba. Al-Qatraneh Fortress was built to serve the pilgrims as it is situated at the Shami Hajj rout and the connecting roads between Sham and Hijaz in the 15th century AD, during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Al-Qanuni and it was passed by many famous travelers. The Fortress is a rectangular building with dimensions of 23m*17m and height of 10.5m. The Qatraneh Fortress has recently been subjected to sabotage and excavation at its foundations, the external façades and in the interior rooms. This led to a differential settlement in the foundations, which resulted in the appearance of vertical and horizontal cracks on parts of the exterior facades of the Fortress.

Therefore, the department of Antiquities of Jordan in collaboration with the local community started a project of restoration and conservation for the walls of the Fortress through its specialized cadres to rebuild, repoint and consolidate the deteriorated parts of the Fortress. This project aims at sustaining and preserving this heritage from vandalism, making this site eligible for tourism. Additionally, it aims at raising awareness and responsibility in the community by providing them with jobs opportunities. The work of the restoration and conservation project in Al- Qatraneh Fortress included the reconstruction of the missing stones, reinforcement and repointing of internal and external walls, and the main facade with the entrance. The restoration of the citadel will be completed by creating a path for visitors with interpretation panels narrating the story of the site. The project is based on two main methods: the first is the analytical methodology resulting from the sensory detection of the site and the documentation of the reality of the current situation using architectural drawings, photography and the use of a system to monitor the structure and cracks using the TM30  surveyor  in  addition  to  numbered  glass  rulers.  While  the  second  method  is through  the  preparation  and implementation of an action plan for the maintenance and restoration that relies on the mixture of lime similar to the old mixtures existing in the site after the analysis and the study of the components and characteristics of old mixtures, taking into account the international standards and covenants.

Keywords: vandalism, local community, conservation, Qatraneh fortress, Jordan.


Reem Al Shqour
Andrews University

This paper presents the results of the new archaeological excavations at Khans al-Aqaba, located 350 km south of Amman, in Jordan.  These excavations have revealed that the earliest occupation at Aqaba was in the 9th-12th centuries and that the earliest khan was likely constructed in the second half of the 12th century.  However, the current castle layout most closely reflects the plan of the later Mamluk khan at Aqaba that was originally built ca. 1515.   This Ayyubid khan subsequently underwent several re-buildings and restorations during the Mamluk and later periods until it assumed its present appearance during the last century.  The paper will focus primarily on the Khan of Aqaba during the Mamluk period.  In addition to describing the architectural elements of the khan and their functions and various modifications, I will also discuss the Mamluk and Ottoman Inscriptions, parts of which have been recently revealed, which provide important information on understanding the history of the khan during these periods.

Khalaf Fares Al Tarawneh
Mutah University

The aim of this study is to focus on the methods used to study coins, because understanding these methods and applying them is necessary to extract as much information as possible. Coins are like a field of information, and for more than two thousand and five hundred years they have been an essential part of our civilization, documenting the life cycle of different cultures and civilizations. Coins provide us with official information because they were issued by different authorities and supremacies, not personal issuance and this fact makes them an important source of information. This is why my study of this dirham emerged. The dirham that bears the name of the city of mintage” the al-Ma'mun city soor”, the names of Talha zo-lyameenain and harb bin Issa, and that was dated for the year 200 A.H Under the Caliphate of Caliph al- Ma'mun (198 - 218 ) A.H.

Yosha Alamri
The Jordan Museum

Archaeological  objects are  made  of  different  materials,  and  they  react  to the  same  store/exhibition  environment differently. Organic materials may deteriorate faster and severely under the same circumstances that basalt may survive. 

Very limited experiments have been done so far on the best practice on how dry and high the temperatures should be inside archaeological storages and exhibitions in Jordan. Most of the buildings hosting archaeological exhibitions were either built too long time ago or were built to serve another purpose and later on were converted into archaeological museums. Controlling the environment of a storage or an exhibition 24/7 requires very high resources that are not available for most of institutions. This study conducted on the facilities of the Jordan Museum is measuring the differences in temperature and humidity between the exhibitions and the storage on one hand and the out temperatures and humidity. In addition, this study is focusing also compares between using the silica gel as a humidity controller and the dehumidifier devices in a sealed and un-sealed environment. The questions were: using each of the above techniques, how long time does it take until the desired climate inside the cabinet is reach? How long does it control the environment until it needs a further intervention? How sealed should the cabinet be in order to reach the desired environment, and if this is different or the same when the cabinet is un-sealed? Obtained results will be presented in the coming ICHAJ conference taking place in Florence in January 2019.

Keywords: Archaeological objects StoragesExhibitions, Microenvironment


Julien Aliquot

Abdulqader Al Housan
Department of Antiquities, Jordan,

The excavation carried out in St. John the Baptist’s church in Riḥāb (North-East Jordan) has uncovered an important series of Greek inscriptions. There are two sets of texts. The first group, on mosaic floors, commemorates the laying of pavements in the late sixth and early seventh centuries AD at the expenses of the common fund of the village and at the expenses of the church authorities. It also mentions the names of the rivers of Paradise, the months of the year and the Resurrection. The second group includes a series of epitaphs from the Roman period, engraved on the many blocks reused in the building. All these inscriptions were recently studied within the framework of a close partnership between the Mafraq Branch of the Department of Antiquities and the Jordanian-French team of the ‘Greek and Latin Inscriptions in Jordan’ (‘Inscriptions de la Jordanie’). This paper will show their contribution to our knowledge of the rise of Christianity within a rural community in the civic territory of Bostra in Roman Provincia Arabia.

Keywords: Riḥāb, Greek epigraphy, Roman Provincia Arabia, Bostra, Christianization


Abeer Allahham
Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University

Built environments are the production of the dominant ideologies of their civilizations. Historically, the built environments of the classical age reflect the rational perfectionist ideology of their age; they are characterized by their timeless style that is recurring in most of the classical cities including the Ten Decapolis Cities in the Middle East. They are non-democratic, centralized built environments that reflect the classical power dominance. Likewise, the mediaeval architecture reflects the dominant ideology of the church and its belief in the sacred. The Islamic built environments are of no difference; they reflect the dominant ideology of their civilization and mainly that of Islam. However, Islamic built environments witnessed several  deviations  due to, among other  reasons, the actual political  structure. The paper investigates the impact of the political changes upon the structure of Arab Muslim cities in the Middle East. To link cities' morphology with the political changes in Islamic history, the paper adopts Ibn Khaldun’s interpretation of the Islamic political history, focusing on his theory of the three types of cyclic governments that has successively ruled Muslims. The paper develops a framework that links government-types, principles of rights in the Islamic legal system, decision making process, and accumulation of building experiences through analyzing the decision making process in the garrison towns of al-Basra and al-Kufa, transformed towns such as Damascus and created towns such as Wasit and Samarra. The main ideological characteristics of Islamic built environments will be deducted from the investigation, based on the concepts of power and rights. 

Keywords: Islamic Built Environment, Government type, Decision making process, Power, Rights


Younis Alshdaifat
Mutah University

Zeyad Al Saalmeen
Alhusien Ben Talal University

The authors conducting their first field season of an archaeological and epigraphic survey project in the El-Khderī region that is located in the North-Eastern Jordanian Badia (the Harrah). This region is characterized by the presence of a huge number of Safaitic inscriptions and the lack of permanent settlements. The available archaeological evidence suggests that the region was occupied by pastoral nomads who depended merely on a mobile subsistence pattern. During the first season of explorations that was conducted in El-Khderī more than 2000 Safaitic texts and rock-arts were recorded, 51 archaeological sites, Nabataean inscriptions, Greek inscriptions, early Arabic inscription, early Islamic inscriptions, and a number of pre-historic circular and irregular structures scattered were found and documented. This paper will present the most important results of the survey, specially the new finds of inscriptions, and rock drawings. Many Safaitic texts talking about relations with Nabataeans, an early Arabian inscription were found which is very important in the chain of north Arabic writing development, early Islamic inscription dated to the reign of the Khalifat Hisham Bin Abdelmalik (AH 108), and the amazing find of a ship drawing accompanied with a Safaitic inscription which appear for the first time in the Safaitic drawings

Keywords: Archaeology, Epigraphy, Survey

Amer Alsouliman
University of Ferrara

Water is playing an important role in the past and present in demography and civilizations. It is concentrate around water and shrinking far away from water. Qulban Bni Mura witnessed one of the most important water management systems and strategies in the north west Arabia. the climate change of the mid - Holocene in the north west Aribia during  the transition to the aridity left behind water management systems and strategies. The paleo - environment, paleo - climate and climate changes have been effected on the water resources of the north west Arabia.  This forced the people to establish water management systems and strategies adapt and deal with the extreme environmental conditions and less water in the north west Arabia. The water management systems and strategies was developed through the time, and proved technically to be Compatible with the topography and the geology of the north west Arabia. This contribution is shedding the light on the water management systems and strategies of the chalcolithic pre-oasis culture of the north west Arabia, Furthermore It will clarify and mentions the water use, the land use, geological and hydrological experiences of pre - oasis people which gave them the ability to choose and build the right water management systems referring to the topography and the geology of the area.

Keywords:   mid-   Holocene,   paleoclimate,   water   management,   shepherd   culture,   water   use.   geoarchaeology, hydroarchaeology


Amer Alsouliman
University of Ferrara

April Nowell
University of Victoria 

Carlos E. Cordova
Oklahoma State University

Christopher Ames
University of Wollongong, University of Victoria

James Pokines
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Boston

Daniel Stueber
University of Victoria

Cameron Walker
Oregon Health and Science University

The Levant played an important role in the dispersal of early human populations out of Africa and contributed to the overall Late Pleistocene population dynamics of Syro-Arabian deserts. However, the paleolandscapes of the Paleolithic record in Jordan are not well studied. This paper summarizes the ongoing joint palaeoenvironmental and archaeological research at the Lower and Middle Paleolithic site of Shishan Marsh 1 (SM1) located in the Azraq Oasis in northeast Jordan. Thus far research has focused on environmental reconstruction, faunal remains, lithic technology, blood residues preserved on the lithic artifacts, and site formation processes. Together, the results of these analyses help to better understand the Paleolithic record of Jordan and how it relates to the broader archaeological records of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. We also address the implications of our results for understanding the behavioural and cognitive capabilities of Middle Pleistocene hominins.

Keywords: Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, Paleoenvironment, Fauna, Lithics, Protein Residue, Site Formation, Azraq, Hominin Dispersals


Mohammed Alzahran
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Very little is known about the antiquities of Wadi Khuneizirh. During Burton MacDonald’s survey of the area in 1985-
1986 site number 108, Rujm Khuneizir, was singled-out of interest for the Iron Age II and recommended for excavations, but none has ever taken place. Recently though, rescue excavations conducted by the Department of Antiquities staff from the Southern Ghawrs revealed some astonishing finds: well-built tombs with remarkable funerary goods dating to the Early Bronze Age and Nabataea periods. The Early Bronze Age tombs were shallow (perhaps due to soil erosion), rectangular and built of adobe bricks, funerary architecture hitherto unknown. Human bones were well-preserved and collected. Many pottery vessels helped to date to the burials to the EBII period. Further to the west, and at a much deeper level, over two metres down, were well-preserved shaft burials undercut to the east and covered by adobe bricks and stones like to those found by Politis at Khirbat Qazone in Ghor al-Mazra’a. The bodies were similarly wrapped in textiles and leather body-bags. Although no objects were found in the graves themselves, 1st-2nd century A.D. pottery fragments (including fine Nabataean painted bowls) in their shafts and vicinity helped to date the burials to late Nabataean times. Both these groups of tombs represent unique finds at Wadi Khuneizirah which was not known before. It is therefore imperative to preserve this site and conduct further archaeological investigations and excavations there in order to put these discoveries in cultural and regional context. The Iron Age in the area also needs understanding.

Keywords: Khuneizirah, Southern Ghawrs, Early Bronze Age, Nabataean tombs


Stefano Anastasio 
MiBAC-Superintendency of Florence

There is currently an increasing interest in XIX and early XX century photo-archives dedicated to archaeological subjects. Photo-archives are actually becoming a key tool for research. This is the reason why it is probably the right time for the archaeological community to think about methodology and to define consistent procedures for studying historical photographs. More specifically, it would be useful to share standards and common practices on the systems for publishing data. The present paper deals with a case-study, i.e. the Amman Citadel. A significant group of photographs, taken between the 1860s and the 1930s at this site, allow us to underscore the main research targets that can be reached by studying these documents: historical photographs are fundamental to understand the changes that have occurred over the last 150 years as regards the state of monuments and the surrounding landscape, the provenance of many artefacts and the stratigraphic reading of ancient buildings that still stand today, as well as to acknowledge the existence of modern conservation interventions. Special attention will be paid to a small but significant group of photographs, taken in the early XX century by K.A.C. Creswell at the Amman Citadel. Creswell’s photographs are presently held in several archives, in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, and Egypt. The author will focus on a yet unpublished set of photographs currently held at the Berenson Library of Villa I Tatti in Florence.

