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Hisham's Palace in Context: The archaeological survey and excavations in the hinterland of Khirbat al Mafjar, Jericho

 

 

 Mahmoud Hawari, British Museum

4pm, 12th November  2015, BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or www.britishmuseum.org     and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar'  and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.

Lecture Poster 12th November 2015.pdf

PEF 150TH ANNIVERSARY LECTURE SERIES

In Association with the British Museum Department of Middle East

Supported by the Wellcome Trust and Maney Publishing


       Courtesy Mahmoud Hawari                    

The hinterland of Khirbat al-Mafjar. Photo courtesy of M. Hawari

 

The palace at Khirbet Al Mafjar

The Ruins of the early Islamic palace at Khirbat al-Mafjar. Photo courtesy of F. Cobbing


Summary

The Khirbat al-Mafjar Archaeological Project was initiated to achieve better understanding of ‘Hisham’s Palace’ (dated to the Umayyad period, 8th century) within the context of its cultural landscape and historical environment in particular and the phenomenon of the Umayyad palaces in the Levant in general. Five seasons of landscape archaeological survey and excavations in the hinterland of the palace (2010- 2014) have revealed a large enclosure wall surrounding extensive fertile lands to the north and east, two major aqueducts with two monumental bridges, a large reservoir and a water mill. The elucidation of the water management system that supplied the palace, its baths and agricultural estate enclosed by a wall, of the water mill and the large reservoir on the aqueduct to the west, begin to give context to Hisham’s Palace. These features were part of a uniform Umayyad work of the first half of the 8th century contemporary with the construction of the palatial complex. The overall results of the fieldwork, which is the only source of information available, have changed our perception of Hisham’s Palace. It was not only apleasure palace, but rather part of a large agricultural settlement.This conforms to a common template of numerous palatial complexes in the Levant which were built by the Umayyads at the centre of agricultural settlements aimed at generating revenues and expanding their political power into the periphery of urban centres.

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