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PAST PROJECTS CARRIED OUT IN PETRA


* Projects are listed in ascending chronological order

Conway High Place
Wadi Abu Ollegha
Colonnaded Street Excavations
Nabataean Private Residence
Neolithic Site of Beidha
Edomite Settlement of Um al-Biyara
Reconstructing Archaeological Remains in Petra
Main Theatre Excavations
Tawilan
Religious Niches of Sadd al-Ma`jan
Roman Inscriptions in the Siq
Petra al-Katuteh Excavations
Explorations of the al-Deir Plateau
Survey of Sabra
Study/Survey of the Architecture of the Bdul Bedouins
Archaeological Exploration of Ba`ja III
Excavation & Restoration of Qasr al-Bint
The Early Bronze Age Settlement of Um Saysaban
Excavation of the Neolithic Site of Basta
Medieval Petra Project
Es-Sadeh: An Important Edomite-Nabataean Site
The Urban Space of Greater Petra, Caravan Roads & Stations
Analysis of Sandstone Weathering of the Theatre
Al-Wu’eira Crusader Castle
Late Islamic Villages in the Greater Petra Region
Khirbat al-Mu`allaq: An Edomite Fortress & A Late Islamic village
Zurraba Project (PNT)
The Petra Church
Jabal al-Qseir: A Fortified Iron II (Edomite) Mountain Stronghold
Stone Preservation Project
Edomite Occupation of Jabal Khubtha
From Edomite to Late Islamic: Jabal al-Suffaha
North Ridge Project: The Ridge Church
Architectural Investigation on the Building Techniques of the Nabataeans
Khirbat an-Nawafla Archaeological Project
Al-Basit Neolithic Site
Al-Majaen Dam Project
Study/Survey of the Biodiversity of Petra (PNT)
Rehabilitation of Johann Ludwig Burckhardt Archaeology Centre (PNT)
Restoration of the Nabataean Hydraulic System in the Siq (PNT)
Water Supply & Wastewater Treatment Project (PNT)
Roman Street Project
Ba`ja Neolithic Project
Lithotypes of Rock-Carved Monuments in Petra – Classification & Petrographical Properties
Archaeological Component of the Wadi Musa Water Supply & Wastewater Project
Signs Project (PNT)
Study/Survey and Clearance of Siq al-Mudhlim Tunnel (PNT)
Jabal Haroun Project
Elji Village
Excavation & Survey of Wadi Mataha
Jabal Haroun Restoration
Shammasa, a Fortified Suburb of Ancient Petra
Khirbat ad-Dahba Excavation
Excavations at the Petra Small Temple
North Ridge Project: Petra Blue Chapel
Al-Habis Crusader Castle
Field Guide to the Plants & Animals of Petra (PNT)
Radar Investigations in Petra's Necropolises
The Hellenistic Petra Project: Excavations in the Civic Centre
Study/Survey of the Impact of Flash Floods on the Khazne Courtyard & Areas Flanking it (PNT)
Cleaning & Excavation of Renaissance Tomb
Obodas Chapel Project
Capacity Building Programme for the Conservation Branch of the Petra Archaeological Park (PNT)
Biomineralisation Project
Beidha in Jordan: A Dionysian Hall in a Nabataean Landscape

 

** Kindly note that the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ) publications are currently not available online and can be accessed at the Department of Antiquities (DoA), Amman.


For a detailed bibliography on Petra and the Nabataeans:

  • Crawford, Gregory A.  Petra and the Nabataeans, a Bibliography.  2003. The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

 


Conway High Place
Excavation date:
1929
Conducted by: Director General of Antiquities of Palestine George Horsfield & Agnes Conway.

Excavations in what became known as the “Conway High Place” in the northern sector of Petra.  Other than a house, a watchtower, and a large reservoir, the mountain top was “sparsely if at all occupied.”
 

Wadi Abu Ollegha
Excavation date: 1936-1937
Conducted by: Margaret Murray & J.C. Ellis

A Nabataean cave complex that had been used as residential quarters in Wadi Abu Ollegha (Wadi Turkomania) was first excavated in 1936.  Excavations revealed that the Nabataean inhabitants constructed a wall, with a door and windows, across a natural cave mouth.  The cave was later expanded by pick-work, plastered and terrace ledges and boundary walls.  The entire complex consisted of living quarters, tombs and an altar with a connecting staircase.


Colonnaded Street Excavations
Excavation date: 1958-1964
Conducted by: Peter Parr (British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, now known as the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) 

The objective of the project was “the excavation of a stratified sequence of structures and associated artifacts spanning, if possible, the whole range of the occupational history of the site, but relating particularly to the earlier phases, when the Nabataeans were exchanging their nomadic way of life for a sedentary one” (Parr, Sixty Years of Excavation in Petra: a Critical Assessment, 1990).  Excavations 90 metres east of the Temenos Gate revealed some rough simple, unsophisticated rectangular structures built of rough wadi boulders and clay, with clay ovens and floors that were dated tentatively to between the 5th and early 3rd century B.C.

 


Nabataean Private Residence
Excavation date: 1959
Conducted by: American Expedition to Petra, under the direction of Philip C. Hammond (University of Utah) & Peter Parr (British School of Archaeology)
 
This project involved the excavation of the first private Nabataean residence in Petra.  American Expedition to Petra later excavated a series of Nabataean private houses on the northeast slope of Wadi Musa between 1974 and 1977.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 6-7 (1962).


Neolithic Site of Beidha
Excavation date:
1950’s, 1967, 1983
Conducted by: Diana Kirkbride, Department of Antiquities (DoA), Yarmouk University (1983 season)

Beidha is one of the most important Neolithic villages in the region.  Diana Kirkbride’s extensive work found numerous buildings with well-preserved architecture and features and a relative abundance of artifacts such as specialised stone tools.  Excavations revealed a moderately sized early farming community dating to the middle of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, primarily after the 8th millennium B.C.  The settlers lived in round houses that although easy to construct, had a serious drawback – it was difficult to add a room to a round structure and a struggle for a solution is visible.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 6-7 (1962); volume 28 (1984).


Edomite Settlement of Um al-Biyara
Excavation date:
1958, 1960, 1963
Conducted by: Crystal M. Bennett

Um al-Biyara, the highest mountain in the centre of Petra, was an Edomite site during the Iron Age (8th to 7th centuries B.C.).  Excavations uncovered an unfortified Iron Age settlement consisting of a group of houses with long corridor rooms.  A large quantity of loom weights and spindle whorls were recovered, suggesting the settlement was domestic.  The discovery of a clay seal impression dates the settlement to between 673 and 667 B.C.; its restored inscription reads ‘Qos Gabr, King of Edom.’

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 11 (1973); volume 24 (1980).


Reconstructing Archaeological Remains in Petra
Reconstruction date
: 1960
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), under the direction of George R. H. Wright

This project involved: the reconstruction of the Temenos Gate; the re-erection of some of the columns flanking the Colonnaded Street; and the setting up of the portion of the rock-cut column fallen from the façade of the Khazne.  Work on the Temenos Gate concentrated on the north portion.  The lower eroded courses were consolidated with masonry similar to the one originally used on this monument and small holes and fissures were plugged with cement.  In the Colonnaded Street, 10 columns were set up to various heights (including one to full height with the capital in place).  They were erected at the opposite end of the Street from the Temenos Gate.  The last part of the project involved erected a fallen column in the Khazne.  The first stage of the work consisted of consolidating the eroded stump of the column with new masonry by setting small circumferential blocks in cement.  The second stage involved raising the 10-ton column, capital, and shaft.

