Survey 2010 in the Wadi al-'Arab

From July 17th until August 9th, 2010 a survey of the Wadi al-Arab and its vicinity was conducted by the Biblical-Archaeological Institute Wuppertal and the German Protestant Institute for Archaeology.  The survey is an integral part of the Gadara Region Project.

It is planned to be a hinterland survey for the Tall Zira'a excavation.  We carry out this survey during three seasons each three weeks long.  The survey season this year was the second after the reconnaissance by Dieter Vieweger in 1999.

During the season 2010, 57 sites were recorded.  While during the first season in 2009, the lower part of the Wadi al-ĎArab from North Shuna up to Doqara was surveyed, this season the survey covered the area from Doqara up to the vicinity of Irbid.  The nature of the landscape changes while approaching the upper part of the Wadi al-ĎArab.  The Wadi is cut deeper and one can find the settlements mostly at the edges high above the Wadi.

The majority of the ancient settlements have been known before by the work of Glueck and Mittmann.  Almost all of the modern villages turned out to date back at least to the Roman and/or Byzantine periods, some of them to the Iron Age or the Bronze Age.

Only very few of the ancient settlements are not covered and destroyed by modern settlements.  That includes also most of the Islamic places of the Wadi al-ĎArab.  It is especially very sad to note that none of the old mosques in the area of the Wadi - some of them dating back to the Mediaeval period - are no longer in existence.  To our knowledge, the last old mosque in the area can be found in the village Harga.  Even this one is in a very bad condition.

Despite the continuing demolition of the ancient sites, we could discover a representative amount of pottery from all sites, from which can derive a concise overview of the history of the Wadi al-ĎArab.  The survey will be continued in summer 2011.  


Literature mentioned above:

Glueck, N.: Explorations in the Eastern Palestine IV (AASOR 25-28; New Haven 1951), 182ff.

Mittmann, S. Beiträge zur Siedlungs- und Territorialgeschichte des nördlichen Ostjordanlandes. Abhandlungen des Deutschen Palästinavereins 2, 1970.

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Sometimes the Survey Team is in the dark - not only because of the torridity...

Project Partners

Biblical Archaeological Institute Wuppertal   (BAI
German Protestant Institute of Archaeology (GPIA)

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Patronage

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan ibn Talal  took up the patronage of this project as a representative of the royal house.

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Friends and Donors

  • Gerda Henkel-Stiftung, Wuppertal
  • Förderverein DEI
  • Kulturhilfe des Auswärtigen Amtes der BR Deutschland

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Cooperations

We cooperate closely with many universities, institutes and companies.

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