JMP'11 Area 3 Excavations

The department of Antiquities inherited a jumble of excavated ruins in 1997 and made a plan of the visible remains. This comprised walls and structures of various interlocking phases and a system of baulks, a grid of one meter wide unexcavated soils. The first goal of the 2011 season was the creation of a new GIS survey of the visible remains, coupled with a database of wall types, using the iPad technology. This survey yielded a putative original orthogonal structure and subsequent alterations and reoccupation(s).

Three small excavations were placed at locations to test differing approaches to the archaeological problems of this site. This first was 3100 near the northwest corner found an upper level with tabun and transitional Umayyad/Abbasid painted wares. The walls showed two phases with a doubled exterior wall. Another trench was 3200, a set of three rooms separated by a Jordanian baulk. This was cleaned revealing relationships of walls, which were cleared to foundations in sterile bricky soil. The third trench excavated a Jordanian trench, revealing two separate occupation layers. The upper contained complete lamps, numerous glass vials, storage jars, burnt basketry and seeds (even complete charred dates), beads and buttons, etc. The earlier layer also contained numerous artifacts of an Umayyad phase. These sondages hold promise for future discoveries in this area.

JMP'13 Area 3 Excavations

Area 3 Schematic

This was a continuation of preliminary sounding in to the Red Building, the designation of the earliest, well-constructed residence and possible original qasr. After removal of the backdirt, sections of the original wall gave way to robber trenches and some later rubble walls. The robber trenches revealed the expected system of rooms: a long room (10 x 4m) on the interior, east side (A4 and B4), behind which were a suite of three rooms on the outer, west side (A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3). The natural soil was a red, bricky clay into which the original, finely cut walls were laid on a rubble foundation. As the land slopes downward to the north, the foundations had a "stepped" progression in that direction.

Room A3 had two tabuns built on a packed earth floor, upon which was ash with many artifacts, notably several complete painted “Abbasid fine ware” vessels, a sphero-conical “grenade,” and an anomalous glass bauble. There were also several cakes of charred seeds, and extensive glass and metal fragments. The other rooms yielded similar surfaces with plaster-lined pits, presumably for storage. There seems to be no trace of an earlier floor associated with the original building.

3100 Area3-img_0367 Area3-12-18-368 Area3-12-18-367 Area3-img_0397 1-1-414 Area3-img_0515 Img_0526 12-29-251 12-28-218 Img_0512 3400 Area3-img_0673 Area3-img_0913 Area3-img_0905 Area3-1-10-336 Area3-1-10-339