Keywords: Historical photographs, Amman Citadel, Islamic architecture

Björn Anderson
The University of Iowa

Digital technologies allow for increasingly immersive engagement with archaeological sites. Photogrammetry, 3D Modeling, and Virtual Reality work together to allow individuals to walk through a site without ever leaving home, allowing artifacts and ideas to flow across borders and around impediments.   Since 2016, and with the support and collaboration of the University of Iowa’s School of Art & Art History, Digital Studio for Public Humanities, and the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, I have focused on developing interactive 3D models of Petra’s monumental tombs and structures. These models are derived from thousands of high-resolution photographs as well as plans and measurements. They are then processed into fully interactive virtual environments. This paper will present examples of this work, focusing on the Siq Camel Relief, Tomb 70, and the Block and Medallion Relief; it will also engage the possibilities that these technologies provide for research and public engagement. They are important documentary tools, and they are also experimental platforms wherein the feasibility alternative reconstructions can be tested. They allow for easy collaboration between scholars around the world, and provide students with an experiential perspective on Petra. These immersive environments are also crucial ways to communicate and preserve Jordan’s cultural heritage to the wider public, especially to those who would not otherwise be able to visit Petra because of financial hardship, physical disability, or political restriction.  These models and virtual experiences may also encourage tourism in Jordan through increasing public exposure.  *I will bring examples and a VR Headset to ICHAJ.

Keywords: Petra, Photogrammetry, 3D Modeling, Virtual Reality, Digital Humanities


Bilal Annan
EPHE/PSL – AOROC/ENS – Université Paris I – IFPO

Funerary portraiture was a widespread phenomenon in the Roman Empire, one that assumed many forms and expressions across provinces and throughout centuries. Funerary portraits and their accompanying epitaphs are indeed among the most eloquent testimonies to ancient lives. In Roman Jordan, more than two hundred funerary portraits are documented from the Early Imperial period in Petra (the Obelisk Tomb, the Turkmāniyyah Tomb, the Urn Tomb, the Soldier Tomb and the Silk Tomb) to the second and third centuries CE in the Decapolis (and particularly in Gadara-Umm Qeis, Gerasa- Jerash, Abila-Qweilbeh, Pella-Tabaqat Faḥl, Capitolias-Beit Ras, Philadelphia-Amman and a number of rural settlements surrounding these cities). Building on the recent research of eminent scholars such as Thomas Weber, Alix Barbet, Robert Wenning, Guntram Koch and Fawzi Zayadine, this paper will seek to illustrate the wide array of formats that was available to patrons (sarcophagi, stelae, frescoes, busts, loculus slabs, reliefs and tomb façades) and the iconographic spectrum used to convey the deceased’s qualities, values, aspirations and social standing (funerary banquet, ‘arm-sling’ pose, portrait bust, ‘philosopher’ costume, conjugal harmony and religious piety). This set of documents will be explored in light of the corpus of funerary portraiture from the Roman Near East (Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia) and the broader Roman world, in an effort to grasp artistic filiations and local idiosyncrasies. Particular attention will also be given to the commemorative and religious purposes of funerary portraits, through an examination of their architectural setting in the tombs.

Keywords: Roman, Portrait, Funerary, Sculpture, Petra, Decapolis


Ignacio Arce
SABE, German-Jordanian University

The Site Museum and Interpretation Centre of al-Hallabat Complex represents, within the context of the long-lasting project of excavation, restoration and presentation of the Hallabat complex, a unique and pioneering experience of presentation and engagement of the local community. Developed on the strategy of the "Heritage for Development Program", it was envisaged to preserve and present the Cultural Heritage, understood not only as a tool for socio-economic development, but also of empowerment of the local communities and for the reinforcement of their identity. This strategy allows the appropriation of the monuments by these local communities, thanks to a thorough understanding of the immaterial values embodied in that Material Cultural remains, thanks to the didactic program implemented in the Interpretation Centre and Site Museum, and which make it meaningful to the visitor and the local community itself. The results achieved represents a model of intervention on the assumption that Heritage preservation is a process and never a result. Accordingly, it must be seen as a sustainable mechanism that must evolve and adapt to the changing necessities of the community and of the preservation itself of the site to become fully meaningful. This paper would present the strategy behind the intervention, the results achieved so far (including the state of the art presentation initiativesimplemented: 3D reconstruction models, didactic videos, musealization of architectural remains, etc), and the projects still to be developed (Augmented reality and virtual immersive experiences, Cooperative development, training of Educators and teachers, transfer of knowledge, etc).

Keywords: Site Museum, Interpretation Centre, Public Archaeology; Heritage for Development program; appropriation of Cultural Heritage and empowerment of local communities; Immersive and augmented reality


Ignacio Arce
SABE, German-Jordanian University

The mere existence of an Architectural Visual Imagery and a Building Culture of the Ghassanids/Jafnids, has been recently denied by some scholars on the basis of an apparent lack of evidences, when should be assumed by any researcher that this is by no means an evidence of absence... This attitude recalls that we find in the early stages of the research on Early Islamic architecture half a century ago, when many Umayyad buildings, lacking dedicatory inscriptions and a thorough analysis and understanding of the material evidence, were often attributed to the Byzantine or to the brief Sassanian occupation of the region. The disparate catalogue of building types, techniques, materials used in their construction, etc., misled some researchers to these conclusions.  Due to similar assumptions, and to a still not fully developed research on this issue, some authors have reached to the aforementioned conclusions, which I intend to challenge, as part of a debate which by no means can be considered closed nor settled. As a result of the research conducted on the last decade on the transitional period between the end of the Roman rule and the advent of Islam (focused on  the  material  culture, and  specifically  on  the  building  techniques,  the  architectural  typology  and  the  physical transformation and change of use of several structures), it has been possible to gather a remarkable amount of information that can be translated into an in-depth knowledge on these issues. This has allowed to establish well founded hypotheses that defy the aforementioned mainstream ideas regarding this debate. The aim of this paper is to present these hypotheses and the material evidence that supports them. These hypotheses have far reaching consequences regarding the understanding of this period and the role played by the Arab elites on the key historical events of this period, and on the image, self-consciousness, and the identity of these elites, closely linked to their geographic and cultural origins in Arabia Felix. 

Keywords: Ghassanid /Jafnid Visual Culture; Architectural imagery; Late antiquity; Arab elites; Umayyads; Yemen and the Levant


Diala Atiyat
Alexandria University

Ali Abu Ghanimeh
University of Jordan

Smart cities promise solutions to sustainable development and a high quality of life with a smart management of city resources, Cultural Heritage considered as an existing resource that should be protected, preserved and promoted to be a part of the components of a Smart City, which is built on economic, tourism, and recreational aspects. The study provides a critical review of Smart Tourism tools by particularly looking into emerging practices of smart heritage policies as exemplar smart cities initiatives. The study will shed light on the international strategies adopted by the smart cities in approving the smart techniques and historical context by the smart tourism tools. The study methodology adopts a mixed approach of qualitative, descriptive, comparative methods. Data collected will be used in the attempt of creating a detailed image of the tools used in the Smart tourism in the Smart City context. The current tendency there is to turn heritage city of Amman into a smart one. Amman city was chosen as a case study to emphasize that heritage is the key to the future development and thus create smart heritage city of Amman in smart tourism context.

Keywords: smart city, smart heritage, smart tourism


Amjad Awad
Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art & Restoration

The purpose of this paper is to show how the archaeologist can extract the maximum possible amount of full information about the chemical composition of some artifacts, and to achieve this it is important to analyze the 3 types of elements (major, minor and trace) from available material by adopt a wide-ranging multidisplinary techniques like: Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES), Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS).

This paper will discuss the principle of work and the experimental procedures for using Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) and Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) in the analysis of archaeological artifacts and the advantages and limitation for them.

This paper also will show why the importance of the extensive use of physical methods arises in comparison with the standard wet chemical methods.

Keywords: OES: Optical Emission Spectroscopy, AAS: Atomic absorption spectroscopy


Margherita Azzari
University of Florence

Chiara Marcotulli
Medieval Petra-Shawbak Project, Florence University

The paper presents some preliminary results of a first archaeological reading of the small villages surrounding the castle of Shawbak (Abū Makhțūb, Al-Juhayyir, Al-Maquairia, A-Mansura, Al-Jāyyah, Bir_Khidad, Shammākh and Șīhān) with the aim of focusing, using both Light and Public Archeology, on the role of the historical-archaeological research in planning an informed and conscious tourist development. Written and archaeological clues, in facts, allow to plausibly hypothesize that the villages could preserve important material evidence of Medieval period: especially Al-Jāyyah could be related to the ruins of the Ayyubid town of Shawbak, built by the heirs of Saladin around 1190s. So, the Italian archaeological Mission “Medieval Petra” is carrying on a systematic study of the villages since 2010, in the occasion of the “Shawbak Tourist Masterplan” project, developed with the Municipality of Shawbak and partly funded by European Union (2010-2015). In the last two archaeological campaigns the investigations focused on implementing the geographical documentation, starting from geo-referencing some important landmarks of the surroundings: hotels, restaurants, mosques, springs, monuments ecc. Moreover, we are working on the systematic analysis of the housing complexes of the Al-Jāyyah village and, accordingly to the methodologies of Light Archeology, we are documenting every building from their typological and topographical features to their building techniques. The study of the historical landscape of Shawbak is important both for better understanding the diachronic settlement dynamics related to the castle and to develop a sustainable tourist communication strategy, for respecting the cultural and social peculiarities of this area.

Keywords: Medieval landscape, Light Archaeology, Rural settlements, Archaeological survey, Geographic survey, Cultural Tourism, Archaeological Tourism, Public Archaeology


Lina Bakkar
Department of Antiquity of Jordan

Jordan has a unique cultural heritage characterized by richness and diversity. According to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, there are more than 100,000 archaeological sites in Jordan, dating back to successive periods and civilizations. In contrast to the ancient treasures of Jordan, which is the nucleus of tourism and civilization, the economic and social benefits is still very limited. This has gone beyond that and has led to the practice of some attacks on archeological sites such as:

•    Throwing waste in the sites.
•    drawing on the walls of the archaeological site.
•    robbery and ruin the Antiquities.

It is necessary to study the causes of these phenomena which led to these attacks, and we should start working on activate
the role of museums to preserve these sites which highlights the identity of the Jordanian society by raising awareness through programs for Jordanians especially:

•    School students
•    Workers in the fields of archeology and tourism
•    local community, especially around archaeological site.

In order to inform them and increase their awareness of the importance of these properties and the importance of preserving them. It is a cultural heritage and a source of income for the Kingdom. So, citizens should be made aware of the importance of dealing with tourists.

•    Organize a training workshops " Representation of the life of the old man, drawing one of the pieces in the museum".
•    Engage students in guiding role.
•    Organizing competitions for students "best article, questions and answers".
•    Narrative the history of Jordan through the museum's collection.
•    Periodical journal and electronic page for museums and sites.
•    Increase awareness of students through morning school radio.
•    A moving Heritage exhibition in the cities.
•    Organize school trips to archaeological sites
•    Involvement of students in excavations models.

Fadi Bala'awi
Queen Rania Faculty of Tourism and Heritage, The Hashemite University

The conception of conserving and managing an archaeological site is usually challenging. These issues become more challenging when dealing with archaeological sites in the scale of the world heritage site of Petra, or The Roman City of Jerash. Condition assessment is a central part of good management practice for stone whether the stone is part of a functioning building, a ruin or an ancient monument. The current paper aims to present a comprehensive scheme that is capable of sitting priorities of conservation work in large heritage sites. The presented scheme is a very effective system in terms of scientific evaluation, cost and time efficiency.  It is mainly based on fieldwork evaluation of the main decay features within studied monuments, structure size, structure decoration and accessibility as well tourism importance. The sachem is a very promising one to be applied in Jordanian heritage site such as Petra and Jerash and other related sites.


Karin Bartl
German Archaeological Institute

The early Neolithic site of Mushash 163 is located near the early Islamic "desert castle" Qasr Mushash and has been the subject of archaeological research since 2014. It is a small settlement with numerous round buildings, of which a total of six units have been completely or partially exposed. In addition to solid buildings of the “semi-subterranean” type, which characterize the older settlement phase, smaller building structures can be found in a somewhat more recent construction phase. The latter have various features that may have a symbolic character. A special complex forms a burial with stone vessel offerings, which was covered with stone slabs and probably was located outside a building. The thirteen 14C data previously available for Mushash 163 consistently show the period between 8800 and 8400 calBC, which means the settlement dates to the end of the PPNA (9800-8600 calBC) and the EPPNB (8600-8200 calBC). The absolute data is also supported by the chipped stone industry, which include numerous Khiam and Helwan points. Various lithic tools from the surface, such as bifacial daggers, show, moreover, that the place was used also later, i.e. in the 8th to the 7th millennium BC. Flora and fauna consist exclusively of wild species. These include pistacia and wild cereals, as well as ovicaprids, cattle and gazelles. Mushash 163 is one of the very few places of the EPPNB in Jordan and is geographically an important link between marginal and optimal zones, i.e. between the eastern Badia and the highlands east of the Jordan valley.

Keywords: Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B/EPPNB; Khiam points, Helwan points, settlement; Badia


Leigh-Ann Bedal
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

The Petra Garden and Pool Complex (PGPC) is laid out on the city’s southern terrace, one component of a palatial complex overlooking the Colonnaded Street. The existence of a monumental pool and ornamental garden in the midst of a desert landscape sent an unambiguous message of prosperity and conspicuous consumption of water in an arid environment. Excavations have uncovered elements of a complex hydraulic system -- stone channels, underground canals, filter basins, cistern, castellum divisorium, and pipelines -- from different stages of the site’s history. How does the chronological sequence of the hydraulic system reflect the evolution of the PGPC from its initial construction at the end of the 1st century BCE through its transition to an agricultural field during the Byzantine period (4th-5th century CE)? What do the additions and alterations to the hydraulic system tell us about the changing nature of the site and its need for water distribution? This paper looks to the ceramic pipelines in the PGPC for insight into these questions. A systematic study of the archaeological context and typology of each of the PGPC pipelines in conjunction with excavated pipelines elsewhere in Petra and its immediate environs proves useful for identifying chronological stages of the PGPC hydrology and its functions. However, the effort to identify a broader regional typology with published pipes from contemporary sites such as Humayma, Legio, Jalame, Casaerea Maritima, Lejjun, and Hippos-Susita proved a challenge, illustrating the nature of ceramic pipe production as a localized industry.

