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Sie sind hier: Startseite Events Archaeological Field School Week Two

Archaeological Field School Week Two

Week Two

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

22-28 May 2016

 

Life is unpredictable. In twenty years of working in Jordan, only once have I seen rain during our late spring/early summer field seasons, and never anything like this. Monday and Tuesday were unseasonable cold, and Tuesday we were actually “rained out”, forcing us to close an hour and a half early and return to camp. The dark skies made for some incredible photography opportunities, though, which are featured here.

 

It was an eventful and productive week, weather aside. Excavations in our medieval farmhouses on the west slope produced evidence of a rather affluent village community, as well as a complicated history of demolition, in some cases, and reuse and refurbishing, in others, of Early Islamic structures in the Mamluk period. One farmhouse yielded rich information about daily life, including diet (an entire assemblage of vessels used for cooking and storage of food) and entertainment (the playing of chess, possible smoking device), all recovered from household garbage. It also, quite surprisingly, yielded a very fine flagstone floor, with parallels in Mamluk Cairo, and more beautiful imported lustered and enameled vessels from one room (beakers, perfume bottles), bearing witness to a relatively high standard of living and economic connections with larger urban markets. A large number of potential storage rooms were identified throughout the site, which will be the focus of investigations this coming week.

 

Archaeologists love floors and trash pits. Palaeobotanists are particularly fond of them, as they are rich contexts for the retrieval of seeds, pollen, phytoliths, and seeds for the study of diet, climate, and agriculture. This week our archaeobotanist was heavily occupied with sampling from these contexts – which have been numerous this season - and processing of the soils back at camp. We eagerly await the post-season results of her analysis and of our other environmental scientists.

 

Our team members from the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg participated in the large, tri-annual International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan, held in Amman this week (http://www.ichaj.org/). Gül Şen gave a paper on one of her post-doc projects on Ottoman Jordan (with a focus on Hisban), Reem al-Shqour’s paper focused on her research on Mamluk khans in Jordan and their economic role, and I spoke on the emerging picture of rural society in Mamluk Jordan (putting Hisban into a regional context). Zakariya Na’imat, a doctoral student at the University of Bonn and friend of the Kolleg, also gave a paper on his PhD project on the economy of Early Islamic Syria as reflected in the so-called “desert castles” (and the site of Shuqayra al-Gharbiyya). Uni-Bonn and the Kolleg were featured quite prominently at this conference.

 

This weekend took participants of the field school to the Dead Sea and the Early Islamic “desert castles” of Mshatta (the façade of which is at the Islamic Museum in Berlin), Qusayr Amra (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and Kharana, as well as the Ayyubid-era basalt fort at Azraq.

 

As for this week’s academic program, we had hands-on workshops on zooarchaeology and archaeobotany by Sten LaBianca and Annette Hansen, respectively, and I lectured on Mamluk culture, comparing the frontier material culture of Tall Hisban with the urban culture of the sultanate’s capital in Cairo in the 14th century.

 

We had many visitors to the site this week, largely the result of the influx into the country of scholars and our colleagues for the ICHAJ conference, including members of the Norwegian Embassy, the University of Florence team excavating at Shobak Castle, and my doctoral students from Uni-Bonn Zakariya Na’imat and Hussein al-Sababha.

 

This week was also a special one for Jordan, with the 70th anniversary of Independence Day, which we celebrated by raising Jordanian flags throughout our site and the sharing of sweets. This coming week is the important 100-year celebration of the launch of the Arab Revolt, which features so prominently in the country’s history.

 

We have only one more week remaining in this year’s excavation season. It will be intense, and we are excited to see the results!

 

Submitted by Bethany Walker, Director of Excavations

29 May 2016

 

 

Excavation team of Mamluk Houses 

Excavation team of Mamluk Houses

 

Harana

Harana

 

Jordan Independence Day at Tall Hisban 1

Jordan Independence Day at Tall Hisban 1

 

Jordan Independence Day at Tall Hisban 2

Jordan Independence Day at Tall Hisban 2

 

Lunch at Harana

Lunch at Harana

 

On the way to the Dead Sea

On the way to the Dead Sea

 

Second Breakfast at the site

Second Breakfast at the site

 

Sunrise at Tall Hisban 1

Sunrise at Tall Hisban 1

 

Sunrise at Tall Hisban 1

Sunrise at Tall Hisban 2

 

Visiting Mushata 1

Visiting Mushata 1

 

Visiting Mushata 2

Visiting Mushata 2

 

Visiting Mushata 3

Visiting Mushata 3

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