A report on the reconstruction was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 6-7 (1962).



Main Theatre Excavations
Excavation date:
1961 & 1962
Conducted by: American Expedition to Petra, under the direction of Philip C. Hammond; Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Prior to the excavations in 1961 and 1962, only the upper rows of seats were visible in the Theatre due to 20 centuries of accumulated debris.  The primary purpose of the project was the determination of the stratigraphic history of the monument as well as the recovery of architectural, ceramic, and epigraphic details which would help to establish the chronological history of the Theatre.  In 1961, trenches were opened and excavated in order to investigate the stratigraphy of a definite part of the structure and to relate that part to the rest of the excavation.  The 1982 season focused more on planning and surveying the Theatre and its related features.  All areas of the Theatre complex were planned in detail and the architectural features analysed mathematically, stylistically, and architecturally.  Excavations revealed moulding, facings, decorative carvings, plastered and cemented pieces, and iron and bronze fixtures.  Also recovered was a damaged statue of Hercules.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 8-9 (1964).



Tawilan
Excavation date
:  1968-1970, 1982
Conducted by: Crystal M. Bennett

Tawilan was an Iron Age site near Petra.  Excavations revealed a domestic farming settlement.  A cuneiform tablet, which appears to have been a livestock contract drawn up in north Syria, was discovered.  Crystal Bennett also found an impressive hoard of late 6th or early 5th century B.C. jewelry. 

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 12-13 (1967-68); volume16 (1971); volume 24 (1980).



Religious niches of Sadd al-Ma’jan
Study date:
1978, 1987
Conducted by: Marie-Jeanne Roche, accompanied in 1978 by Assistant Director of the Department of Antiquities (DoA), Fawzi. Zayadine, and in 1987 by an American student in archaeology, Adrian Mandzy 

Sadd al-Ma’jan is a small wadi situated northeast of Petra.  Its entrance is at approximately 900 metres from the Sextius Florentinus Tomb, which lies to the west side of the Khubtha Mountain.  Following a rocky mountain, near the entrance of the narrow pass, are traces of niches dug at several metres up on the walls of each side.  Determining which gods were worshipped in Sadd al-Ma’jan lays out different clues: two inscriptions affirm that both Dushara and al-Uzza were the two main deities in Petra.  The niches date to c. 85-62 B.C. and the 2nd century A.D.

A Report on the study was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 33 (1989).


Roman Inscriptions in the Siq
Project date:
  1979-1980
Conducted by: Jerash-Petra Tourist Project, under the supervision of Muhammed Murshed

In 1979-1980, the clearance of accumulated debris from the Siq was undertaken by the Jerash-Petra Tourist Project.  This operation led to the rediscovery of several inscriptions.  The most significant are engraved on the southern cliff of the Siq, about 400 metres from the Khazne.  One such inscription contains the initials of a military unit, (IIIrd Cyrenaica), uncommon in Petra, and believed to be the first dedication of the legion written in Greek in Petra.

A report on the project was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 30 (1986).



Petra al-Katuteh Excavations
Excavation date:
1981
Conducted by:  University of Jordan, under the direction of Nabil I. Khairy; Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Excavations were carried out in the al-Katuteh area, southeast of Qasr al-Bint, and at the foot of Um al-Biyara.  The aims of the excavations were to obtain clearly stratified data in order to establish the sequence of the site’s different habitations, to collect information relating to Nabataean progress in the field of hydrology, and to understand the Nabataean’s residential and social life.  Three areas were excavated within al-Katuteh (areas B, C, D).  Area A was left for future investigation.  Excavation of area B yielded, among other things, three channels and an architectural complex.  The earliest dating evidence is a Nabataean coin of Aretas IV (9 B.C.-40 A.D.).  Area C revealed an apse of a church, a Byzantine coin of the reign of Justin II (574 A.D.), two Byzantine lamp sherds, a rectangular pavement dating to Aretas IV and the ruins of a staircase dating to the second and third quarters of the 6th century A.D.  A small basin was also discovered most probably to hold water for ritual purposes.  In area D a dwelling room was found whose walls were dressed with the typical Nabataean diagonal grooving.  The room was dated by two coins of Aretas IV.

A Report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 28 (1984).



Explorations of the al-Deir Plateau
Exploration date:
1982, 1983
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

The al-Deir Plateau of Petra was first explored in the early 1900’s but a more precise and detailed examination of the site was carried out by NHG during 1982 and 1983.  One of the main aims of the project was to determine what the monuments and installations on the al-Deir Plateau looked like in ancient times.  Explorations revealed that the al-Deir temple was not meant to stand isolated on an empty plain.  It seems that a peristyle of stuccoed columns defined the place and that the pilgrims or worshippers entered the precinct from the then rock-filled wadi and not from the narrow corridor which is now in use. 

On al-Deir’s roof, a geometrical design was discovered that may have been an architect’s plan or astronomical design.  Also found were a triclinium, cisterns, and a necropolis of rock-dug graves as well as channeling systems that began in the cliff walls high above the plateau with channels conducting the water during the rainy season into many spacious cisterns.  The al-Deir Plateau during the height of the Nabataean Kingdom was a place of worship.

A Report on the explorations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 28 (1984).



Survey of Sabra
Survey date:
(initial explorations in 1969, 1976, 1978 & 1980) 1982, 1990 (Survey co-director, John P. Zeitler)
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

In antiquity, Sabra was a Hellenistic town close to an oasis with a perennial spring.  Situated about 6.5 kilometres from Petra, Sabra had a temple, theatre and a number of private residences.  The recovery of rare pieces of sculpture and pottery dates Sabra to between the   1st and 2nd centuries A.D.  The site was also inhabited in the Early Bronze Age and in the Iron Age II.  The town boasted an elaborate hydraulic system; natural hollows, gutters, gullies, and dams were used to divert rainwater and protect the town from the frequent flash floods.  NHG also conducted cartographic, botanical, and other studies in this oasis town.

Reports on the survey were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 26 (1982); volume 36 (1992).



Study/Survey of the Architecture of the Bdul Bedouins
Survey date:
1983 & 1986
Conducted by: Piotr Bienkowski (Liverpool Museum) with the support of the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History (now known as the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL); Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF); University of Liverpool
 
The 1983 season involved surveying the architecture and recording the traditional way of life of the Bdul, a Bedouin tribe that lived within ancient Petra, occupying the caves, before their relocation to the village of Um Seyhun in 1985.  Studying the ways in which the Bdul adapted the Nabataean caves to their own needs will help to understand Nabataean domestic occupation. 