Keywords: Petra, Nabatean, Roman, hydraulics, water


Ueli Bellwald
Petra National Trust 

Surveys and the mapping of Wadi Aglat west of Little Petra from 2010 – 2016 have revealed the existence of an extended winery there. The most frightening feature discovered is a dam with a height 5 m, closing the outlet of Wadi Aglat into Wadi Beidha. The construction of this dam reduced the gradient of the wadi bed, leading to the deposition of the sediments required for the plantation of the vines. The actual topography of Wadi Aglat hence proved to be a completely man-made landscape. After having been backfilled, the area was terraced for the plantation of the vines. In the wadi bed a sequence of 11 terrace barriers dammed up the runoff water to the level of the terraces for irrigating the vines. Two extended presses in the western and the eastern section of the wadi assured an efficient wine making. A farmstead, built on a hill in the center of the western section, was the administrative center of the winery. It may be stated that the winery in Wadi Aglat is the most elaborate model of terrace agriculture in the Petra area and furthermore it bears witness for a long-term planning and investment in the field of agricultural production. The cooperation between the Wadi Aglat research study and the Ba’ja Survey Project of Miami University in 2017 has led to the identification of the entire wine production area in the Petra region during the Nabataean period. Further cooperation with the university L’Orientale at Naples is thought to shed light on the possible origin of the Nabataean know-how of wine making in the region of Mt. Vesuvius.

Keywords: Wine Making, Terrace Agriculture, Man-Made Landscape, Know-How Transfer, Royal Administration of Agricultural Production.


Mohamed Ben Jeddou
College de France, Université Paris 1

Claudine Dauphin
University of Wales, Trinity St David's and CBRL

As an offshoot of the Project “Fallahin and Nomads in the Southern Levant”, which notably examines the impact of roads on population dynamics, literary, archaeological and cartographic data were collated to reconstruct the Mediaeval ‘‘Syrian’’ route, the Darb al-Hajj al-Shami, running from Damascus to Mecca and bisecting Jordan lengthwise (7th-15th centuries). It incorporated stretches of the Iron Age and Nabatean Kings’ Highway and of the Roman Via Nova Traiana. It was subsequently replaced further east into the desert by the Ottoman route (16th-early 20th centuries), probably planned by Sinan, the famous architect of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent as a global project of civil engineering (road, bridges and forts) with strategic aims, also shared by the Hijaz Railway (1910-1918). The two roads were followed in 2014 and 2016, from Ramtha on the Syrian border southwards to Mudawwara on the Saudi Arabian frontier (425 kms), section by section, between historically-attested stopovers. Using RAF aerial photographs of 1953, and applying British methods of Historic Landscape recording and interpretation, access from the main Hajj road or by secondary paths was plotted, the extent of each of the six Mediaeval and twelve Ottoman camps determined, their limits defined and main features recorded (hearths, traces of tents, enclosures for the thousands of camels, donkeys, mules and horses of the Hajj caravan, cisterns), with the aim of reconstructing the moulding of the natural landscapes of Hajj pilgrim resting-places in Jordan into “sacred landscapes” viewed holistically - à First in Islamic Landscape Archaeology.

Keywords: Darb al-Hajj, pilgrim, encampment, Mediaeval, Ottoman.


Kathleen Bennallack
University of California, San Diego

Since the 1990s research on the later Neolithic and early Chalcolithic of the southern Levant, and of Jordan in particular, has surged forward; previously undocumented regions now have ongoing research projects, and older research is being reevaluated. Perceptions that in late prehistory, Jordan was either mostly empty or just a lesser, more backward copy of the more “advanced” peoples in Syria are looking more and more like an artefact of research history rather than an accurate understanding of the region at the time. Research in locales that are now arid or underwater is revealing that we have heretofore had a very incomplete picture. Because so much of this knowledge is recent, and because modern nation- state borders and geopolitical upheaval often make cross-border projects tricky if not impossible, much of this new research exists in isolation from its fellows; though researchers of course often know of other projects, synthesizing what this all might mean in aggregate has been difficult. This paper will also include a brief mention of some of the major new insights from southern Levantine and northern Arabian late prehistoric archaeology, and how they have changed our perceptions of the period in Jordan. It will then propose some possibilities for a more integrated way forward, including connectivities and disconnectivities; not only vis-a-vis how we conceive of the peoples and materiality of the Late Neolithic of the entire Southern Levant, but for how we the archaeologists who study them communicate with one another, as well.


Robert Bewley
School of Archaeology, University of Oxford

Bijan Rouhani
School of Archaeology, University of Oxford

Azadeh Vafadari
Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA), Department of Archaeology, Durham University, Science Site, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK

This paper will introduce the ‘Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa’ (EAMENA) project, funded by the Arcadia and the Cultural Protection Funds (CPF) to document archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa and assess the threats to them.  It is a partnership between the Universities of Oxford, Leicester, and Durham, established in 2015.

A significant element of the project is to transfer the knowledge and skills through a training programme for 140 archaeologists from Jordan, Palestine and five other countries; over 40 Jordanians and Palestinians, mainly staff of the antiquities services and research centres are being trained. The trainees learn the EAMENA methodology for interpreting satellite imagery, using the EAMENA database developed and assessing the risks to, and condition of, the sites discovered. This paper will explore the approach, the success and feedback from the training courses so far undertaken. In particular it will analyse the success of the condition of grant that each trainee has to create 100 (new) archaeological records on the EAMENA database, before they can obtain their certificates. The trainees have selected different study areas for site recording and monitoring, in different archaeological contexts, to examine the multiple types of threats and disturbances affecting each area; and this included field visits as well. The results of this work and documentation will help improve our understanding of each site with a view improving the site preservation, management and presentation. The paper will conclude with next steps for this project, including discussions about national heritage inventories.

Keywords:Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa, satellite imagery, threats, documentation, training, database, inventory


Davide Bianchi
Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Universität Wien

The aim of this paper is to analyze the general lines of a new oriented topographic survey of the Nebo hermitages, integrating the data of the previous mapping performed by the archaeologists of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. The area of Nebo is well defined in written sources as a monastic landscape. Indeed, in addition to the large coenobium, located on the top of Ras Siyâgha, there are many cells carved into the rocky slopes of the mountain. These hermitages were conceived as places to escape the temptations of the city in search of the Christian Hesychia, in union with God and in harmony with the creation. During the fourth century CE, this form of spiritual retreatment spread widely along the banks of the river Jordan, where monks began to develop small monastic structures adapting this landscape to their specific needs.

The main goal is therefore the understanding of the landscape as a physical environment in the context of human behavior. It will be possible not only to reflect on the genesis of these structures, but also on their spatial location, internal organization (i.e. articulation of the rooms, disposition of the facilities), interactions with rural villages and the mutual 

relations with the other coenobitic structures of Jordan. Finally, it will be possible to understand the aspect of their occupation after the transition to the rule of the Umayyad caliphs and the spiritual crisis within the monastic communities as well as how the tradition of hermitic retreatment continued into the Islamic Era.

Keywords: Ascetic Tradition, Hermitage, Monasticism, Landscape Archaeology, Islamic Transition.


Jeannette Boertien
University of Groningen

Soft chalkstone vessels first appear in the archaeological record of the Levant during the second half of the first century BC and continued widespread popularity until the mid-first century CE. They were not used any more after the mid- second century.
Chalkstone vessels have been found at over 250 sites throughout Israel and Jordan.
The vessels were hand-cut or lathe-turned, both of which technics allowed for mass production. Workshops have been found in the vicinity of Jerusalem, in Galilee and also in the Golan.
In Jordan such vessels are known from Machaerus, Tell Abu Sarbut and Tell Zera’a.
Tell Abu Sarbut was a small settlement situated in the Jordan Valley. It was inhabited in the Early Roman, the Abbasid and the Mamluk periods.

Here 152 fragments of chalkstone vessels have been excavated from different stratigraphical contexts. Early Roman chalkstone vessel fragments were found in the make-up of Abbassid floor layers, and complete and near complete vessels were excavated from the Early Roman layers.

In this paper I will discuss the stratigraphical contexts in which these vessels have been found, and the implications of the Abu Sarbut repertoire for the study of chalkstone vessels in the Southern Levant.

Keywords: 1. Chalkstone vessels, 2. Early Roman stone vessels, 3. Stratigraphy, 4. Abbasid floor structures, 5. Perea


David Boyer
The University of Western Australia

The Jarash Water Project is an interdisciplinary study investigating the various components of the water management system to the Decapolis city of Gerasa and its hinterland in the Classical period. The paper describes the main water storage installations inside and outside the city in the context of the known water supply network and the present state of archaeological knowledge, and presents a rationale to explain their distribution and function.
The study distinguishes between installations that stored rainfall runoff (cisterns) from those that stored water sourced from springs (basins and reservoirs). The concentration of major springs in the Jarash valley means that spring-fed and associated offtake storages are essentially confined to this valley. Reservoirs are uncommon, with the largest (Birketein) located outside the city. Around 5,000 m3 of reservoir and basin water storage capacity has been identified within the city, although it is likely that additional installations lie hidden in unexcavated areas.
The terrain and geology favours bedrock rainwater harvesting, which would have been replaced by roof-top runoff as the area became urbanised. Runoff from public buildings and spaces was also a substantial potential resource within the city, but there is little evidence that it was fully utilised. The largest cisterns identified in the study stored bedrock runoff from the summit of a hill at Bab Amman 1 km south of the city.

The notable lack of provision for long-term storage is interpreted to mean that this provision was unnecessary owing to the adequacy and reliability of the available spring-fed supplies.

Keywords: Gerasa, water system management, cistern, reservoir, basin


Claudia Bührig
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut 

The German Archaeological Institute is conducting archaeological research and a survey around the ancient city of Gadara, Umm Qays. Research in recent years at Gadara were characterised by clarifying the development of the Hellenistic-Roman city. By observing the cityscape, the attention was directed towards the settlement history and to find new insights into the transformation process of the ancient city Gadara and especially its surroundings hinterland. The paper is dealing with the history of settlement and usage of Gadara - starting with the Hellenistic fortress - and it’s surroundings in the classical period. The initial aim is to investigate the surrounding landscape of the ancient city of Gadara, and to identify settlement structures or technical and agricultural installations in the surrounding. The new research in the hinterland of Gadara and inside the Hellenistic fortress addresses and emphasizes essential questions that pertain to the generation and utilization of urban space and its natural and historical-political conditions.

Keywords: Gadara, Urbanization, Settlement Dynamics, Interrelations, transformation process


Claudia Bührig
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut

Frank Andraschko
Universiy of Hamburg

Building researchers and experimental archaeologists have started activities in the area of cultural mediation for the local community as well as for the promotion of sustainable cultural and natural tourism. They developed an unprecedented imparting program which connects nature-conservation and monument-protection in Gadara/Umm Qays. The major local target audience of the project are children/young adults. By learning about their region´s history, they become sensitised to their own cultural and natural heritage. The projects were realised in very close cooperation with local partners from Umm Qays. Due to the exceedingly positive experiences, in the years ahead an education programme to impart knowledge about the rich cultural heritage of the entire region will be developed from this in very close collaborations. At the same time, it is also planned to look after the preservation of the considerable monument substance of Gadara. For this purpose, a training programme for local craftsmen is being established, in which techniques in traditional stonemasonry are trained with German experts. The aim is to cautiously build up a pool of knowledge and practical experience. This paper summarises activities in the field of communication and preservation of the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region. The idea is: Strengthening the local intangible cultural heritage, for example stonemasonry, will finally prove beneficial to the tangible cultural heritage as well.

Keywords: capacity building1, education programme 2, Awareness for children 3, cultural and natural heritage 4, tangible and intangible heritage 5

Julia Burdajewicz
University of Warsaw

Fragments of painted plaster are a relatively common finding in Byzantine structures, especially in churches, yet they rarely spark interest among scholars, as they usually survive in poor condition and are considered inferior in quality to their Roman-period predecessors. While their simpler technique of execution is indeed apparent, it is rarely subject to technical investigations. As a result, our understanding of the changes which occurred in the craft of wall painting between the Roman and the Byzantine period is limited. This paper presents a part of a research project on characteristics of the technique of execution of Byzantine wall paintings, understood as both the substrate layers (mortars and plasters), and the paint layers (pigments and media), coming from a number of sites in Arabia, Palaestina, and Phoenicia. In Jordan, the investigated sites include Abila, Deir ‘Ain Abata, Gadara, Gerasa, and Umm er-Rasas. The analyses of samples of mortars, plasters, and pigments from sites covered by the project allow to propose a general characterization of Byzantine wall paintings, to pinpoint local variations in means and materials, and to compare their technique of execution with murals from the heyday of Roman art. To illustrate the latter point, a comparison is made between the execution of wall paintings pertaining to different periods yet coming from the same site, namely from the Sanctuary of Zeus and from the Propylaea church in Gerasa. The technical study relied on macroscopic observation of fragments of the paintings, as well as on analytical methods such as optical microscopy, petrographic thin sections, SEM-EDS, and LC-MS.

