Friday, November 30, 2012

Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project

Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project
A JOINT SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVOR OF THE College of Archaeology, Trinity Southwest University AND THE Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Welcome to the official website of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP). TeHEP is a joint scientific project between Trinity Southwest University's College of Archaeology & Biblical History (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) and the Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Our website is designed to be enjoyed by all those interested in archaeology, whether casually or professionally.

The site of Tall el-Hammam is located in the southern Jordan River Valley, about 14 kilometers northeast of the Dead Sea. Surveys and excavations thus far have revealed a long occupational history at Tall el-Hammam, including the Chalcolithic Period, the Early, Intermediate, and Middle Bronze Ages, and Iron Age 2. Minor Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic occupations are also in evidence.

Architecturally, the major contributors to the enormity of the site—spreading approximately one square kilometer—are the cities of the Early Bronze Age (3500-2350 BCE), Intermediate Bronze Age (2350-2000 BCE), and Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 BCE). The massive 6-meter-thick EBA city wall rings the lower and upper talls to an elliptical diameter of 500x750 meters. The same fortifications were refurbished and re-used during the IBA, and were later swallowed up by the construction of massive MB2 fortifications up to 50 meters thick, including the city wall, outer rampart/glacis with multiple (interior) stone stabilizer walls, and monumental gateway complex.
The MBA fortifications also include mudbrick and packed-earth ramparts rising above the lower city to a height of 20 to 30 meters, contributing to the 450x300-meter elongated oval footprint of the upper tall, and creating its 35-degree slope. The upper tall is topped by ruins from Iron Age 2abc, which are surrounded by a 3-meter-thick city wall, with a chambered gateway flanked by monumental towers. 
By all comparisons, Tall el-Hammam must be considered the “Queen of the Southern Jordan Valley,” and her excavation will continue to shed important light on the history of the region for decades to come.

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