Prominent Palestinian Archaeologists of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

By Loay Abu Alsaud, Department of Tourism and Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Educational Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine. loayabualsaud@najah.edu Presenting a new collection of biographical information on formerly overlooked Palestinian archaeologists and those following in their footsteps, to the present day During the 19th and 20th centuries, accounts of Western expeditions and research dominated the archaeological history of Palestine. Owing to centuries of foreign control, Palestinians did not have their own archaeological research base. Nevertheless, during the early to mid-20th century, there were Palestinian archaeologists as integral members of Western teams, involved in tasks in all areas. Working side by side with westerners, a number of them acquired professional archaeological skills and expertise. The Western expeditions depended on…

Islamic Baydha Project 2022/2023: steps towards publication

During the past few years, the Islamic Baydha Project has been moving towards data processing and publication of the results from the study of the two mosques at the Islamic village. In 2019, the Islamic Baydha Project team had a final season of excavations at one of the mosques, a season funded by the Barakat Trust and the Altajir Trust, with the goal to examine the relationship between the mosque and the courtyard outside of it, as well as the relationship between the mosque and the earlier structures on which the mosque was built.  With the start of the pandemic and the consequent difficulty in undertaking fieldwork, I have focused mainly on the processing of data and finds in preparation…

The Petra Hinterland Social Landscapes Project. Launch of First Season in 2022

By Will M. Kennedy After some considerable delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first field season of the Petra Hinterland Social Landscapes Project (PHSLP) was finally realized in June/ July 2022.  It is assumed that Nabataean Petra was greatly impacted by a social structure that was rooted in family, clan or tribal traditions. While such socio-political aspects of Nabataean culture have already been extensively explored in urban Petra, investigations of similar aspects in the city’s hinterland are only beginning to gain wider scholarly attention. However, important archaeological sites may be identified in the Petraean hinterland as possible archaeological markers of distinct social landscapes in Petra’s surroundings. These include specific cultic sites such as rural sanctuaries or isolated cultic installations,…

Investigating changing socio-economic landscapes in the Early Bronze Age Levant through Zooarchaeology

By Gwendoline Maurer & Mariana Albuquerque UCL Institute of Archaeology. Back in February 2022, we received the great news in our inbox that The Palestine Exploration Fund had awarded us funding to travel to Haifa to carry out zooarchaeological research related to the Early Bronze Age of the Levant. By May 2022, we were once again back in Israel and found ourselves at the University of Haifa. There, we were warmly welcomed by Dr. Nimrod Marom, and his team, at the Laboratory for Mediterranean Archaeology (MAR). Their impressive reference collection was invaluable to our work. Surrounded by skeletons of Persian gazelles, ibex, jackals, wolves, and fallow deer, among others, we felt right at home. Fig. 1 – University of Haifa…

‘‘Sacred Landscapes’’: the Umayyad Syro-Jordanian Hajj Roads to Mecca and their Pilgrim Camps

By Claudine Dauphin. 8th May 2022: after two Covid years I am back in Amman to investigate the Umayyad Hajj road to Mecca, after tracing the Mediaeval and Ottoman routes. Despite the fundamental role of the Ummayyad caliphs (661-750 CE) in shaping the Hajj, owing to the absence of Umayyad travelogues, the course of the first Hajj route after the Arab Conquest (636 CE) had remained elusive. Scholars took for granted that it was identical to the later Mediaeval road. Yet, as described in an early Islamic manuscript, Caliph Mu’âwiya ibn Abî Sufyan (r. 661-680) travelling on the Northern Hajj Road (Darb al-Hajj al-Shami) from Damascus to Mecca, invited the pilgrims from Egypt to join him at ‘Ayla (Aqaba) and follow…

Researching Palestinian psychiatric patients at the Lebanon Hospital for Mental Diseases

By Chris Sandal-Wilson. Back in March 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic escalating and the first national lockdown beginning in the United Kingdom, a rare piece of good news brightened my inbox: the Palestine Exploration Fund had awarded me funding to travel to Beirut to research the history of Palestinian psychiatric patients at the Lebanon Hospital for Mental Diseases in the first half of the twentieth century. In researching my first book on colonial psychiatry and mental illness in British mandate Palestine, I had been struck by the number of Palestinian families who seemed to look north across the newly drawn border to Lebanon for the treatment of mentally ill relatives. I was excited at the prospect of using the archives…