Keywords: wall painting, technical studies, plaster, mortar, pigments.


Eloisa Casadei
La Sapienza, Università di Roma

Alessandra Caselli
La Sapienza, Università di Roma

Valentin Alvarez
Martinez Joaquin
Garcìa del Rìo

The paper will present the preliminary results concerning the study of pottery and lithic tools discovered by the Spanish- Italian expedition at the Early Bronze Age I settlement of Jebel al- Mutawwaq. The distribution of the different types of objects and vessels in the several quarters of the settlement - both in private and public areas - will be used to reconstruct the functional attribution of the artifacts and their meanings for the life of the Jebel al- Mutawwaq village. Concerning the flint tools, objects coming from the settlement are mainly made of small scrapers and blades. Large tabular scrapers characterized by an extremely careful manufacture are not frequent in the site and probably embodied a ceremonial function. The EB I ceramic repertoire comprehend mostly handmade, plain ware, with a limited range of applied and painted decoration. The relative distribution of table, storage and cooking ware in the different quarters of the site helps in identifying a first attempt of an intra-site functional specialization. Thus, the analysis of the findings in relation with their location, and in particular in selected public areas such as the Temple of the Serpents, will be useful for the interpretation of the economic activities performed by the Early Bronze Age I community.

Keywords: Jebel al-Mutawwaq, Lithic, Pottery, Functions, Economy.


Elena Casalini
Università degli Studi di Firenze-SAGAS

Islamic glass disk weights are common through museums’ and private collections, although they are usually linked to Egypt due to their provenience or because they bear the finance directors names knowned to be active in Egypt. Egyptian glass weights have been largely studied, and offered a starting point for studies on the Syrian ones, while jordanian territory is yet to be investigated. Their use is broad and their interpretation not always certain, having usually lost their originally context: coin weights or monetary substitutes for copper and low-value currency, and later re-used tokens. Aim of this study is to analyse the origin, possible use, historical context and economic significance in exchange politics of a glass disk weight fragment from the excavation of the CF 35 in Shawbak1 castle, a great vaulted structure, built by crusaders and reused by ayyubids, located in the "monumental" area of the castle. It comes from the most recent layer, a thick level of sand and clay, covering the whole excavation area and dating to the abandon period. The item bears part of an inscription and a central design, it is therefore possible to establish a link to official coinage and patronage, and to deepen the knowledge of political and economic interaction of such a crucial area.

Keywords: Islamic Glass; Medieval Archaeology; Cultural Heritage


Giorgia Cesaro
UNESCO Amman Office 

Giuseppe Delmonaco
ISPRA - Geological Survey of Italy

Monther Jamhawi
Jordan University of Science and Technology

Suleiman Farajat
Petra Development & Tourism Region Authority

Tahani Salhi
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Hanadi Al Taher
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Hasan Lawamah
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Khaled Amryyin
Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority

Petra is one of the world’s richest and largest archaeological sites set in a dominating red sandstone landscape, inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1985. The 'Siq' is a 1.2km, naturally formed gorge that snakes through the sandstone cliffs, serving as the main entrance to the site. Due to its unique geological and cultural landscape, the 'Siq' is one of Petra’s most endangered areas, in which natural risks pose a major threat to the cultural heritage and the visitors. Preserving Petra’s Outstanding Universal Value for which the site has been inscribed in the World Heritage List, is one of the corporate UNESCO priorities for culture actions in Jordan. The UNESCO Office in Amman in partnership with the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan has therefore engaged in the multi-year "Siq Stability" project aimed at assessing, managing and mitigating natural hazards through the implementation of risk mitigation interventions in the 'Siq'. The project, currently in its third phase of implementation, aims to apply mitigation measures in priority areas identified as most hazardous – based on feasibility study 2017 - by targeting specifically blocks of medium- large dimensions. This paper aims at describing the activities carried out and the results achieved during the implementation of the pioneering slope consolidation works undertaken in 2018. Emphasis will be placed on the collective efforts for the implementation of the activity, the low visual impact approach adopted and the sustainability of the intervention through the engagement of the local community.

Keywords: Petra, World Heritage Site, slope instability, consolidation works

University of Lyon, CNRS, Archéorient

Stefan L. Smith
University of Gent

The Harra, or “Black Desert”, of north-eastern Jordan, is characterised by low levels of precipitation and access difficulties due to the dense scatter of basalt rocks over its entire surface. However, archaeological investigations over the last few decades, and in particular the last few years, have identified a prehistoric site preservation of an almost unparalleled density in the Middle East. Started in 2015, the “Western Harra Survey”, located north-east of the Azraq basin, is one such project. Its intent is to address the overall patterns of settlement and nomadism in the region through the study of the prehistoric occupation and landscape of the western edges and interior of the Harra. The results of the first few seasons provided a wealth of data that allow some preliminary interpretations to be made from the investigation of prehistoric structures, their material remains, “off-site” features, and geographical observations. These include the analysis of numerous sites and subsets of their lithic material, potential links to raw chert material sources, and a typological seriation of the morphology of sites known as “wheels”, which are linked to different site uses and/or different periods of occupation. This paper will disseminate these results within the framework of the associated remote sensing investigation and mapping of the area under study.

Keywords: Black Desert, Late Prehistory, Survey, Landscape archaeology, Mobility


Meredith S. Chesson
University of Notre Dame

Numayra’s excellent preservation offers a unique opportunity to explore how people crafted homes from their houses in some of the region’s earliest fortified towns. Houses provide more than shelter from the elements; they are socially conditioned places that transcend space, time, and status: they are Homes. Homes are a dynamic type of material culture that people create for themselves in a series of decisions involving the availability and desirability of construction and decorative materials (Glassie 1975, 2001). Throughout time and across space, people have decided how, where, and what to use to build and equip their homes, and these intricate decisions were (and continue to be) influenced by economic, political, religious and social networks, beliefs, worldviews, and differential access to local and non-local resources. Approaching EB III Numayra (c. 2850-2550 BC cal) through the lens of homemaking integrates the more comfortable archaeological analyses of built environment, craft production, consumption, storage, activity areas, and landscapes, with an appreciation for the materiality of daily life in early fortified communities of the third millennium BCE.

Keywords: Early Bronze Age; Household Archaeology; Fortified Town; Materiality


Douglas R. Clark
La Sierra University

Suzanne Richard
Gannon University

Andrea Polcaro
University of Perugia

Marta D’Andrea
La Sapienza, Università di Roma

Basem Mahamid
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

The Madaba Regional Archaeological Museum Project (MRAMP) represents an international American-Italian- Jordanian initiative dedicated to establishing a new regional archaeological museum in Madaba, Jordan, supported in part by ASOR and USAID/SCHEP/ACOR. In order to protect, preserve, and present Jordan’s cultural heritage, the museum will showcase artifacts from over a dozen archaeological projects in the region which represent pre-historical through modern sites and remains. Since 2015, MRAMP has launched three field seasons (May 2016, 2017, and 2018) and maintained an active year-round working presence on site during 2017 and part of 2018, all in the quest to clean and prepare a portion of the Madaba Archaeological Park West currently occupied by a late Ottoman-period settlement, which will become the ground floor of the new museum. Working with Italian architects of Studio Strati in Rome, as well as architecture students from three Jordanian universities, and others, the MRAMP team facilitated the development of architectural plans. In the process, MRAMP has engaged wide segments of local, regional, national, and international stakeholder communities who have contributed to MRAMP’s quest to provide a complete and comprehensive narrative of the Madaba region’s illustrious past, while creating numerous positive impacts on the community and its economy. The project has been educating and training the local community in a wide range of employable areas/disciplines, such as consolidation, preservation, construction, architectural skills, curation, and a plethora of archaeological, museum, and management skills, all in order to ensure the development, continued growth, and sustainability of this new museum endeavor.

Keywords: Madaba, museum, community archaeology, architecture, conservation


Geoffrey A. Clark
Arizona State University (SHESC/IHO)

Deploying a novel methodology based on Bayesian statistics, this paper uses the incidence of retouched stone artifacts to assess the relative degree of mobility and duration of site occupation characteristic of Stone Age hunter-gatherers in west- central Jordan based on one hundred and fifteen 250 x 250 m2 random sample units from the Shammakh-to-Ayl Archaeological Survey (MacDonald et al., 2016). The incidence of retouch offers a measure of residential stability, or lack thereof, and the incidence of retouch scaled to artifact density will give some indication of the relative importance of curated and expedient assemblages. A higher incidence of retouch indicates greater residential mobility, smaller groups, shorter duration of site occupation, low lithic densities, and many retouched pieces relative to the amount of débitage. This configuration is expected to occur during dry periods when resources were ‘patchy’, irregularly distributed in the landscape, and less predictable in terms of location. These assemblages are usually referred to as ‘curated.’ Conversely, a high incidence of cores and débitage coupled with a low incidence of retouched pieces indicates a reduced need for conserving behaviors, greater residential stability, a longer duration of site occupation, and larger groups during wet periods when resource distributions are more predictable and when the locations of raw material sources are known and can be stockpiled in anticipation of future needs. Assemblages with these characteristics are usually referred to as ‘expedient.’ Data from five subdivisions of the Paleolithic are cross-classified against three environmental zones with particular phytogeographic (hence, resource) characteristics. Results indicate a complex pattern of mobility shifts over the past 1.5 million years in which alterations between mesic and xeric climatic regimes appear to be the most important factor driving changes in site types and distributions.


MacDonald, B., Clark, G.A., Herr, L.G., Quaintance, D.S., Hayajneh, H., Eggler, J. 2016. The Shammakh-to-Ayl
Archaeological Survey, Southern Jordan (2010-2012). Boston: American Schools of Archaeological Research.

Chiara A. Corbino
University of Florence

Paul Mazza
University of Florence

In the last decade, a number of zooarchaeological assemblages dated to the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods have been analyzed in central and southern Jordan. There is now a considerable corpus of data on everyday life in the Middle Islamic period. This research is based on the study of animal remains from Al-Wu’ayra, Shobak, Karak, and Tall Hisban, which have been directly analyzed by the authors, as well as on published results from Wadi Farasa, Dhiban, and Aqaba. The faunal assemblages are fairly diversified and show peculiarities related to the natural environment surrounding the sites. Overall, the results show that the inhabitants of the sites relied mainly on sheep/goats, followed by chicken. Pack animals, such as camels and donkeys, were rarely used as a source of food. The occurrence of wild animals, mainly gazelle, is related to the social status of the inhabitants; these taxa contributed only occasionally to the everyday meals. Age profiles and pathologies of sheep/goats indicate that separate flocks of animals were probably reared for the upper class. They were likely raised and butchered outside the settlements. This study aims to investigate human-animal interactions during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. The results obtained not only provide a picture of the local daily life, but also an insight into the management of animals and landscape in Middle Islamic Jordan.

Keywords: Zooarchaeology, animal husbandry, hunting, Ayyubid, Mamluk


Marta D’Andrea,
La Sapienza, Università di Roma

Jesse C. Long
Lubbock Christian University

Suzanne Richard
Gannon University

Khirbat Iskandar, in central Jordan, is known particularly for the EB IV period (ca. 2500-1950 BC), represented by multiple-phase stratigraphic sequences excavated in Area B (Phases B-A) and Area C (Phases 1-3). They show continuous sedentary occupation, social complexity, cultic activities, and crafts at the site, challenging pastoral nomadic theories concerning the end of the Early Bronze Age in the southern Levant, emphasizing instead continuity with antecedent urbanizing (EB II-III) traditions. In 2016, the team excavated a larger exposure of the Early Bronze II-III layers in Area B and re-excavated the three-phase Early Bronze IV sequence in Area C.  For example, in Area B the phase preceding the destroyed final EB III settlement revealed an area of activities (hearths and tabun) quite distinct from the overlying occupational pattern. Re-excavation and further horizontal exposure of a three-phase Early Bronze IV sequence in Area C (the gateway) was likewise illuminating.  Although further radiometric analysis is needed, particularly to determine more precise dates for the EB IV levels, some preliminary results, in combination with ceramics from multiple EBA phases in Area B, allow us to clarify and reconstruct the history of settlement at Khirbat Iskandar, as excavated so far. When did the crisis of the Early Bronze II-III urban settlement at Khirbat Iskandar occur and what was the site’s response? How did climate changes affect patterns of human occupation at the site?  The paper seeks to answer these compelling questions by using fresh data from the last excavation campaigns at Khirbat Iskandar.

Keywords: Khirbat Iskandar, Early Bronze Age, urbanism, collapse, regeneration.


Rocío Da Riva
Department of History and Archaeology, University of Barcelona

In the 6th century BCE, Neo-Babylonian imperial expansion towards the West reached southern Jordan. King Nabonidus' military campaigns to Arabia and his long stay at the oasis of Tayma in the Hijaz are closely linked to his warlike activities in the area of historical Edom. Witness to these activities is the impressive cuneiform relief at Sela (Tafila) where the monarch is represented with the symbols of the three main astral deities of Babylonia near a carved cuneiform inscription. Located at 120 m above the level of the wadi, the difficulty in reaching the monument bears witness to the technical challenges met by the ancient artisans and scribes. In this paper we would like to present the results of our investigation on the monument in which we used a combination of climbing techniques and archaeological photography in order to address problems posed by cuneiform epigraphic studies.

