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Prof. Dr. Bethany J. Walker

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Sie sind hier: Startseite Events Archaeological Field School Week One

Archaeological Field School Week One

Week One

Reports from the Field – Tall Hisban 2016 excavation season, Jordan

15-21 May 2016

 

The Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg launched its third Mamluk archaeological field school this week, in partnership with Andrews and Missouri State Universities in the U.S. The three-week field school is designed as an ASK summer school to train Mamluk scholars in material culture methods, to further the research of current ASK fellows, and to promote the study of the Mamluk period among archaeologists. It takes place at Tall Hisban in central Jordan, the flagship Mamluk-era site in the country. With a well-preserved Citadel of the 14th century and the contemporary village, the site is uniquely suited for the study of the Mamluks’ exercise of power on the frontier and of the contours of rural life, which are otherwise poorly documented in period texts.

 

Our 12-member team joined our American colleagues (17 in number) at “camp” at a hotel in Madaba last Friday. Excavation began last Sunday, during the onslaught of an unseasonable heatwave, which lasted for two days. The heat didn’t hamper our enthusiasm, and the 2016 season got off to a great start this week.

 

Excavation this year continues work of the last two seasons in portions of the Mamluk-era village located on the slopes of the tell and in the shadows of the Citadel. Several farmhouses of the Mamluk and Ottoman periods are under investigation. They are well-preserved, one-room structures with shared courtyards and cisterns, and heavily plastered floors and walls (some even painted!). Our goals for this season are to reach foundation trenches and be able to date the original construction of these buildings (which largely reuse earlier buildings), map the physical layout of the village and identify neighborhoods and the pathways connecting them, and to document the spatial patterning of artifacts in each farmhouse in order to better understand the structure of the medieval Islamic household and the activities of daily life. Our integrated environmental research continues, as well, and our archaeobotanist, Annette Hansen, who helped us teach our Spring School on environmental methods, has joined us again this season. The mapping of the village this year is aided by multiple methods of low altitude photography, including boom shots, panorama photography, and 3-D modelling, combined with previous drone photography and GIS. We are also attempting to correlate the complex subterranean structures with the standing buildings on the same maps. This year we launch the newly developed, full-scale Filemaker template for our field recording on IPads, which was demoed last season.

 

Noteworthy finds of this week were the discovery of a subterranean vaulted passageway on the northern slope, apparently leading into the Citadel; some very fine fragments of luster-painted and enameled glass from one of the farmhouses (and NOT the Citadel); more ceramic evidence of the elusive 16th century; and imported pottery of the Ayyubid and early Mamluk eras, a period that is not well known or documented archaeologically in the region.

 

Last weekend’s excursion included walking, hiking, and bus tours of Byzantine sites and other sites on the Madaba Plains (the town of Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Umm al-Rasas, Dhiban, Machaerus fortress, and Khirbat Ataruz). This weekend we visit the Decapolis cities and other sites in northern Jordan (the city and Citadel of Amman, the Baq’ah Valley, ʿAjlun Castle, Gadara/Umm Qeis, Pella, Tell Deir ʿAllah, and the Jordan Valley.

 

Our academic schedule this week consisted of a joint evening lecture by myself and Sten LaBianca on the scientific goals of the season and our ongoing community outreach and heritage management efforts, as well as a workshop on technical drawing of objects. Two hours each afternoon are spent working with pottery, with my giving impromptu lessons on Mamluk ceramics at the pottery reading table.

 

We were visited in the field by three tour groups (one from Canada), numerous governmental officials, and colleagues from the Department of Antiquities, who have been extremely supportive of our research focus on the Mamluk period.

 

Submitted by Bethany Walker, Director of Excavations

22 May 2016

 

 Aufstellung der Siebe vor Arbeitsbeginn

 Aufstellung der Siebe vor Arbeitsbeginn

 

Besichtigung von Umm Ar-Rasas

 Besichtigung von Umm Ar-Rasas

 

Blick von Tall Hisban zu den Lichtern von Jerusalem

Blick von Tall Hisban zu den Lichtern von Jerusalem

 

Entnahme von Bodenproben zur archaeobotanischen Analyse

Entnahme von Bodenproben zur archaeobotanischen Analyse

 

Inspektion von Tall Hisban in der Morgendaemmerung

Inspektion von Tall Hisban in der Morgendämmerung

 

Kamera in luftiger Hoehe fuer Uebersichtsbilder

Kamera in luftiger Höhe für Übersichtsbilder

 

Photomast fuer Uebersichtsbilder

Photomast für Übersichtsbilder

 

Prof. Bethany Walker mit den Teilnehmern auf der Spitze von Tall Hisban

Prof. Bethany Walker mit den Teilnehmern auf der Spitze von Tall Hisban

 

Prof. Bethany Walker zeigt den Teilnehmern Tall Hisban

Prof. Bethany Walker zeigt den Teilnehmern Tall Hisban

 

Sonnenuntergang am Mount Nebo

Sonnenuntergang am Mount Nebo

 

Vollmond ueber Tall Hisban

Vollmond ueber Tall Hisban

 

 
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