The 1986 season focused on studying the abandoned caves that had previously been surveyed in detail, to compare the visibility of remains before and after abandonment and surveying the architecture of certain houses in Um Seyhun.  The studies showed that the Bdul left some of the caves’ chambers in their original state, but generally, they built stone walls with a door and windows across the front.  In one large complex of caves there was a stone channel to divert runoff rainwater into a rock-cut well.  Many families planted gardens outside their caves where they grew flowers and herbs.  The little evidence on Nabataean domestic occupation suggests that they too lived in adapted caves.

A Report on the survey was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 33 (1989).



Archaeological Exploration of Ba`ja III
Exploration date:
1983, 1984, 1986 
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

Situated in a mountain (Jabal Ba`ja) north of Beidha lays Ba`ja, named so by the local Bedouins.  The site consists of various cultural layers.  At the foot of Jabal Ba`ja, a ruined village (Ba`ja I) of about 50 houses indicates that the site was used during the Nabataean period.  In 1983 and 1984, NHG explored Jabal Ba`ja and discovered a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site (Ba`ja II) upon ascending through a Siq-like gorge behind the village that was later confirmed by Hans Gebel and his team.  See Ba`ja Neolithic Project.  At the summit of the mountain, the NHG team discovered an Edomite site (Ba`ja III).  In 1986 NHG conducted a series of archaeological expeditions that focused on Ba`ja III, which revealed that it was an Edomite site dating to the Iron Age II (8th and 7th centuries B.C.).  Ba`ja III resembles Um al-Biyara as evidenced by the pottery fragments and the cistern that were found.  Pottery recovered included cooking pots and storage jars.

A Report on the explorations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 31 (1987).



Excavation & Restoration of Qasr al-Bint
Excavation date:
1983, 1984
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), Fawzi Zayadine.  Supervised by F. Larché; Marylene Barret & Patrick Blanc (stucco consolidation); Abdel-Majid Mjelli (consolidation of the northeastern anta)

The main objectives of excavating Qasr al-Bint were to secure dating evidence and architectural elements by the clearance of the eastern compartment of the cella, which had been obstructed by 2.90 metres of stone tumble.  Excavations also took place along the southern wall of the Temple.  Part of the project involved the consolidation of Qasr al-Bint, a highly threatened monument due to seismic activity and weathering.  The consolidation programme included surface cleaning from intrusive deposits such as insects’ nests and the injection of a resin solution to fill the gaps between the sandstone blocks. 

Excavations revealed that: the Temple was constructed under the reign of Obodas III; an earlier monument, dated to a generation before Obodas II, preceded Qasr al-Bint and was coated with stucco; a Roman imperial phase was confirmed by the fragmentary Greek inscriptions; a Byzantine occupation was determined by a burial along the southern wall and a coin of Arcadius (383-408 A.D.); two earthquakes in 363 A.D. and 748-9 A.D. caused major destruction to the Temple and rendered it practically inaccessible.

A Report on the excavation & restoration was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 29 (1985).



The Early Bronze Age Settlement of Um Saysaban
Survey date:
1983, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA); Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG)-Manfred Lindner; University of Kiel-Ulrich Hübner; Deutsches Archäologisches Institut- Hermann Genz; 2001 season: Elisabeth Schreyer and Elisabeth Gunsam

Um Saysaban extends between Jabal al-Deir and Wadi Mirwan.  The plateau was first examined in 1983 where “standing stones” were already identified as remnants of rectangular houses.  Except for a sherd scatter of Nabataean–Roman origin and a few Late Islamic sherds, pottery finds of an earlier date indicated a village-like settlement of the Early Bronze Age.  The surveys and soundings also revealed remnants of around 15 rectangular structures that were preliminarily identified as ruins of houses or parts of houses (rooms). 

Reports on the survey were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 45 (2001); volume 49 (2005).



Excavation of the Neolithic Site of Basta
Excavation date:
3 seasons in 1986, 1987 & 1988
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology of Yarmouk University, Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology of the Freie University of Berlin (FRG)

The project aimed at exploring and excavating the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic site below the modern village of Basta, situated south of Wadi Musa.  Basta is among the largest Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites encountered so far in the southern Levant.  Excavations revealed clay objects, excellent building techniques using dressed stones, and a large well-planned structure consisting of rows of rooms around a central space.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 31 (1987); volume 35 (1991).




The Medieval Petra Project
Survey date:
1986-1990
Conducted by: The Italian archaeological mission of the University of Florence under the direction of Guido Vannini

The purpose of this project is to collect and interpret material data of the 'caracteres originaux' of the first period of the Crusaders' occupation in the Holy land, in the area where archaeological evidence is better preserved and readable from a stratigraphic point of view..  During this research, Petra's central role in the territorial framework of medieval Transjordan was uncovered.  A well-framed classical system of "Incastellamento" (castles setting) of the whole valley arose under the Crusaders' rule when what was left of the ancient city was to be framed by a new system of strongholds and castles at al-Habis, Jabal Atuff, al-Wu'eira, Beidha and al-Shawbak.  Petra with 4 or 5 Crusader castles is one of the highest concentrations of Crusader settlements in the whole Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.  Two of them outweigh the others for political prominence and/or dimensions: al-Wu'eira and al-Habis.

A report on the survey was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 39 (1995).

 


Es-Sadeh: An Important Edomite-Nabataean Site
Exploration date:
1987, 1988 
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

As part of a survey in southern Jordan, Es-Sadeh, a valley of the Edomite upland was explored during 1987 and 1988 by NHG.  Es-Sadeh is located approximately 15 kilometres south-southwest of Petra and is a multi-phase site with a spring.  Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Iron II (Edomite), Early Bronze Age and Nabataean remains were discovered.  The Edomite settlement of Es-Sadeh was tentatively dated to the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. while the earliest Nabataean ware was dated to the 1st century B.C.

Reports on the explorations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 32 (1988); volume 34 (1990).



The Urban Space of Greater Petra, Caravan Roads and Stations
Study date:
1989
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), under the direction of Fawzi Zayadine

Studies on the urban space of Greater Petra revealed that this area was an international centre at the meeting point of an interconnecting road system.  More than seven routes converged towards the central basin.  At the end of each route were impressive caravan stations, supplied with wells or water reservoirs, often with a fort and in several cases with extensive agricultural installations.  At one of the stations (Wadi Sleisel), a 5th century Greek inscription confirms a military garrison and commemorates Abdobodas, son of Obdobodas, a local client of the “ex-magister hopliton.”  Another 5th century Greek inscription at the entrance of Siq Um el-‘Alda refers to an official enterprise.  The purpose of these stations, in relation with the Nabataean Capital, is that the settlements in Greater Petra were designed to live in complete strategic and economical independence, since not all of the caravans stopped in the city centre to avoid constraint and tolls.  

A Report on the study was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 36 (1992).




Analysis of Sandstone Weathering of the Theatre
Analysis date:
1990-1999
Conducted by: Thomas Paradise

The analysis conducted by Thomas Paradise intended to measure the presently weathered surfaces from the original stonemason dressed surfaces in the Theatre, a threatened monument.  526 surface recession measurements were made on the Theatre’s vertical and horizontal surfaces and correlated to intrinsic variables as sandstone lithology, matrix-to-clast ratios, density, and matrix chemistry and to extrinsic variables like annual solar flux.  The studies revealed that sandstone weathering in the Theatre is due to natural forces and human contact including variations in rock matrix chemistry, annual solar flux, touching, leaning, rubbing the surfaces, and foot-tread.  Original dressing marks are rapidly disappearing.  Between 1990 and 1999 those marks have diminished from 15-20% to 5-10%, especially on horizontal surfaces.