Keywords: Iron Age, Edom, Rock-inscription, Babylonia, Empires.


Claudine Dauphin
University of Wales, Trinity St David's and CBRL

Mohamed Ben Jeddou
CNRS-Collège de France-Université Paris-I

Umm ar-Rasas, a Unesco World Heritage site in the semi-arid steppe of Jordan, developed from the Late Roman cavalry military camp of Kastron Mefaa, into the civilian, double, walled town of Byzantine Mefaa with 16 churches and a stylite’s tower. What was its economic basis?By comparing and combining data from old British RAF aerial photographs, with satellite imagery, and field-checks, the agricultural landscape of the lands of Mefaa at its heyday in the 5th and 6th centuries was recaptured. The complex system of four major wadis and their tributaries, walled-in lengthwise and bridged by a succession of dams, totalled 658 plots of varying sizes and shapes inside the wadis, and another 68 plots edging some segments of wadis. The data from the fields of the agricultural wadis were put through a set of GIS statistical and spatial analyses in order to discover the significant variables in the original creation and subsequent organic development of the system. The depiction of Mother Earth Gê, ploughs, fruit trees, and vines on the mosaic pavements of the churches of Mefaa, and the discovery of wine and olive presses, provide the reasons for the spider-web system of paths leading to the fields of wheat and barley, and to the orchards, olive groves and vineyards of a most bountiful agricultural territory. The lands of Umm ar-Rasas were declared in March 2018 “A Protected Ancient Landscape” by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan - a First for the archaeology of the Middle East.

Keywords: Landscape, GIS, Byzantine, agricultural wadis


P. M. Michèle Daviau
Wilfrid Laurier University

In the past, our knowledge of Moabite culture was confined to information contained in Hebrew texts and the Mesha Inscription (Dearman, ed. 1989), along with the initial results from regional surveys and a small number of excavations at Iron Age sites. These sources yielded a rather homogenous view of Moabite culture. However, the discovery, excavation and publication of a wayside shrine in Northern Moab revealed a complex assemblage of pottery and artifacts reflective of diverse cultures, many of which cannot now be related to known textual information. More recently, excavation at the town site of Khirbat al-Mudayna on the Wadi ath-Thamad has yielded dozens of unique Iron Age figurines and statues whose cultural affinities have yet to be fully explained. This paper is an investigation of these objects in an attempt to understand the cultural influences at play in the town of Mudayna and their implication for the history of the site and the interactions of peoples in the region.


Giovanna De Palma
ISCR – Istituto Superiore Conservazione e Restauro

Marie José Mano
ISCR – Istituto Superiore Conservazione e Restauro

Giorgio Sobrà
ISCR – Istituto Superiore Conservazione e Restauro

Qusayr ‘Amra main building consists in a magnificent bathhouse built between 723 and 743 for the Umayyad élite as part of a broader settlement complex. The uniqueness of this site, where the largest cycle of early Islamic mural paintings is preserved, has been confirmed by its inscription in 1985 within the four World Heritage List sites in Jordan. The cycle is the result of commingling different iconographic traditions: from the Hellenistic-Roman to the Jewish, to the proper Islamic one which was then emerging.

Since 2010, an Italian team from the Higher Institute for the Conservation and Restoration (ISCR) is carrying on a large scale intervention on the Building’s structures and decorations. Besides being a moment of methodological reflection on the international standards in conservation for such artifacts, the restoration works has allowed a deepening of knowledge. The subject of this paper will be the results of the last campaigns in terms of knowledge on early Islamic mural paintings’ materials and techniques, as well as of update on the interpretation of the cycle’s iconography and on the bathhouse function within the Umayyad palatial settlements.


Bert de Vries 
Calvin College

Muaffaq Hazza
Alal-Bayt University

Dana Al Farraj
Jordan University of Science and Technology

Mais Al Haddad

Jehad Suleiman
Al al-Bayt University, Umm el-Jimal, Mafraq, Jordan,

Jordan is a young country in the modern sense, but with a deep past in the archaeological sense. In communities the daily routines of family, mosque and employment, overshadowed by an influx of global ideas and habits from popular social media. Ironically, the deep archaeological past plays a minuscule role in popular self-awareness, even in places like Umm el-Jimal, where spectacular ruins dominate public spaces. It is the goal of this paper to analyze this gap and suggest integrative solutions, with focus on Umm el-Jimal. We treat this question at two levels, first at the level of intellectual and historical understanding and second at the level the built environment. Spaces of the mind. A result of archaeological research is new understanding that places like Umm el-Jimal are not merely Nabataean-Roman-Byzantine sites, but instead also continuously occupied from the Umayyad to the late/Ottoman periods; i.e., Umm el-Jimal is also a site of Islamic history. This means that the built environment of Islamic heritage known from great historic cities like Damascus, also includes many archaeological sites across Jordan. Spaces on the Ground. Working with municipality and community we have consciously created a bridging architectural environment: Spaces on the site are planned for community as well as tourist use; e.g., the Interpretive and Hospitality Center. Boundary spaces have received an integrative treatment; e. g. the southern community entry traffic circle monuments and the West Entry Park. Conclusion: Harmonizing community and antiquity enhances the peaceable nature of Jordan’s civil society.

Keywords: 1. Peace, 2. Spaces of the Mind, 3. Spaces on the Ground, 4. Islamic History, 5. Islamic Archaeology


Marco Dehner
Humboldt University, Berlin

In course of the ongoing North-Eastern Petra Project (NEPP), conducted by the Humboldt University Berlin, a large architectural, palatial-type complex is being investigated and a large number of architectural artifacts were documented. In recent years, this material was an integral part of newly conducted research analyzing the architecture and architectural decoration of freestanding buildings in Petra. In this paper I would like to discuss the question of construction methods and techniques that were used by the Nabataeans. Often discussed on the basis of the well-known rock-cut façades, this topic shall be reviewed this time by analyzing new evidence from the NEPP. In general, the Nabataeans used the naturally occurring  sandstone  as  building  material.  It  has  specific  characteristics,  which  have a  significant  impact  on  the construction  methods and  techniques used  in  Petra.  Clearly  visible  geometric  patterns  on  the  surface  of  several architectural components indicate a systematic approach for preparing architectural elements before they were incorporated into the building. Particularly, such evidence can be found on the upper and lower surfaces of Nabataean capitals. These construction lines allow to discern different steps in the process of manufacturing the architectural components, from the quarry to the stonemason and its final use. Based on the evidence it is also possible to re-evaluate general questions regarding the construction techniques, e.g. the influence of the building material on the construction techniques, the use of different sandstone for various architectural components and, therefore, the dependency of the composition of architectural decoration on the material and manufacturing processes.

Keywords: Petra, architecture, freestanding buildings, construction techniques, Nabataean capital.


Giuseppe Delmonaco
ISPRA - Geological Survey of Italy

Monther Jamhawi
Jordan University of Science and Technology

Asma Shhaltroug
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

The Castle of Karak, built in the Crusaiders period between 1136 and 1142, is located in the west border of the old city, upon a narrow ridge, oriented N-S at ca. 1,035 m a.s.l.
According to historical and recent sources, the castle was affected by structural damage caused by the large earthquake of 1927. After slope consolidation works executed in the east slope in the mid ‘90s, the western side was affected in 2013 by extensive and large cracks interesting the outer walls, the lower court and the museum area due to slope instability involving the upper sector of the slope. Due to structural damage, urgent measures were adopted such as the closure of the lower court and museum to the public and a monitoring system was installed to measure the cracks deformation. In 2015, the Department of Antiquities of Jordan promoted a geophysical and geotechnical investigation to reconstruct the causes of the slope deformation and structural damage. An action plan was presented with a set of urgent measures to be implemented  to  mitigate  the  effects of  slope  instability,  mainly  caused  by  uncontrolled  surface  water  and  poor geotechnical  conditions of  the terrains  in the west slope area. Slope consolidation  works of the  west  slope and rehabilitation of the ancient superficial drainage system were implemented in 2017 as preventative measure to undertake further structural consolidation of the damaged portions of the castle. The main results of the study, rehabilitation and consolidation works are presented in the present paper.

Keywords: Karak Castle, structural damage, slope instability, consolidation works


Pierre Drap
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Odile Papini
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Mohamed Ben Ellefi
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Djamel Merad
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Mohamad Motasem Nawaf
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Jean-Philip Royer
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Mauro Saccone
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ENSAM, Université De Toulon

Elisa Pruno
SAGAS Department, University of Florence

Micchele Nucciotti
SAGAS Department, University of Florence

Guido Vannini 

This paper presents certain reflections concerning an interdisciplinary project between medieval archaeologists from the University of Florence (Italy) and computer science researchers from CNRS, National Center for Scientific Research, (France), aiming towards a connection between 3D spatial representation and archaeological knowledge. The main “object” of our research is the castle of Shawbak, where we try to develop an integrated system for archaeological 3D survey and all other types of archaeological data and knowledge by incorporating observable (material) and non-graphic (interpretive) data. 3D survey is crucial, allowing archaeologists to connect actual spatial assets to the stratigraphic formation processes (i.e., to the archaeological time) and to translate spatial observations into historical interpretation of the site. We propose a common formalism for describing photogrammetric survey and archaeological knowledge stemming from ontologies: indeed, ontologies are fully used to model and store 3D data and archaeological knowledge. We equip this formalism with a qualitative representation of time, starting from archaeological stratigraphy. Stratigraphic analyses (both of excavated deposits and of upstanding structures) are closely related to Edward Cecil Harris’s theory of the “Unit of Stratigraphication”. However, the limitations of the Harris matrix approach led us to use another formalism for representing stratigraphic relationships, namely Qualitative Constraints Networks (QCN), which was successfully used in the domain of knowledge representation and reasoning in artificial intelligence for representing temporal relations. The second main aspect of this project presented in this paper is the link with 3D visualization. As the full process if developing on a 3D approach based on photogrammetry since more than 10 years all the results are available in a 3D interface using full VR tools. The 3D models coming from photogrammetry but also the measured archaeological concepts as Stratigraphic Unit, ashlar blocs and semantic links between them are visible and queryable through a VR tool implemented in JAVA using JMonkey game Engine and HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System.


Caroline Durand
CNRS – UMR 5189, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, Lyon

Yvonne Gerber
Departement Altertumswissenschaften, Klassische Archäologie, University of Basel

Since 2008, the French-Saudi Archaeological Project of Hegra/Madā’in Sālih (NW Arabia) investigates this major Nabataean site, known to have been one of the most important cities of the kingdom after Petra. Excavations revealed that human occupation in Hegra began several centuries before the Nabataean settlement. This paper aims to examine the settling process through pottery finds, in particular through Petra imports and local “Nabataean” productions. “Nabataean” pottery is found in the monumental tombs, in the residential area, and in the Jabal Ithlib area which seems to have been occupied exclusively during the Nabataean phase and devoted to ritual meetings. During the whole Nabataean period, from the early 1st c. BCE to the late 1st c./early 2nd c. CE, Petra imports are present in all assemblages, but always in rather small amount. These Petra imports seem to end with the Roman annexation of the kingdom in 106 CE. However, at the end of the 1st c. BCE, the apparition of a specific painted fine ware production, yet unknown in Petra, can be observed. It is characterized by a simple decorative pattern, so-called “2 red lines” type (Durand, Gerber 2014). This new type may be interpreted as a reflection of the settling by a Nabataean population group in Hegra, probably coming from Petra. Contrary to the evolution of painted Nabataean pottery in the capital, the “2 red lines” decorative pattern remains the same during the whole Nabataean occupation of Hegra. Archaeometric results on Petra and Hegra fine ware will complete this presentation.

Keywords: Nabataean kingdom, Petra, Hegra, pottery, colonization


Phillip Edwards
Department of Archaeology & History, La Trobe University

This paper outlines the results of the ‘Ice Age Villagers of the Levant: sedentism and social connections in the Natufian period’ project, based at La Trobe University. The project was designed to investigate residential persistence at the Early Natufian site of Wadi Hammeh 27, the flow of raw materials into the settlement, and the archaeological parameters of the site’s earliest phases. To this end, excavations were undertaken at Wadi Hammeh 27 between 2014 and 2016, revealing new aspects of the successive occupations (Phases 1 - 4). In Phase 3, a house structure was discovered underlying the later Structure 1.  Its most notable feature is a row of shaped, upright wall slabs; precursors to the larger decorated examples of Phase 1. The Phase 3 house was founded over a series of burials, dug into bedrock (Phase 4). Stone features positioned outside the house were instituted to commemorate the burials, and these were augmented and continued throughout the lifetime of the settlement. Wide-ranging surveys and analysis programs were made in the east Jordan Valley, extending from the southern end of the Dead Sea to the Syrian border region, to investigate the sources of chert and basaltic rock utilised at Wadi Hammeh 27, and to create a map of bioavailable strontium to underpin stable- isotope analyses of human mobility.   Palaeogenetic analyses are also continuing to discover the affiliations of the Wadi Hammeh 27 human population.

