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2013 Results

The third season of excavations took place in January and February, 2013. Research concentrated on the building complex in the northern area, first excavated in the 1960s but never published. This was a puzzle of walls, platforms, cisterns and other features of several different periods.
Near the grape press and constructed of the same fine masonry are the foundations of rooms on the western and northern edges of the site. This building seems to be the original residence of the Umayyad period, and may have been an unfinished palace of the first settlement. This complex was enclosed with a wall of 70 x 55m during the early Abbasid period (late 8th and early 9th century).

The most important discovery of this season was a mosque belonging to the Abbasid town. The mosque had brick flooring and a deep plastered mihrab or prayer niche. This mosque style and ceramics found on the floor indicate use by this community during early Abbasid times. The mosque is not large but sufficient for the small community inside the walls.

2013 excavations also revealed a stables for horses, made of long rooms with mangers or feeding troughs on the internal walls. One of the corridors has cobbled paving. The stables opened to the east, into the hayr or walled enclosure measuring 2 km x 0.5 km. There are many suggestions as to the use of the hayr in early Islamic settlements; one possibility is for horse breeding and perhaps horse racing, both important activities in the Umayyad and Abbasid periods.

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