A report on the analysis was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 43 (1999).



Al-Wu’eira Crusader Castle
Excavation date:
1990-2002 (light readings 1997-2005)
Conducted by: The Italian archaeological mission of the University of Florence under the direction of Guido Vannini

This castle can be considered a real key-point in the 12th century’s fortified system.  It is isolated and dominates access from the valley with a system of fortifications composed of a double line of defense.  Inside this system, the cassero (or ‘keep’) rises towards the east, in correspondence with the only access to the entire complex.  This is articulated along a narrow stepped ramp, defended internally by a system of barrages and watchtowers, and protected externally by an imposing outer door that is isolated on the Wadi Wu’eira, which exploits an early structure dating to at least Byzantine times, and is furnished with mobile bridges on both sides.

The complex of the fortified church, surrounded by a monumental Crusader cemetery, projects over the north-west corner of the cassero and protects access to the major water cistern of the whole settlement.  All the area was stratigraphically explored by means of archaeological excavation.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 41 (1997).



Late Islamic Villages in the Greater Petra Region
Survey date:
Several exploratory surveys since 1991
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

The aim of this project was to explore previously unknown village sites, examine where and how the villages were built and what kind of pottery was used by their inhabitants.  Six villages were discovered in the Petra Region during the NHG explorations: Khirbat al-Mu’allaq (on top of an Edomite fortress); Khirbat Anajil (a fortified village); Khirbat ar-Ruwayshid (medieval Taybeh); Kutle I; Ba`ja I (reoccupied in the Late Islamic Period); and an-Naq’a II (above the Wadi Musa an-Nemala route).  The surveys revealed that the above villages were all built and inhabited around the Crusader period in the 12th century, with Khirbat al-Mu’allaq as the earliest, the least hidden, and least fortified.  Most likely the villages were abandoned before the geometrically painted Mameluk pottery of the 12th, 13th and 14th century A.D. had a chance to be introduced to village life. 

A Report on the surveys was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 43 (1999).



Khirbat al-Mu’allaq: An Edomite Fortress and A Late Islamic Village
Excavation date:
1991-1995
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner

Khirbat al-Mu’allaq is located 6 kilometres south of Wadi Musa, between this village and Taybeh.  Although an exact date cannot be assigned to the site, two periods of occupation were identified during excavations.  Khirbat al-Mu’allaq was first occupied by Edomites as evidenced by the fortress, which was later reused as a village.  The site was later occupied in the Late Islamic (Ayyubid through Ottoman) Period.   

A Report on the excavation was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 40 (1996).



The Petra Church
Excavation date: 1992 – 1996
Conducted by: American Center of Oriental Research, (ACOR), under the general direction of Patricia M. Bikai

When it was built, the Petra Church had a single apse flanked by two rectangular rooms.  West of the apse was a deep, flat altar area.  The apse and adjacent rooms are at the ends of a broad nave and two aisles, which in turn are reached by three double doors opening out to a narthex.  The nave of the church was paved with sandstone and there were mosaics in the southern aisle and around the altar area; of the latter only fragments remain.  Whether there were mosaics in the north aisle in this period is unknown.  West of the church a three-room baptismal complex was built.  The centre room contained a cross-shaped font under a canopy supported by four columns.  The two adjoining rooms were used in the baptismal ritual.  It is the best-preserved baptistery in the Near East.

In the 6th century, the open area between the church itself and the baptistery complex became a formal atrium with a two-storey portico around it.  In the centre of the atrium, a bell-shaped cistern was constructed to conserve rainwater from the surrounding roofs.  Inside the church itself, the rectangular rooms flanking the central apse were converted into additional apses.  The altar area was raised and marble screens were installed around the altar area during these renovations.  Finally, an elaborate opus sectile floor of marble and stone was installed in both the raised altar area and in the nave.  This type of flooring was very expensive and is found only in the more important churches in the region.

In the two aisles of the church, there were mosaics.  The earliest of these, perhaps dating to the mid-6th century or earlier, is in the southern aisle.  It has a geometric background against which are portrayed animals, birds, and fish on each side.  Down the centre are personifications of the Four Seasons, Wisdom, Earth, and the Ocean; there are also two fishermen, a fowler, and a vase with birds.  Perhaps at the same time as the renovations, a mosaic showing a deer and ostriches was installed in the eastern end of the south aisle.  In the north aisle is a somewhat later mosaic that is continuous from the door to the apse.  Just inside the door, grape vines emerge from a vase and create rows of three roundels up the aisle.  In these are animals and vessels as well as a few human figures.

There were once also wall mosaics.  A few sections of these from the Petra Church show human figures against a background of mosaic cubes with gold leaf.

During the course of the sixth century a cache of papyri documenting a variety of transactions of an extended family were deposited in a room adjacent to the Petra Church.  Among other things, from the papyri, it can be deduced that the Petra Church was dedicated to the “Blessed and All-Holy Lady, the most Glorious Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary.”  The church burned in the late 6th or early 7th century and was never repaired.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 37 (1993); volume 38 (1994); volume 40 (1996).


Jabal al-Qseir: A Fortified Iron II (Edomite) Mountain Stronghold
Survey date:
1993
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner; Ernst Knauf; Johannes Hübl; John Zeitler

Located 2.5 kilometres from Taybeh, Jabal al-Qseir is a mass of dome-shaped hill tops fortified by masonry walls.  Distributed over the space behind the walls are rectangular rock-cut houses or tent foundations on different levels that were cut into or out of the existing dome-shaped hills.  Numerous cisterns with circular openings and channels leading to them were discovered at the site.  Almost every hillock was equipped with at least one channel conducting rainwater into different directions.  The number, size and form of the cisterns indicated an excellent water supply. 

Pottery sherds discovered in Jabal al-Qseir dates the site to the Iron Age II (Edomite) period.  Other fragments can also be dated to the Nabtaean and Byzantine eras.  Ancient terraces show that grain was grown in many fields around the mountain.  The Jabal al-Qseir site was most likely planned and executed as a stronghold but the time span of Edomite use of this site was not very long and probably ended by the 6th century B.C.
A Report on the surveys was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 40 (1996).



Stone Preservation Project
Project date:
1993-2002
Project collaborators: Department of Antiquities (DoA) and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ)

Petra’s rock-cut façades are at risk because of weathering, decay, and lack of conservation.  Especially at risk are the buildings made of ashlar masonry, which is why the DoA and GTZ launched the Stone Preservation Project in 1993.  The objective was to train locals in stone conservation and preservation and ultimately set up a Jordanian team capable of looking after the restoration of the monuments.  The Conservation and Restoration Centre in Petra (CARCIP) was built in 1999/2000 and hopes to achieve the lasting conservation management of Petra.  Undertaken as part of this project were a model restoration of Monument # 825, a number of emergency stabilisations on buildings and façades, and the conservation of tomb # 826.

A Report on the project was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 40 (1996).