Keywords: Natufian, Jordan Valley, sedentism, raw materials, populations


Steven Edwards
University of Toronto, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

‘Ain Qusayba is located on the northern flank of the Wadi Qusayba in northern Jordan. The site was first explored in 2012 when a small test pit was excavated next to several stone wall lines visible at the surface, and adjacent to the modern footpath leading eastward from the Jordan Valley to the plateau above. Ceramics collected during this operation dated to the Middle Bronze Age through Roman periods. The Wadi Qusayba Project returned to ‘Ayn Qusayba in 2014 and 2018 in order to further delineate the plan of several structures first identified in 2012, and also to refine its dating. Preliminary results indicate that the northern of the two buildings comprises at least two rooms and a stone glacis or retaining platform. The eastern room contains a doorway and threshold on the south, providing access to a street or corridor. Immediately south of the modern footpath, and downslope from the main building, excavations revealed a small storage unit containing several MB II cooking pots. Pottery collected from the floors within the main building corroborate a MB II date for the structure. The structures at ‘Ayn Qusayba remain only partially exposed, but it appears that they form part of a small, isolated MB II farmstead or villa. A nearby spring provided perennial access to water. Given its location and small size, ‘Ayn Qusayba presents a unique example of a non-urban site dating to the Middle Bronze Age. Keywords: Middle Bronze Age, Cooking Pots, Rural Archaeology, Jordan Valley, Domestic Architecture


Oroub El Abed
SOAS – London University

Aydah Abu Tayeh
Al Hussein University

Zeena Sultan
Independent researcher

Rudinah Momani
Council for British Research in the Levant

In light of recent studies and archaeological excavations conducted in the last few years, which have created an archeological trail in the south of Jordan, this on-going project firstly examines the ways locals appreciate intangible heritage as part of their archaeological and development planning. Secondly, it aims, through education, to strengthen the spatial and cultural heritage of the local community. The importance of the Neolithic archaeological path is that it demonstrates the agricultural settlement where the first man settled and practiced agriculture and domestication of animals. Life style of people has changed but their rural practices around agriculture and animal husbandry and their products of baked bread made out of barely and wheat, dairy industry, popular medicine, and agricultural development reflects the continuum through nature. This paper discusses findings of the field research, which will conduct surveys to study the community's understanding of the spatial value and its acceptance of the development of tourism, its aspirations and its cultural and material objectives using quantitative and quantitative research methods. The research team will train the youth (16-24 years) on leadership ideas through extracurricular activities in collaboration with schools and universities. This aims to strengthen the sense of ownership and shape up national identity. The research team will lead community leaders to create brand-specific production for each village that will link them to the Deep Past. Through education, the project hopes to create basic foundations for sustainable development that will guide the people of the south to invest their human potential in a cultural heritage they own.

Keywords: Neolithic, cultural heritage, education, sense of ownership, sustainable development


Mohammed El Khalili
Hashemite University, Zarqa and University of Petra, Amman

Monther Jamhawi
Jordan University of Science and Technology

Nizar Al Adarbeh
American Center of Oriental Research/SCHEP

Abeer Al Bawab
Faculty of Science, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan

This paper is part of the project entitled: “Restoration and Rehabilitation of the Roman Nymphaeum in Amman: Nymphaeum Archaeological Park 2014-2017” funded by the US Ambassador Fund for Cultural Heritage Preservation, implemented by the Hamdi Mango Center for Scientific Research at the University of Jordan and in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. The purpose of this paper is to present the final results of the project in terms of conservation, rehabilitation, site management and interpretation, capacity building, in addition to tourism development for this important monument opened for the first time to the public as a new tourism attraction at the downtown of Amman. It demonstrates a case study for a best cultural heritage restoration and management practices with applied methods to the revival of urban heritage as an approach for sustainable heritage preservation for the Roman Nymphaeum in Amman, which is considered as the biggest monument of its kind in the region. The Nymphaeum was suffering from different deterioration factors and forms that affected its state of conservation and was considered a mass of visual pollution. The project is focusing on creating a new model in the downtown of Amman for the revival of urban heritage into a cultural forum open public space “Nymphaeum Archaeological Park” that will foster socio-economic benefits to the community. The site is now connected with the tourism map of Amman and clustered with the key Roman attractions in including the Citadel and the theaters.

Keywords: Conservation, Site Management, Archaeological Park, Public Archaeology, Cultural Heritage


Ahamad Elamaireh
Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art & Restoration

Amjad Awad
Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art & Restoration

The purpose of this paper is to introduce Madaba Institute for Mosaic art and Restoration (MIMAR) which established in 2007 as a result of joint collaboration between Jordanian Department of Antiquities and the Italian government and the USAID. MIMAR is considered the only institute in the region that offers a diploma program specialized in scientific methods of production and restoration of mosaic art. This paper will introduce the pioneering role for (MIMAR) in training and teaching students to qualify them to work in this field, and this paper will introduce the main projects implemented by the Institute, especially those related to restoration of mosaic floors. The paper will also highlight the role of the Institute in designating madaba city in the UNESCO networks of creative cities in mosaic handicrafts. 

Keywords: Mosaic, conservation, restoration


Yazid Elayan
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Regine Hunziker-Rodewald
University of Strasbourg

The Citadel of Rabbat-Ammon is among the most imposing archaeological sites in Palestine and Transjordan. The known settlement traces date from the 3rd - 1st millennium BCE and beyond to the Umayyad (Harding 1951) and Mamluk periods (Bennett 1978). The L-shaped upper and lower terraces cover in total more than 15 hectares (by comparison, Aleppo Citadel covers 4.5 hectares). During the Bronze and Iron Ages, the water supply was ensured by a vast, over-15- metre-deep cistern situated north of the acropolis (Humbert/Zayadine 1989). Despite its significance as one of the largest early cities east of the Jordan with strong fortifications, monumental palatial and temple structures and a superb inventory of imported and locally produced artifacts which map a network of international exchange and influence, a convincing stratigraphy of the site prior to the second half of the 1st millennium BCE has never been established. In their paper, the authors will present the results of new large-area excavations which were undertaken by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan on the Citadel of Rabbat-Ammon inside the temenos of the Roman temple. Among the amazing finds of these campaigns is a unique assemblage of female terracotta figures that provides the key to the interpretation of these much- discussed artifacts. The figurines projected as RTI files will be typologically and contextually classified.


Stefanie P. Elkins
Department of Visual Art, Communication & Design, Andrews University

Located in Jabal Hamidah, Khirbat ‘Ataruz has become a site of great importance with the discovery of an early Iron Age II temple complex. This site has produced an array of cultic artifacts that has provided a clearer understanding of the religious practices of ancient Iron Age Transjordan and the people who worshipped at this particular temple. During the
2001-04 excavations, pieces of several architectural models were found on and around several offering platforms in the Main Sanctuary Room in Field A. Dating to the 9th century B.C.E., these architectural models include what is currently being considered one of the largest, most complete, and most complex examples of an Iron Age cult stand. This paper will examine the artistic style and motifs found on the large cult stand with focus given on the iconography and its proposed meaning. Comparison of other cultural artistic motifs that may have influenced the design via nearby trade routes will also be presented. This artistic analysis may help provide deeper insight into the ancient concept of aesthetics symbolism, how it related to religious practice, and how those concepts manifested themselves in the use of this cult stand in the early Iron Age II ‘Ataruz temple complex.

Keywords: Khirbet ‘Ataruz, Cult Stand, Iron Age Cult, Iron Age Iconography, Iron Age Temples.


Abdelrahman Mohamad Elserogy
Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, yarmouk University. Jordan,

Reta Aldawood
Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, yarmouk University. Jordan,

Icons vary in materials and methods of preparation, especially the wooden or linen supports and the devious ground layers, the various painting techniques. Deterioration factors of icons the physical deterioration factors that affect the wooden support, the gesso layer and the color layer are the change of relative humidity around the icon. Investigation and Analysis of an icon is importance with using modern scientific methods, for investigating and analyzing the ground layer or color layer, is considered. Before conservation and restoration operations, physical conditions of the icon were evaluated. The use of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) was used to identify the colored materials, gilding layer and preparation layer. Furrier Transformation Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to identify the bonding materials for colored materials. Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) was used to identify the linen that supports the ground layer. The study included an analytical investigation of the microbes in the icon where many bacteria and fungi which is considered as one of the main causes of microbiological degradation to the icon. Conservation and restoration work started with sterilization, cleaning and then filling in missing parts and gaps and coloring following well recognized international scientific methods. There are various methods and materials that can be used for cleaning wax, soot or fly secretions from or icon’s surface. After that the wood may be completely treated and consolidated. Another point of treating icons is the retouching or repainting of colors and the use of new varnishes after cleaning an icon, in order to retain its old glamour. The last step of treating an icon in a museum or church is to exhibit it under suitable conditions.

Keywords: Icons, painting, deterioration, investigating, Conservation


Steve Falconer
Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Patricia Fall
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina Charlotte

The archaeology of Jordan features one of the most dramatic episodes of urban collapse in the ancient world: the pervasive and long-term abandonment of towns during Early Bronze IV (also known as the Intermediate Bronze Age). This period traditionally has been correlated with the political decentralization of the Egyptian First Intermediate Period, and the interpretation of Early Bronze IV society has emphasized a shift to non-sedentary pastoralism. Excavated evidence from Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj in the Jordan Valley contributes to revised assessment of Early Bronze IV society in Jordan from a variety of perspectives. Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj documents sedentary village life through seven stratified archaeological phases spanning most of Early Bronze IV. A community of dedicated farmers and herders lived in agglutinated mudbrick structures along sherd-paved streets, with village edge industrial areas. A series of lamb burials provides a rare glimpse of Early Bronze IV ritual behavior. Bayesian modeling of calibrated radiocarbon ages pushes the beginning of this period two to three centuries earlier, to the mid-third millennium BC. This major revision disconnects the explanation of Early Bronze IV collapse from Egyptian dynastic history and opens possible connections with regional environmental crises in the third millennium BC. The evidence Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj provides a dramatic portrait of village life during the most dramatic social crisis in the prehistory of Jordan.

Keywords: AMS Chronology, Bronze Age, Early Bronze IV Collapse, Sedentary Village, Urban Crisis


Saba Farès
University Toulouse II Jean Jaurès

Vincent Ollive
Université de Lorraine,

The paper presents the exploratory methods of the joint project, Jordanian and French program in Wadi Ramm. To understand the large scale human occupation in the desert, it was indispensable to develop an innovative approach to obtain societal interrelationship between human groups and territorial  management.  As a complex program, with epigraphical, archaeological, geographical, social aspects, the GIS provides the wider lecture of dynamic territory and subsistence strategies through time. The preliminary results show agreement and alliances between social groups to water access. The Ad tribe in Wadi Ramm seems to have concluded an agreement with Mazan tribe and the inscriptions delimits this territory. This type of agreement is very known the Ancient Arabia and any infraction of this agreement can provoke conflicts. Arabs Historiographer relates rich stories about such events, as al-Basūs, conflict for 40 years between two cousin tribes in Arabia of Late Antiquity. 

Keywords: wadi Ramm, territorial management, water access, methodology


Pawel Filipczak
University of Lodz

The literary output of the rhetor Libanius (ca 314–393 AD) includes a vast collection of letters: 1,544 in total. Among these we find about twenty-five letters addressed to several governors (praesides) of the province of Arabia (which in today’s terms was largely coterminous with the Kingdom of Jordan). These letters allow us to study multiple aspects of prosopography with regard to Arab elites, students and rhetors who lived in Arabia and in Antioch, the native city of Libanius. They also make it possible to study the elites of the state, in particular the governors of the province, their origin, education and careers. The letters to the governors of Arabia also allow us to conduct historical research on the internal situation of the province, particularly illustrating the fluctuations of the inhabitants of Arabia and their migrations to neighbouring regions as well as the attitude of the Greek Antiochene elites towards the newcomers from Arabia. Last but not least, they help us answer the fundamental question of the ways in which the Romans ruled Arabia in the mid- fourth century AD. The correspondence of Libanius, which lies at the core of my presentation, has been only rarely used in research on the history of the province: applying to it the methods of classical philological and historical text analysis yields interesting new results.

Keywords: Arabia, Late Antiquity, Jordan, administration, elites, Libanius.


Bill Finlayson
Oxford Brookes University

The Wadi Faynan is a remarkable heritage asset. Lying adjacent to the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the Faynan contains a comprehensive record of humanity from the Palaeolithic to the modern day. The patterns we can see in the past, from the settling down, domestication of resources and farming of the Neolithic, to the mineral extraction, industrialisation and ancient pollution of the wadi, and the efforts to mitigate and adapt to long-term processes of desertification and environmental degradation, are all echoed today in the lives of the Bedouin, tourism, water management, and mineral extraction interests. These ancient and modern concerns contain many contradictions and conflicts of interest. However, at the same time the wadi, past and present, encapsulates all that is important in cultural heritage and how the modern world is built on the past. Knowing about and appreciating the past allows it to be brought into the present, not as an alien and remote world, the special place of small interest groups, but as a common inheritance capable of enriching lives and economic opportunities. This paper will illustrate how the past can be seen to resonate with the present in a first step in helping to bring cultural heritage into planning for the future, enabling both conservation and development to occur in harmony. We should not simply fossilize the world around us as a dusty museum but bring it alive through showing its place in the present, in living heritage, in the physical traces in the landscape, and its economic potentials.

Keywords: Cultural Heritage, economic opportunity, conservation, development.