Overlooked Archaeologists of Palestine

By Loay Abu Alsaud. Our endeavour was to bring to light early contributions made to archaeology in Palestine by key Palestinians who have been overlooked by researchers. The first foreign scientific excavations took place in Palestine in the late 19th century and by the 1920s, European and American teams were arriving in Palestine, attempting to link archaeological sites to Biblical passages. They needed support personnel and recruited Palestinian men and women. Of note were three Palestinians, who became proficient at complex, skilled work and were given key onsite responsibilities, influencing the progress of archaeology in Palestine. They were Yusra (Turn 20th C–Unknown) whose surname is unknown (Al-Ḥefaweyeh or Al-Karmelyeh may be seen). Naṣr Dyab Dwekat (1917–2011) and Ibrahim Amin Asa’d…

The 2022 survey at Khirbet al-Mudayna al-‘Aliya, Jordan

Diederik J. H. Halbertsma, University of Liverpool, Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egpytology. In May 2022 we conducted a survey season at the archaeological site of Khirbet al-Mudayna al-‘Aliya (KMA for short), south-central Jordan, with a small team. The site is located in the eastern part the Kerak plateau, on a promontory overlooking the Wadi al-Mukhayris. KMA is a 2.3 ha. single-period site which dates to the end of the early Iron Age period. The early Iron Age followed a cataclysmic time commonly known as the ‘Late Bronze Age collapse’ (ca. 1200 BCE), which saw the demise of great empires. The Levant, which had largely been governed by the Hittites and the Egyptians, suddenly found itself in a power vacuum.…

Khirbat al-Mafjar Archaeological Project, Jericho, Palestine

Mahmoud Hawari. Six seasons of landscape archaeological survey and excavations (2009 – 2014) in the Khirbat al-Mafjar hinterland of ‘Hisham’s Palace’, Jericho, sponsored by Barakat Trust (2010-2014) and Council for British Research in the Levant (architectural drawings 2010), including a recent 4 days topographic survey sponsored by the PEF (March 2022), were carried out. The project, directed by myself, and with the participation of staff and students from Birzeit University, and the collaboration of staff and students from University College London (UCL), aimed to achieve better understanding of the palace in the context of its historical and cultural landscape. The first survey of the Jericho area, including Khirbat al-Mafjar, which was carried out by Warren and Conder on behalf of…

Back to Black (the Desert)

A blog on the Eastern Badia Archaeological Project, Jordan Yorke M. Rowan The Eastern Badia Archaeological Project investigates two regions located in the Black Desert of Eastern Jordan, Wadi al-Qattafi and Wisad Pools. Both areas, situated along the southeastern edge of the basaltic area known as the harra, may have been more attractive in the past than the current desolate appearance would lead us to believe. Our current focus in the field are the excavation of two buildings at Wisad Pools, an area with hundreds of structures and over 400 petroglyphs. Our survey and excavations suggest that many of the collapsed buildings near the pools date to the Late Neolithic period (6,500-5,000 BC), attracting hunters and pastoralists to spend substantial…
Taking up a significant portion of the Old City of Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa sanctuary is an exceptional historical and religious complex. With the Dome of the Rock dominating a central platform, its unique architectural design and empowering golden dome is instantly recognisable the world over.
 
For many Muslims and non-Muslim alike the complex is hidden behind a veil of politics and conflict, with the Dome of the Rock taking centre focus while the rest of the complex is largely ignored. In reality it is a magnificent open-air museum, shrine, campus and public park, all rolled into one.
 

Measuring in at 144 acres, the area contains hundreds of landmarks from raised prayer platforms, to water fountains, schools, shrines, tombs and gates, each a snapshot of a history that spans 14 centuries.

 
Bashar Tabbah will be taking us through a sample of his photographic work on the complex, exploring the evolution of the complex over the centuries.
 
Biography:
Bashar Tabbah’s passion for photography, exploration and history has dominated his life for the past 18 years. Living in Jordan surrounded by historical treasures highly influenced his passion and outlook. He primarily focuses on sites of historical and cultural significance and has travelled extensively, photographing over 400 locations internationally as well as 300 in Jordan.