Edomite Occupation of Jabal Khubtha
Survey date:
Several explorations since 1967; 1994, 1995
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner; Ernst Knauf; Johannes Hübl; John Zeitler

The Petra basin is walled in on its eastern side by the sandstone mountain of Jabal Khubtha.  Since 1967, survey teams from the NHG have visited and explored Jabal Khubtha several times.  The Nabataeans had developed the mountain with elaborate staricases, cisterns and sanctuaries.  In 1984 and 1986, an al-Uzza relief with square eyes, an intimate sanctuary with seven steps leading to an idol niche, a bench, and a water basin were discovered. 

Prior to 1994, Jabal Khubtha was thought to have been occupied soley during the Nabataean and Roman periods.  However, in surveys during 1994 and 1995, the NHG team discovered pottery fragments that were dated to the Iron Age (Edomite) period, thus confirming Edomite occupation of the mountain.  Given the ceramic finds, the ruins at Jabal Khubtha was most probably an Edomite hamlet used as a retreat and a watch station, as it was fortified by nature.

A Report on the surveys was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 41 (1997).



From Edomite to Late Islamic: Jabal as-Suffaha
Survey date:
1994-1997
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner. Ernst Knauf; Johannes Hübl; Ulrich Hübner

Located 15 kilometres north of Petra, Jabal as-Suffaha contains numerous ruins of settlements of the size of small villages or farmsteads built at different times on rocky outcrops with stone and surrounded by many massive terraces and cultivable fields.  During the NHG surveys, three main phases of occupation were identified in Jabal as-Suffaha as listed below:

Iron II (Edomite) Phase:
This phase is represented by the settlements of Kutle II, Deraj III, Deraj I, and Kutle III.  They were built and inhabited around the 7th century B.C. When the Edomite settlements were abandoned is not exactly known but they were probably abandoned at the time when the Edomite state disappeared.

Nabataean-Roman-Byzantine Phase: This phase is represented by the settlements of Kutle H (2nd century A.D.); Deraj I (reoccupied in the Late Roman-Byzantine period); Deraj II (3rd-4th centuries A.D.); Kutle III (Byzantine period) and the western slope of Jabal as-Suffaha.  The surveys revealed that the inhabitants of Jabal as-Suffaha in the Nabataean to Byzantine periods were first agriculturists and then pastoralists. 

Late Islamic Phase (12th- 16th centuries A.D): Represented by the settlements of Kutle IA, B and Kutle E.  It is not known how long the Late Islamic occupation lasted on Jabal as-Suffaha but it is most likely that settled habitation dwindled before the Ottoman conquest and that nomadic Bedouins took over to this day.
A Report on the surveys was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 42 (1998).




North Ridge Project: The Ridge Church
Excavation date:
1994 – 1998
Conducted by: American Center of Oriental Research, (ACOR), under the direction of Patricia M. Bikai

The Ridge Church may have been built by the army in the late 4th century A.D., making it one of the oldest churches in Jordan.  The site, at the top of Petra’s North Ridge, was certainly occupied by the army from an early period since it commands a 360-degree view of the city centre.  The original building was a plain rectangle and was modified to incorporate an apse.  Even later, the altar area was modified, perhaps in the 6th century, to create a raised platform.  Mosaics were installed on this raised platform but little of these remained.  Additionally, wall mosaics were installed but the pieces excavated are too shattered to give an idea of the composition of the original work.  The church was abandoned in the early 7th century, but parts of it were used by the remnant population at Petra as habitation. 

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 40 (1996).



Architectural Investigation on the Building Techniques of the Nabataeans Investigation date: 1997
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA)

The Nabataeans implemented two types of building techniques in Petra: the construction of buildings out of quarried sandstone blocks and the carving of monuments out of the solid sandstone mountains.  Regarding the first technique, a main quarry in Wadi Siyagh was chosen by the Nabataeans for its stronger quality.  Channels were cut into the stone creating slabs with round holes, which were still attached to the bedrock.  To detach the slabs from the rock, the Nabataeans most probably hammered wooden wedges into the holes of a block and upon wetting, the wood would then swell, pressing the sand grains within the stone and split the stone slab.  The second technique, carving monuments out of the sandstone, can most visibly be seen in tomb façades.  In their investigations of Nabataean building techniques, the DoA concentrated on Tomb 825.  Tomb façades were done from top to bottom.  Before façades were shaped, mountain rock was first cut and smoothly dressed followed by the carving of details.  In order to reach the higher areas of the rock, the stone carvers either came from above or they had movable scaffolding.  

A Report on the investigations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 41 (1997).



Khirbat an-Nawafla Archaeological Project
Project date:
1997, 1998, 1999-2000
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA) – Khairieh Amr; Ahmed al-Momani; Naif al-Nawafleh & Sami al-Nawafleh

A multi-period site extending over an area of around 50,000m2 in the northwestern sector of the town of Wadi Musa, Khirbat an-Nawafla merges with Iron Age Tawilan to the north and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic village of al-Basit to the west.  It was settled by the an-Nawafla tribe around 1870.  The tribe made use of the abundant building stones in constructing their village, which they in turn abandoned in 1975 when they built modern cement houses further uphill from the village.  Excavations at this site revealed that the earliest remains found at Khirbat an-Nawafla date to the Iron Age II (Edomite) period – although there are scarce indications of the Early and Middle Bronze Age as well.  Although the main occupation at Khirbat an-Nawafla was in the Nabataean Period during the 1st century B.C., the site was also occupied during the Late Roman and Byzantine Periods as well as during the Islamic Periods. 

A Report on the project was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 44 (2000).



Al-Basit Neolithic Site
Excavation date:
1997-2000
Conducted by: Nazeh Fino, Sa’ad Tweissi, Lina ‘Arabiyat, Gary Rollefson

Located within the town of Wadi Musa, al-Basit is a medium-sized Late Pre-pottery Neolithic B village that was discovered during the archaeological survey of the Wadi Musa Water Supply and Wastewater Project area in 1996.  Excavations in two parts of the settlement produced evidence of domestic architecture and a rich chipped and ground stone assemblage.  Architecture was densely distributed, consisting of buildings with narrow spaces between them and small rooms constructed on trimmed, thin limestone blocks.  A striking feature in one small room was a standing stone more than a metre long with a ring of smaller stone circles at the base.  There is also evidence for Pottery Neolithic and Early Bonze Age lithics and ceramics.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 42 (1998); volume 46 (2002).



Al-Majaen Dam Project
Project date:
1997
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Located in close proximity to Wadi al-Mudhlim, the al-Majaen Dam was built by the Nabataeans to protect the agricultural lands behind the dam from the threat of flashfloods and to provide these lands with water for irrigation.  With the passing of time, many parts of the dam were damaged by floods.  In 1997 the Department of Antiquities (DoA) conducted a project to reconstruct the al-Majaen Dam. 



Roman Street Project
Excavation date:
1997
Conducted by: American Center of Oriental Research, (ACOR), under the general direction of Pierre M. Bikai; field director: Zbigniew T. Fiema

The excavation site is located at the eastern end of the Colonnaded Street and on its southern side.  Three rooms located directly to the west of the stairway which leads up to the so-called Upper Market, and two rooms to the east of the stairway, were excavated.  Judging from their location, all rooms were commercial establishments, such as shops or taverns.  Additionally, the stairway itself and the area in front of it as well as the adjacent sidewalk of the street were cleared.