Cynthia Finlayson
Department of Anthropology/Archaeology & Museum Studies, Brigham Young University

In June of 2018, the Ad-Deir Monument and Plateau Project (AMPP) completed the first comprehensive GPS pedestrian survey of the Ad-Deir Plateau linked with UAV-drone imagery. Special attention was given to Monument 468 (the Berg- Berg Monument) due to its proximity to the Ad-Deir ‘Monastery’ Complex as well as this massive building’s prominent position above the Great Circle Pool now being restored by AMPP.  While Monument 468 has previously been briefly discussed in earlier German scholarship, with portions of it drawn by the famous artist David Roberts, there has never been a modern comprehensive study of the site despite its monumental size and precarious positioning on one of the highest peaks to the west of the Ad-Deir façade.  Significantly, Monument 468 may have been one of the Nabataean’s 
greatest engineering feats, given its challenging position high on a rocky saddle that gave it birds-eye views of both the Ad-Deir Monument to the East as well as the Wadi Arabah escarpments to the West.  Additionally, this massive multi- tiered building was supported by unique Nabataean sub-structural engineering and kept supplied with water via a large underground cistern complex.  This paper discusses the findings of the GPS mapping of Monument 468 and provides never before available on-site information concerning the functions, design, and potential purposes of one of the most important building structures in ancient Petra. This discussion will attempt to answer the question: was such a challenging engineering product the result of a ‘culture in crisis,’ or a civilization with other agendas?

Keywords: Monument 468 at Petra, Berg-Berg Monument, Ad-Deir Plateau, GPS/UAV Survey.


Pascal Flohr
University of Oxford, School of Archaeology, Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA)

The Late (or Pottery) Neolithic is a key period in the archaeology of Jordan, as it is during this time that we find the first farming communities as we imagine them, with the distinction between ‘desert and sown’ and the use of dairy products. However, the period remains understudied and is underrepresented in both ground and remote sensing surveys, and consequently in heritage databases. As has been shown in previous research (e.g. E. Banning) this probably does not reflect an actual absence of sites but rather their poor visibility and research biases. This poses a problem for protecting sites of this important period: to protect sites, we first need to know where they are. Using publications and existing datasets, information on Late Neolithic sites in Jordan was collected and recorded in the freely available EAMENA database ( Over a hundred sites with reliable evidence for Late Neolithic occupation have already been entered (April 2018). The dataset confirms that there is no lack of Late Neolithic sites, but they are often poorly visible with little evidence visible on the surface, and a research bias is clearly present. Remote sensing (satellite images and aerial photographs) is used to assess the condition of each site, including existing damage and potential threats. Finally, an analysis is made of site locations – while sites are hard to see on imagery or even the surface, we might be able to establish a pattern to their locations creating a predictive model potentially of value for other prehistoric periods.

Keywords: Late Neolithic, heritage database, remote sensing, site distribution, predictive modelling.


Debra Foran
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

The ancient town of Nebo, known today as the site of Khirbat al-Mukhayyat, is located approximately 6 km northwest of the city of Madaba. The Khirbat al-Mukhayyat Archaeological Project (KMAP) was established in 2012 to investigate the sacred aspect of the landscape around the site and explore the economic and ritual importance of Mukhayyat across multiple cultural and historical periods. This paper will present the results of KMAP’s second and third seasons of excavation, which focused on the site’s Iron Age and Hellenistic remains. Three fields of excavation were opened during KMAP’s inaugural season of excavation in 2014. Two of these fields formed the focus of efforts during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In Field C West, the discovery of a miqveh prompted further work, uncovering a number of plaster and bedrock installations, which may support the hypothesis that, during the Hellenistic period, the site was used primarily for agricultural and ritual purposes. In Field B, excavations allowed us to determine an Iron Age foundation date for the defensive architecture in this area. This fortification system was reused briefly in the Hellenistic period; however, during this period, Field B was used primarily for ritual activities that involved the placing and subsequent burying of a number of cooking vessels. The presence of the miqveh coupled with the contemporary cooking pot deposits indicates that, during the Hellenistic period, the ancient town of Nebo was the focus of a distinct set of ritual activities that appear to be unique to this site.


Thibaud Fournet 
CNRS / Ifpo / Mission archéologique française à Pétra

François Renel
INRAP/ UMR 7041 / Mission archéologique française à Pétra

The works carried out since 1999 by the French archaeological mission in Petra on the temenos of the Qasr al-Bint were complemented by a renew architectural analysis, allowed by the excavation of a peristyle building, located east of the temple (1999-2014), and the exposure of the monumental staircase of the temple itself (2015-2018). The paper integrates both the archaeological evidence and the architectural analysis of the excavated structures, presenting a revised reconstruction of the area during the Nabataean and Roman periods. We will first discuss the spectacular refurbishing of the monumental stairs with white marble in the second c. AD, displaying a rather original design; we will then develop hypothesis and reconstruction drawing concerning the second construction, a luxury Nabataean two stories building. It was centred on a courtyard surrounded by a Doric portico, supporting a Corinthian gallery at the upper level, with screen walls adorned with colonette. Beside this sophisticated courtyard, the monumental gate of the building, with imbricated Nabataean and Corinthian orders, was studied, revealing two main successive construction stages. New perspectives are light out with those discoveries and enrich the debate about its function within the Qasr al-Bint complex.

Keywords: Petra, Architecture, Temple, Nabataean, Roman.


Lorenzo Fragai
La Sapienza, Università di Roma

Starting from the late 12th century, the palace “theme” was replicated throughout Bilād al-Shām and also in Transjordan where appeared after 1188 in the major fortified centers of the region: Kerak, Shawbak, ʿAjlūn and Hesban. Exactly in Kerak castle there is one of the most well preserved reception hall of Ayyubid period, the Qāʿat al-Nāṣiri, erected during prince al-Nāṣir Dawūd’s regency of the city (1229-1249). The aim of this paper is to show the results of the archaeological and architectural investigations carried on this building from 2012; the methodological basis of this contribution relies primarily on stratigraphic archaeology of buildings (Brogiolo and Cagnana 2012, Nucciotti 2010) through the methods of Light Archeology, used by the Medieval Petra Italian Archaeological Mission (University of Florence) directed by Professor Guido Vannini and on Oystein La Bianca’s studies of Great and Little Traditions of medieval Jordan (La Bianca 2007, 2011); secondly, we will investigate the reasons that led al-Nāṣir Dawūd to build this complex and where he found the models that inspired the general architectural composition of his qāʾa.

Key words: Middle Ages; Upstanding building stratigraphy; light archaeology.


Roberto Franchi
Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage – Rome

Roberto Gabrielli
Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage – Rome

Eva Lupo
Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage – Rome

Andrea Angelini
National Research Council of Italy – ITABC

For same years a group of researchers to University of Urbino and CNR of Rome has carried out basic and applied studies in the Petra area to petrographic, mineralogical, geochemical, archaeometrical and inherent to the various problems of degradation and conservation of monumental heritage. Petrographic and physical characteristics of the outcropping geological formations in the Petra valley have been defined. The small springs present in valley’s surroundings have been studied with geochemical techniques. The study also involved the whole valley of the Jordan with particular regard to the thermos-mineral springs. In collaboration with archaeologist of the university of Florence the characteristics of the materials of the Al Wu’eyra and Shawbak sites have been studied. As for this last site, after geo-tectonic overview of details, through petrographic comparisons between the litotype used in the construction of the castle and the outcropping formations were found the quarries of origin of the materials of the masonry structures. In an area of the castle called “productive area” characterized by multiple cocciopesto tanks, the investigations have clarified their function. The problems of alteration of the wall structures have been defined. As for problems of deterioration of the architectural heritage present in Petra valley and the main causes and the mechanisms connected to it have been identified from mineralogical, petrographic and physical investigations conducted with methodologies in DX, SEM, mass spectrometry. In particular the Palace Tomb was studied with different survey techniques based on range-data and image-based systems.

Keywords: Petrography, Jordan Valley, Petra, Archaeometry, Survey Techniques


Sumio Fuji
Kanazawa University

Harrat Juhayra 2 is a composite site that extends over a volcanic hill of the same name occupying the northwestern corner of the al-Jafr basin, southern Jordan. Our recent excavations have attested to an elongated Chalcolithic settlement and a large cemetery attached to it. The settlement contained a dozen rectangular, single-room houses, where tabular scrapers, drills, potteries, stone vessels, grinding implements were found in situ. Meanwhile, the cemetery consisted of several rectangular, pier-house-like ossuaries equipped with a long, tail-like feature and several dozen miscellaneous burial features. Although the latter were scarce in small finds, the former yielded a certain amount of human skeletal remains and burial gifts including tabular scrapers, grinding implements, maceheads, shell/snail adornments, a fringed palette, and a cylindrical figurine. A series of C-14 data converge on the final few centuries of the 7th millennium calBP, suggesting that the composite site dates back to the middle Chalcolithic. The occurrence of the diagnostic potteries and basalt bowls (both similar to the Ghassulian products) and the limestone figurine reminiscent of the baton-like artifact from Qulban Beni Murra, to say nothing of the tabular scrapers and the robust drills, also supports the dating. In this sense, the site supplies the information deficiency in the Jafr chronology that the author presented to trace the process of pastoral nomadization in the dry periphery. This paper discusses the Chalcolithic settlement first found in the Jafr basin together with its unique burial practice.

Keywords: Harrat Juhayra, Jafr basin, Chalcolithic, settlement, ossuary.


Roberto Gabrielli
National Research Council (Cnr) – ITABC

Alessandra Albiero
National Research Council (Cnr) – ITABC

Eva Savina Malinverni
Università Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Edile e dell’Architettura

Pierdicca Roberto
Università Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Edile e dell’Architettura

Donatella Scortecci
University of Perugia Department of Humanities, Ancient and Modern Languages, Literature and Cultures

Umm ar-Rasas is a Jordan archaeological site, located 30Km southeast of the city of Madaba, in the northern part of Wadi Mugib. It preserves findings dating back the period from the end of III century d.C. to the IX d.C.  and, from 2004, it belongs to the world heritage list of UNESCO. In 2015 a multidisciplinary work was undertaken over the site, mainly focusing on Santo Stefano Church, with the main purpose of enhancing the knowledge and documenting the conservation state of the polychrome mosaic carpet, which covers the entire surface of the hall and presbytery. A huge amount of data has been collected, coming from archaeological and historical investigations, geophysics and geodetic inspections, Geomatics surveys. Data has been organized in a geo-database, enabling a more efficient management and facilitating the exchange of information. The logical structure of the database allows one interconnect tables attributes and vector layers. It is even designed to infer qualitative (i.e. conservation state, presence of pre-existent structures, modules identification) and quantitative information (i.e. supposed number of textiles composing the original surface). Moreover, by combining laser scanner and close range photogrammetry, true orthophotos have been produced to be managed within a dedicated GIS, allowing in-depth analysis for understanding the evolution of the iconographic repertoire that, among the centuries, has undergone several disfigurements due to the iconoclastic age. On the other, it can be used for multimedia applications (i.e. AR application or High resolution WEB visualization) for dissemination purposes, to spread with the mankind this priceless heritage.

Keywords: GIS, Mosaic, Dissemination, Archaeology, Management.


Roberto Gabrielli
National Research Council (Cnr) – ITABC

Andrea Angelini
National Research Council of Italy – ITABC

Roberto Franchi
Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage – Rome

Elisa Fidenzi
Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage – Rome

The paper presents the results of the international project "The ancient hydrologic system of Petra. Study and restoration aimed at the conservation of architectural heritage". The monumental area of Petra is characterized by several nabatean tombs, carved and modeled in the rock in imitation of the architecture of the Hellenistic Period. Composed mainly of quartz-arenites with inhomogeneous characteristics and considering the advanced state of deterioration of the structures, the project aimed at defining the surface degradation of the Palace Tomb as a case study. Studies on the area underlined how the water flowing down on the monuments represents one of main reason of the high degradation, beyond the chemical phenomena, the wind erosion and the expansion-contraction phenomena caused by strong temperature differences that disarticulate the sandstones. Some of these phenomena were supposed by the nabatean builders that realized an appropriate drainage system, able to assure a water reserve for the city and preserve the architectonical façades. Since 2005 the research group (ITABC) performed several measurements in order to update the graphic documentation of the Palace Tomb. Aim of the survey was the experimentation of different methodological approaches based on range- data and image-based systems for acquiring 3D information at very high resolution. From the numerical model of the tomb, plans, sections and different maps for analyzing the archaeological features and the pathologies of the surfaces placed at very high altitudes were carried out. The results have been imported in a specific GIS for the safeguard of the monument.

Keywords: Palace Tomb, Aerial Photomodeling, Laser Scanner, Degradation Phenomena, Petra


Roberto Gabrielli

Giovanni Caruso

Giuseppe Delmonaco 
ISPRA - Geological Survey of Italy

Claudio Intrigila
Department of Civil Engineering and Computer Science, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Umm ar-Rasas is the third Jordan site inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, thanks to the richness of the inscriptions, quality of the mosaics and presence of the Stylite Tower. The latter, a unique survived example of stylite towers in the Middle East, presents evidence of structural damage due to frequent earthquakes occurred in that area. In order to prevent the tower from further damage and improve the level of safety, a multidisciplinary study of seismic vulnerability was undertaken. On the basis of geophysical surveys performed in situ, two structural models were implemented for the tower. In the first one, the tower was considered as a rigid structure supported by means of an elasto- perfect plastic soil; in the second one, a more complex finite element model was setup. In both cases, a parametric study was carried out to evaluate the influence of the inner core of the tower and analyze different hypotheses on the interconnection between the core and the external walls. Push over analyses were performed that resulted in a very low resistance of the tower to seismic action. The proposed analyses suggest the necessity to implement further in situ measurement campaigns for a better identification of the tower structural characteristics. This will allow to tune the structural models, with the goal of designing an effective retrofitting intervention to preserve this unique monument. This work is part of a research program co-founded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Keywords: Stylite Tower, Umm ar-Rasas, laser scanner acquisition, seismic vulnerability, structural analysis.