The excavations have provided substantial evidence concerning the development and history of the Colonnaded Street design in this area.  Three major phases of occupation can be distinguished, largely corresponding to the Nabataean period (1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.), the Roman imperial period (2nd – early 4th century), and the Byzantine period (4th – early 7th century A.D.).  Well-stratified ceramic and glass deposits allowed for the establishment of the datable ceramic sequence from Petra’s centre, which corresponds to that developed at the nearby site at al-Zantur in the southern part of the Petra Valley.

Although the earliest ceramics in this area date to the early 1st century B.C., no architectural remains can be reasonably associated with that period.  The first major activity at the site resulted in the construction of three rooms west of the later stairway, probably in the first half of the 1st century A.D., or later.  Soundings through the extant pavement of the street have revealed the beaten earth tracks which preceded the pavement, and should be dated to the 1st century A.D.

In the following phase, the stairway was constructed, presumably accompanied by a monumental arch in front of it.  The 114 A.D. inscription which seemingly belonged to that arch had been previously found in the area.  The original rooms were enlarged through the construction of a new façade wall farther north.  The RSP fieldwork results favour the opinion that the stairway is contemporary in construction with the stylobate and the colonnade, the expanded shops, and the extant pavement of the street.  The pottery relevant for the dating of these elements does not date beyond the beginning of the 2nd century A.D.  This development could relate to the last decades of the Nabataean independence, but the Trajanic or generally post-annexation period dating is preferred.

The predominance of storage jars, amphorae, and unused cooking pots among the recovered ceramics supports the commercial function of the rooms.  The find of 186 coins in the eastern rooms may somehow relate to the specific operation conducted there.  The majority of coins are dated to the 4th century A.D., but the 5th century types are also present.  Many were minted before 363 A.D., but the impact of the earthquake of that year on this area is uncertain.  The construction of the so-called “Byzantine shops” on the sidewalk, often encroaching upon the street itself, as well as the blockings of the doorways of the original shops may relate to the earthquake damage and to the increased threat of flooding and the colluvial landslides.  The gradual abandonment of the shops progressed in a linear pattern, from east to west.  The eastern rooms were abandoned in the 5th century, but the latest ceramics found in the westernmost room date to the 6th – 7th century A.D.  There is no indication that the occupation in this area of the street would have continued beyond the mid-7th century A.D.

A Report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 42 (1998).



Ba`ja Neolithic Project
Excavation date:
1997-2001, 2003
Conducted by: the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Amman (Hans Bienert) in cooperation with Ex Oriente, Freie University, Berlin (Hans Gebel) 

Ba`ja is a village that belonged to the earliest sedentary societies in the Near East dated to the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic period around 7,000 B.C.  The village is located in a naturally fortified setting in the sandstone areas approximately 10 kilometres north of Petra in the Amarin tribal area.  Dense terraced stone houses are well preserved and protected from all sides by high rock formations and a deep siq, making Ba`ja the only early village found in such a protected setting that was difficult to access.

Excavations have revealed evidence of vast and rich cultural layers placing Ba`ja as a production centre for a wide variety of goods being traded along the Rift Valley approximately 9,000 years ago.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 42 (1998); volume 44 (2000).



Lithotypes of Rock-Carved Monuments in Petra – Classification and Petrographical Properties
Investigation date:
1997-2000
Conducted by: Kurt Heinrichs & Bernd Fitzner - Aachen University of Technology, Geological Institute

Many of Petra’s stone monuments are endangered due to weathering.  The team from the Geological Institute of Aachen University of Technology carried out studies that focused on the systematic registration and evaluation of monument damage.  The programme combined in situ investigation of monuments and laboratory analyses of all lithotypes.  The in situ studies included a lithological survey and the characterisation, quantification and rating of the weathering state of monuments.  Twenty-five lithotypes were distinguished referring to the stratigraphic units of the Um Ishrin Sandstone Formation and the al-Disi Sandstone Formation. 

A report on the investigations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 44 (2000).



Archaeological Component of the Wadi Musa Water Supply & Wastewater Project
Project date: 1996, 1998-2000
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA), under the direction of Khairieh Amr and Ahmed al-Momani

The main objective behind the archaeological work in the Wadi Musa Water Supply and Wastewater Project was the protection of the archaeological sites during the implementation of the engineering project, which involved mechanical excavations for a length of around 300 kilometres.  The project was carried out in two phases.  The first phase, during 1996, involved the initial survey of the project area and recommendations for the protection of the archaeological sites during the implementation of the Water Supply and Wastewater Project.  The second phase commenced after the engineering contractors mobilised to the work sites and involved implementing the recommendations of phase one. 

Four recorded archaeological sites were protected during the road construction and the excavation for the water and wastewater pipelines between Wadi Musa and Taybeh.  An important outcome of the project was accurate archaeological maps of Wadi Musa and Taybeh and by the end of the second phase, 132 archaeological sites were registered and 627 museum objects were retrieved.  In addition to the thousands of pottery sherds and chipped stones found, thousands of architectural features and tens of burials were recorded.

A report on the project was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 42 (1998); volume 45 (2001).



Jabal Haroun Project
Excavation date:
1998-2005
Conducted by: the Finnish Archaeological Project in Petra, under the direction of Jaakko Frösén of the University of Helsinki

Jabal Haroun (Mountain of Aaron), located 5 kilometres west of Petra is a site of major religious significance and importance to Christians, Muslims and Jews who all share the belief that this is the burial place of Aaron, Moses' brother.  The veneration of Aaron in the Petra area during the Byzantine period is confirmed by the information contained in one of the 6th century papyri found in 1993 in the Petra Church.  The papyri mention the "House of Our Lord High Priest Aaron.”  The excavations of the Finnish Jabal Haroun Project (FJHP) have uncovered large parts of the monastic/pilgrimage complex located on the high plateau of the mountain.  This complex, most probably dedicated to St. Aaron, includes a large basilican church, a chapel, and other structures.  The monastery existed between late 5th and early 8th centuries, if not later.  In addition to the excavations, the FJHP has conducted an intensive survey of the environs of Jabal Haroun.

Reports on the excavations were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 40 (1996); volume 42 (1998); volume 43 (1999); volume 44 (2000); volume 45 (2001); volume 46 (2002); volume 47 (2003); volume 48 (2004).



Elji Village
Excavation date:
1999
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Excavations at Elji village, the old name of Wadi Musa, revealed that this site was settled during different historical periods.  Although the area was settled mainly during the Nabataean era, as evidenced by Nabataean residences, the recovery of artifacts suggests that the site was also inhabited during the late Islamic era of the Ayyubids and Mameluks as well as the Ottoman period. 


Excavation and Survey of Wadi Mataha
Excavation date:
Summer 1999, June-July 2002, 2004-2005
Conducted by: Brigham Young University; Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Brigham Young University and the DoA excavated Nabataean tombs to investigate genetic relationships of those buried and Wadi Mataha.  Excavation of a small Nabataean tomb uncovered a previously unknown form of Nabataean funerary practice consisting of a pattern of faces chiseled in the bedrock and formed of hardened mud including a horned goat figure, a female face with hair locks, and a series of other faces.  Another significant find was a new five-line inscription on sandstone recovered from the bed of Wadi Mataha written in Nabataean script mentioning dedications or gifts to Malichus and Dushara.

Excavations in Wadi Mataha, located in the northern part of Petra, uncovered a Natufian site dating to 11,000 B.C.  The expedition found numerous buildings with well-preserved stone architecture, stone tools, arrowheads, a roasting pit, bedrock mortars for grinding plant foods, and the first portable Natufian art from southern Jordan.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 43 (1999).



Jabal Haroun Restoration
Restoration date:
1999-2000
Conducted by: Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs; supervised by the Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Conducted by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and supervised by the Department of Antiquities, the Jabal Haroun Restoration Project aimed at restoring the old cistern of the shrine and rehabilitating the stairs leading up to the tomb as well as parts of the tomb that needed restoration.



Shammasa, a Fortified Suburb of Ancient Petra
Exploration date:
1999-2001
Conducted by: Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (NHG), under the direction of Manfred Lindner and Elisabeth Gunsam

Shammasa, so called by the local people, is a site less than three kilometres from Petra between Beidha and Um Saysaban.  One of the particularities of the site is the fortified Rock, a huge rock outcrop, 42 metres long.  The Rock appears to be entirely of natural origins as no typical Nabataean or other pickaxe strokes were visible.  The summit was originally surrounded by a wall of carefully chosen, durable ashlars accurately set upon rock-hewn ledges with a cluster of house ruins protected by the fortified Rock.  The Rock most likely was used as a castle tower in times of distress.  Also found on the site were a large arable and even now partly cultivated extent of good land, four winepresses, two cisterns, four quarries combining three different methods of producing building stones, a sophisticated Dushara sanctuary, and an incised altar at the rock face of a closed-down quarry. 

Four occupational phases were identified at the site: Nabataean-Roman; Late Roman-Byzantine; Medieval Bedouin; and recent Bedouin.  As a thriving suburb of ancient Petra, Shammasa was in antiquity a composite apt to meet, with different strategies, the exigencies of a large freeholding family or of a wealthy landowner.  In later centuries it was possibly owned by a member of the curial class.

A Report on the explorations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 46 (2002).



Khirbat ad-Dahba Excavation
Excavation date:
2000
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA)

Khirbat ad-Dahba is located in the southern part of Taybeh.  Excavations undertaken by the DoA in 2000 dated the site to the late Nabataean period.  The recovery of pottery and the unearthing of damaged walls and building floors also dated this site to the Late Islamic and Byzantine eras.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 46 (2002).



Excavations at the Petra Small Temple
Excavation date:
2000, 2001, 2002
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA); Sara Karz Reid, Brown University

The Petra Small Temple complex is located between the Qasr al-Bint to the west and the Great Temple to the east.  During 2000 and 2001, the excavations focused on the interior of the building, in which an abundance of marble was discovered in the form of revetment, cornices, a pair of basins, and several hundred fragments of Greek and Latin inscriptions.  Several of these fragments revealed content relating to Roman rule.  Analysis of the marble suggests that most of it originated in western Anatolia or in the Greek islands, as there are no geologic sources of marble in or near Petra.  In 2002, excavation of the building interior and the portico was completed and focused on the staircase and courtyard to the north.  It is possible that after the Roman annexation of Petra in 106 A.D. the building was used as an imperial cult building dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperor.  The use of the Small Temple during Nabataean phases is unknown.

A report on the excavation was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 46 (2002).



North Ridge Project: Petra Blue Chapel
Excavation date:
2000 – 2002
Conducted by: American Center of Oriental Research, (ACOR) under the direction of Patricia M. Bikai.

On the slope above the Petra Church was a large building that may have originally been military in nature, perhaps a barracks.  At about the same time as the construction of the Petra Church, that building was converted for use by the Christian community, perhaps as the residence of the bishop.  Part of the rebuilding programme also included the creation of the Blue Chapel, named after the four Turkish blue granite columns that were moved there, presumably from a nearby ruined Nabataean monument.  In rose-red Petra, these blue columns stand out, as do their beautifully simple limestone capitals.

That the Blue Chapel was private is indicated by the fact that it can only be reached via a narrow staircase from the upper part of the building – not a likely public access.  Further it is very small; the proper measures only 111 metres square as compared to the Ridge Church at 158 metres square and the Petra Church at 358 metres square.  Thus its size and difficulty of access indicate that the Blue Chapel was not meant for large public gatherings; these factors and the existence of the base of a bishop’s throne behind the altar suggest that the complex may have been the residence of the bishop.

To the west of the chapel is a courtyard with an atrium surrounded by a single-storey portico.  The upper building of the Blue Chapel complex consists of three sections.  The central section has a room with a large door to the west and a courtyard to the east.  To the north are a series of small rooms and to the south is a vaulted room to the west and a portico for the courtyard toward the east.  The upper building may have served as the actual residence for the bishop and his retinue.

During the renovations of the 6th century, a throne for a bishop was installed behind the altar and benches for the clergy placed on either side of the altar.  The latticework pulpit, perhaps added at this time, is exceptional.  The bluish marble of this, of the chancel posts and screens, and of a reliquary installed in a niche in the northern apse continues the decorative programme created by the blue columns.


Al-Habis Crusader Castle
Project date: 2002 (light readings 1997-2005)
Conducted by: The Italian archaeological mission of the University of Florence under the direction of Guido Vannini

The rocky cliff of al-Habis is located at the centre of the Petra valley, overlooking the Colonnaded Street and the major monuments of the ancient city.  The assemblage of data collected indicates that al-Habis played a significant role in the military control of Petra in the 12th century.  Archaeological evidence clearly shows that the site had been occupied since antiquity, even if pre-Crusader phases do not seem to have spread over the whole hill, but tended to concentrate at the higher levels, in an area corresponding to the first and second rings of Crusader curtain walls.

Crusader occupation seems to have been developed in two phases.  The stratigraphic analyses of built structures (no excavation has been undertaken so far on this site) show that building activities were at first only related to the area of the cassero (‘keep’), where a previous Byzantine tower/keep was also located.  In a second phase the settlement developed in the lower terraces, and also included the set-up of a great cistern abutting on the second ring of curtain walls (in the masonry of the cistern a fragmentary Byzantine inscription was walled, partly upside-down).

Masonry analyses show a very strict similarity between al-Habis and al-Wu’eira concerning walling techniques.  Nevertheless, medieval structures in al-Habis show an extensive reuse of ancient squared stones, a typical feature for an ‘urban’ fortress that could be supplied with building materials recovered from nearby ruined buildings.