Roberto Gabrielli

Filippo Sessa
Facto Engineering

Andrea di Di Savino
Facto Engineering

Andrea Angelini
National Research Council of Italy – ITABC

Elisa Fidenzi

Eleonora Scopinaro

Pasquale Galatà

This experimental work is the result of collaboration between CNR ITABC (CNR ISPC, starting from june 2018) - represented by Roberto Gabrielli - that has a great knowledge of the Petra Archaeological Site and 3D data acquisition process, FACTO ENGINEERING - represented by Filippo Sessa and Andrea di Savino – experienced in 3d data reconstruction and digital manufacturing for Cultural Heritage sector and UNIONE ITALIANA DEI CIECHI E DEGLI IPOVEDENTI – ONLUS (Sez. Benevento) - represented by the president Rafaela Masotta – the main blind and visually impaired Italian association.

The purpose of the work is to improve, thanks to the help of the digital process, the accessibility and the understanding of Jordan Cultural Heritage for blind and visually impaired people: a point cloud produced by a 3D laser scanner is processed through algorithms to generate a closed mesh, which represents the monument in a precise scale; then will be manufactured with 3d digital technologies. The main aspects on which the research has focused concern the choice of materials, perception of the scale factor and educational contents. 

The technical results of the research will take a place in a physical prototype, made with digital manufacturing tools and techniques, that could be exposed during the conference or in a museum space.

The general results of the work concern the improvement of the accessibility, awareness and dissemination of the cultural heritage.

Keywords: 3DScanning, Digital, Manufacturing, Blind, Cultural Heritage.


Constance E. Gane
Institute of Archaeology, Andrews University

This paper will situate Tall Jalul as a thriving settlement during the complex sociopolitical climate of Levantine secondary states under Assyrian, Babylonian and finally Persian domination. The location of the site in the crossroads region of the Madaba Plains placed it along a trade route between Damascus in the north and Egypt and Arabia in the south. This paper will highlight material remains such as fragments of incense altars, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, seals, and ostraca that suggest that this community had international interactions with the dominating powers of the north. This paper will also examine the architectural evidence for sophisticated residential and administrative complexes as well as the largest open-air water reservoir from this period. The significant and abundant finds from the Late Iron II C/Persian period (539–332 BC) remains found in both Fields C and D at Jalul help to clarify the emerging picture of the cultural resilience of local traditions and the adaption of provincial governance amid occupation during the Persian period in Transjordan.

Keywords: Tall Jalul, Madaba Plains, Jordan, Ammonite, trade.


Hans Georg K. Gebel
Free University of Berlin, ex oriente - Berlin

Since the eighties when the understanding of the mega-site phenomenon was developed by the excavations in ‘Ain Ghazal and Basta, more data and meta-theoretical investment helped to illustrate the complexity and diversity of this unique phenomenon limited to the LPPNB of the Transjordanian Highlands (7500-7000 BCE). However, mega-sites are not an extraordinary phenomenon in the Near Eastern Early Neolithic (cf. Abu Hureyra/ Mureybet or Jericho) once natural conditions and socioeconomic/ cognitive adaptations fostered or triggered progressive dynamics. „Flows of people, artefacts and ideas“ can guide „cultures into crises“, and in the case of the mega-site phenomenon we may deal with additional factors forming the cooperating reasons for stability and finally instability, collapse and transformation. Recent insights showed that at different times different combinations of different promoters gained momentum over a finally unsuccessful trajectory moving towards higher-level social stratification and complex settlement systems. Apart from the known promoters of the Transjordanian mega-site phenomenon, two freshly identified promoters for its collapse appear to have been crucial: Terrestrial factors seem to have caused the collapse together with rising social inequality. While we have direct evidence for the first factors (rubble layers and earthquake damage in the villages), only indirect evidence exists for the formation of societal pockets not equally sharing space, power and access to resources and productivity. For these negative promoters the LPPNB communities may not have found adaptations in time.

Keywords: Mega-Site Phenomenon, LPPNB, terrestrial impacts, social collapse.


Roumel Gharib
Department of Antiquities / Jordan

Ammonite Kingdom which adopts Rabbat Ammon as its Capital which was extends between Zarqa River to the north and Wadi Al-Mujeb to the south. The Ammonite built many Towers and fortresses to control the border guarding the natural crossings leading to the kingdom of Ammon. Governorate of Zarqa –Sub- District of Bi’erin which was a part of  Ammonite Kingdom, Zarqa has deeply impacted on archaeological sites represented the Iron Ages such as Rujm Jamaan– Khirbet Al-Kamsheh – Khirbet Al- Jamous – Tall Ajeel / Al-Qun’ah whereas the Excavations conducted by the Author shed light at all ammonite towers in these sites, and its function protected the northern borders of Ammonite kingdom. Excavations recover many archaeological remains dating the Iron II the most distinctive remains in Rujm Jamaan the head of a male statue, the iconography of the personage is that of a high official or military chief. The excavations recover the ammonite towers in Khirbet Al-Kamsheh – Khirbet Al- Jamous – Tall Ajeel / Al-Qun’ah, but unfortunately almost completely neglected by archaeologists, was documented and it’s historical – archaeological role in the Iron Age acknowledged. It became clear that Jamaan was a stronghold on a main track connecting the Zarqa River to the Jordan Valley during the time at Ammonite Kingdom of the 9th – 6th century B.C., Researches are still ongoing.

Keywords: Ammon – Iron II –- Bi’rein – Jamaan.


Elizabeth Gibbon
University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology

The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between local and long-distance interaction networks during the Late  Neolithic Wadi Rabah period (5746 – 5118 cal.  BC)  in  the southern Levant. Previous scholarship  has characterized the Wadi Rabah period as a time of socio-cultural ‘devolution’ or ‘collapse’. However, there is still evidence for the widespread adherence to particular technological traditions and long-distance trade of raw materials across the Levant. To investigate these complex patterns of interaction social network analysis techniques (e.g. clustering, centrality, density) are employed to explore the integration and connectedness of Wadi Rabah settlements across the Levant. Similarities of proportions of ceramic wares and obsidian sources are used as evidence of more direct and/or intensive interactions between settlements. Analysis of the Wadi Rabah network suggests that the structure of ancient social interaction simultaneously allowed for the development of locally situated identities within a more expansive and dispersed global network. The increasingly localized interaction sphere of the Wadi Rabah period does not necessarily have to reflect some sort of socio-cultural “collapse,” but should instead be explored in the context of complex and flexible social relationships.

Keywords: Late Neolithic, Social Network Analysis, Ceramic Analysis, Obsidian Sourcing, Interregional Interaction.


Kevin Gibbs
University of California, Berkeley

The Late Neolithic remains one of the more poorly understood periods in the archaeology of Jordan. Fortunately, several recent archaeological projects have contributed to an improved understanding of the Late Neolithic. This paper discusses the results of fieldwork at the site of WQ117, which is located on the north side of Wadi Quseiba in at-Taybeh district, northern Jordan. The site was discovered during archaeological survey in 2012 and excavations in 2014 and 2018 produced artifacts and features that are attributed to the Late Neolithic Yarmoukian culture. This evidence includes pit features, pottery, stone tools, a figurine fragment and faunal remains. The paper summarizes the results of the fieldwork and discusses the material culture, economy and chronology of the site in the broader context of the Late Neolithic of northern Jordan and the surrounding area. Special attention is paid to the site’s ceramics. A petrographic examination of this material shows connections with areas beyond the immediate vicinity of the site.

Keywords: Late Neolithic, Yarmoukian, Wadi Quseiba, excavation, ceramics.


Piero Gilento
University of Paris1/Panthéon-Sorbonne 

Pierre-Marie Blanc

This paper aims to illustrate the results of the archaeological research carried out in the village of Umm as-Surab, Mafraq governorate, during the 2017 and 2018 fieldwork seasons. The study of Umm as-Surab is part of the wider Jordan Hawrān Archaeological Survey (JHAS) project, which aims to outline the historical evolution dynamics of rural settlements in northern Jordan between the late Roman and early Islamic periods. The methodology employed applies the principles of archaeological stratigraphy to the study of architecture, i.e. Building Archeology, in conjunction with the analysis of construction techniques and related technological processes. This research methodology for ancient architecture has generated new data that have been expanded and enriched with other information from surface survey, archaeological soundings and mortar analysis. On the one hand, the study of building techniques, combined with archaeometric analysis of the mortar samples taken according to stratigraphic sequences, has allowed us to develop a more precise chronology of some architectural complexes, providing sufficient data for new reflections on the transition period between Late Antiquity and the Islamic era. On the other hand, the surface survey, carried out in the village and its surroundings, has increased the data on the occupational phases which are currently less visible in the extant architectural remains. The synthesis and interpretation of all this information creates a complex picture of the evolution of a village in the basaltic area, significantly improving our knowledge of the history of Hawrān. Finally, an updated chrono-typology of the construction techniques is presented.

Keywords: Building techniques, chrono-typology, archaeometry, technology, Hawrān.


David F. Graf
Department of Religious Studies, University of Miami

In addition to the 628 monumental rock-cut tombs and 730 non-monumental tombs at Petra, there are over a thousand rock-cut betyls or cultic niches. The ‘Petra Niche Project” launched by Robert Wenning and the late H. Merklein in 1997 hast already recorded 840 votive niches in the eastern half of Petra alone, two-thirds of which were previously unrecorded, with an estimated total of over 1200 in the Petra region. The predominant type is anti-conic (a square unmarked stone in some instances), but there are a few that have figurative theophoric representations (identified as one of the Nabataean deities Dushara, Allat/al-Uzza, or the Egyptian Isis). During the 2017 survey of the Ba’aja region just 10 km north of Petra, a unique iconographic betyl was discovered at Raqqabet Abu Thabet.  This betyl has a vertical crocodile strung across its face. As is well known, the crocodile is a familiar symbol of the Nile, where it was worshipped as a god--the crocodile god Sobek.  Arsinoe in the Fayyum was also called Crocodileopolis. The connections with Egypt are attractive, perhaps in connection with the Isis cult that penetrated Petra in the late Hellenistic era. There are depictions of Isis seated with a crocodile at her feet in her cultic center at Philae in Upper Egypt and in the Temple of Isis at Pompeii in Italy, which offer support for the hypothesis.

Keywords: Betyl 1, Nabataeans 2, Crocodile 3, Isis, Petra 5.


Paul Z. Gregor
Institute of Archaeology, Andrews University

Khirbet Safra is located 17 km south from Madaba. It has commanding view of the entire region, situated on a road connecting Madaba with Hot Springs at Zerqa Main. Preliminary readings of pottery collected from the surface indicate that the site was occupied during Iron Age 2A and 2B. The city covered an area of more than one hectare and it is encompassed by a casemate wall system. Since it is located at a strategically important location, it is possible that it served as a military outpost. Due to its size, however, it may be that it was only an ordinary village-type settlement. The first season of excavation will begin in the summer of 2018, and hopefully, will produce material culture which will resolve this dilemma.

Keywords: Safra; Settlement; Pottery; Casemate wall.


Samar Habahbeh
Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Between its launch in 2011 and January 2018, 3598 archaeological sites totalling 6031 site elements were added to the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) by the Staff of the Documentation and Management of Cultural Heritage of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. GIS-mapping the distribution of these ‘‘new sites’’ has enabled the refinement of the understanding of the geographical distribution of sites and has clarified the focus of enquiry by Jordanian and foreign institutions in the last decade. A showcase for the Jordanian Archaeological and Historical Heritage, MEGA however presents some serious shortcomings, such as the difficulty (often repeated by users) in accessing sites in the Database. Suggestions are put forward to improve MEGA, more particularly within the context of the creation of archaeological parks in Jordan (Jarash, Madaba, Petra) and of the first ‘‘protected ancient landscape’’, that delimited by natural features (relief and wadis) around Umm ar-Rasas.

Keywords: Cultural Heritage, MEGA Jordan, Archeaological parks, landscape.


Basema Hamarneh
University of Vienna

The paper intends to examine the processes of formation and transformation of rural properties in the Provinces of Arabia and Palaestina within the chronological framework of the 5th and the 8th/9th centuries. Specifically, it will consider various aspects as the spatial impact of the Church on rural landscape, especially in the 6th century, through the archaeological record, and how the ecclesiastical institution played a central role in country life shaping it through rational organisation, for example when acting as landlord of agricultural land, vineyards, orchards and pastures, besides redirecting part of the income to evergetic activity. Analogously monastic institutions located near villages, had also a determinant role, they collected rent, labour and services from the peasants and took care of charitable institutions. Monasteries also interacted with local landowners, and in few cases were engaged in trade displaying over time a fairly well-structured  society  with mutual interests  and  concerns,  as can be evinced from  data provided  by epigraphy, hagiography and the papyri of Petra and Nessana.  Assessing the changes that occurred in the 7th century, and especially under the Umayyad rule, allows us to evaluate not only the notion of κρίσις “Krisis” (intended here as a positive concept), but the manner in which the Church re(acted) as a substitute for the State in reorganizing the institutional and economic assets of the provinces, as well as the interactions with the new Muslim élite. This led gradually to the rise of a new category of land ownership in the countryside, creating a new, although chronologically limited, equilibrium.

Keywords: Rural Proprieties, Church, State, Byzantium, Islam.