 


Cleaning and Excavation of the Renaissance Tomb
Excavation date:
2003
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA); Caroline Heguenot; Mahmoud Mohammed al-Bdool; Stephan Schmid

The Renaissance Tomb, located in Wadi Farasa, is dated to the late 1st century B.C. or very early 1st century A.D.  During the cleaning of the Tomb, 14 graves were found, all of which were looted and this most probably already occurred during the medieval period as is indicated by the important amounts of medieval pottery found on the surface and inside most of the tombs.  The Renaissance Tomb has several peculiarities, especially in its façade.  For instance, the entire façade is warped but it is not clear whether this was an error by the stonecutters or whether it happened in order to avoid weaker parts of the sandstone.  Furthermore, the space in front of the Tomb is not completely finished.  These elements could indicate the abandonment of the Tomb before it was completely finished.  Excavation and documentation of the Tomb followed the cleaning phase.  Excavation revealed a number of artifacts such as two inscribed tombstones, stone mortar, and a grinding stone.
 

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 48 (2004).



Radar Investigations in Petra's Necropolises
Project date:
10 days in 2003 & 2005
Conducted by: Isabelle Sachet and Rémy Chapoulie (French Archaeological Mission in Petra, under the direction of Christian Augé, Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the help of IFPO)

The project is part of a research programme elaborated by Isabelle Sachet (IFPO Amman) for her PhD, entitled “Death in Ancient Arabia: Comparative Nabataean Funerary Practices,” and by the Department of geophysics in the University of Bordeaux.  This survey took place in different funerary areas of Petra.  The geophysical prospecting was carried out using geological radar (GPR, Ground Penetrating Radar).  The main goals of the project were to use geophysical means to find: 

  •  New rock-tombs carved in sandstone ground, especially shaft-tombs.
  • Walls and other built features in front of façade-tombs.

The idea was to map the common necropolis and to draw plans of the remains of monumental funerary complexes without any excavation.  Preliminary results were encouraging and allowed the proposition that radar is one of the best methods to locate shaft-tombs with an underground chamber.  Research on funerary complexes mapping is still in progress.  Only archaeological soundings would be necessary over selected areas to provide chronological data.  Finally, GPR should be used in extensive areas as a non-destructive method for analysing and interpreting ancient structures.  A scientific movie has been shot to provide a video documentary on geophysical survey.  The intention is to give academic support for archaeological and geophysical courses.  An Arabic version will be available for Near Eastern universities.

A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 48 (2004).

 


The Hellenistic Petra Project: Excavations in the Civic Centre
Excavation date:
2004
Conducted by: Department of Antiquities (DoA); David Graf; Leigh-Ann Bedal; Stephan Schmid; Steven Sidebotham

The main objective of this project was to locate, define the character, and determine the perimeters of the early Hellenistic settlement of the Nabataeans at Petra (pre-100 B.C.) as this period has remained relatively unknown.  A number of small exploratory soundings in the civic centre were carried out with the intention of exposing evidence for the prior settlement during the late Achaemenid Persian and early Hellenistic era.  Excavations were conducted adjacent to the Colonnaded Street and at the western terminus of the street, just inside and to the northwest of the Temenos Gate. 

The Hellenistic Petra Project was successful in exposing remains of the pre-100 B.C. Hellenistic period.  Humble dwellings constructed with very rough limestone were found and are believed to be only peripheral to a larger settlement.  Burnt wood that dated to early Hellenistic settlement and Phoenician coins were also retrieved from excavations, which suggests the vitality of the commercial relations the settlement was engaged in during the 3rd century B.C.  More substantial buildings must have existed on the hills above the south of the wadi and most likely these structures were destroyed and in their place the Nabataean and Roman city was erected. 
 
A report on the excavations was published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 49 (2005).

 


Obodas Chapel Project
Excavation date:
  June 16 – July 14, 2005
Conducted by: French Archaeological Mission in Petra, IFPO under the direction of Christian Augé (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique –CNRS)

The Obodas Chapel is a rock-cut sanctuary located in the Nmayr area of Petra, approximately 1 kilometre south of the Theatre.  The Obodas Chapel Project was first initiated in 2001 by Laila Nehmé (CNRS) which was followed in spring 2002 and fall 2003 by two short campaigns and by a more substantial one in 2004.  The 2005 season focused on the rock-cut chamber Dalman Inv. # 1296, the blocked rock-cut chamber discovered in 2004 on the eastern side of the esplanade, the southern entrance of the complex, the area situated on the north-east of the rock-cut chamber Dalman Inv. # 1296 and of the cistern Dalman Inv. # 1297, a newly discovered stibadium connected to the niches (Brünnow and Domaszewski Inv. # 289), and the biclinium Nehmé Inv. # N19.

A further season is planned in June and July, with the aim of excavating the 1st century B.C. religious complex mentioned in the 20 A.D. dedication of the Obodas Chapel.

Reports on the project were published in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), volume 46 (2002); volume 49 (2005).



Biomineralisation of Jordanian Sandstone: A Preliminary Study for Evaluating a Preservation Process
Project date: 2005
Conducted by: Rémy Chapoulie, Magali Hamel, Vincent Vugier
Laboratory: IRAMAT, CNRS-Bordeaux 3 University, France

The biomineralisation method is based on the ability of certain bacteria to generate carbonates and form a biocalcine at the surface of rocks, resulting in a hardened layer which makes it less porous and stronger.  At first implemented in Europe on calcareous rocks, the method was tested on a sample of sandstone from Mukhaifer, near Petra.  This sample was taken in October 2003 at an appropriate spot, distant from the archaeological site but showing similar geological and physical features.  The material consists of quartz sandstone with mostly siliceous cement.  It is highly porous and friable; the quartz grains being very slightly cemented.  The surface is covered with a thin layer of clay dust.

In March 2004, this sample underwent bacterial processing in a laboratory in Bordeaux (France).  Observations and analyses were then carried out at regular intervals by SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry.  The results were obtained in the first two weeks after the processing, then one year later, showed that the bacterial solution leads to the development of mineral species, which partly fill in the pores on the surface.

  • Two weeks after processing, two new types of crystals were simultaneously observed: rod-like crystals (perhaps apatite and calcite), and crystals in the shape of truncated prisms (perhaps magnesium carbonate and magnesium phosphate).
  • One year later, both types were still present and the crystals were found in larger numbers.

This research opens up new prospects for applying the biomineralisation process to the protection of sandstone monuments: it might possibly allow a better preservation of stone.  The observations made on the mineral species are rather promising, but they must on no account be regarded as definitely solving the problem of stone conservation.  It is necessary to carry on with the analyses, in order to appreciate the long-term effects of bacterial solutions.

 

Beidha in Jordan: A Dionysian Hall in a Nabataean Landscape
Project date:
2005
Conducted by: Patricia Maynor Bikai, Chrysanthos Kanellopoulos, and Shari Lee Saunders

In 2005, at Beidha, the remains of an elaborately decorated free-standing building were uncovered. On the basis of what was found, it was possible to reconstruct the building on paper. The heart of the building was a colonnaded hall which may have been used for ritual dining by the Nabataean ruler Malichos I (59/58–30 B.C.E.). The program of the hall includes many elements that refer to Dionysos. This AJA article argues that the complex, which was abandoned shortly after it went into use, was built to extol living in luxury and to associate the Nabataean royal house with Dionysos and Alexander.

Patricia Maynor Bikai, Chrysanthos Kanellopoulos, and Shari Lee Saunders, Beidha in Jordan: A Dionysian Hall in a Nabataean Landscape, American Journal of Archaeology 112(3):465-507.



   
 
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