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Humayma Excavation Project, 2
Nabatean Campground and Necropolis, Byzantine Churches, and Early Islamic Domestic Structures

By John Peter Oleson and Robert Schick

Humayma Excavation Project, 2
Hardback, 622 pages £15.00
Published: 2014
ISBN: 9780897570374
Format: 286mm x 220mm
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Subjects: American Schools of Oriental Research, Ancient Near East, Archaeology
Series: ASOR Archaeological Reports

Includes 384 illustrations, some in colour.

In 1986 and 1987 Oleson and a small team surveyed an area of 250 sq km around the site of al-Humayma (ancient Hawara) in Jordan’s southern desert. Hawara was founded sometime in the first century BC by the Nabataean king Aretas. The flourishing settlement was occupied by a unit of Roman soldiers after AD 107, and it became the largest settlement in the Hisma desert during the Byzantine period. The Abbasid family built a manor house and mosque at Humayma in the late seventh century.

This is the second volume of a projected four volume series about the research on this important site. This volume reports on a Nabataean campground, which provides unique testimony to the flexible character of Nabataean settlement design, and provides detailed information on the Nabataean necropolis, which shows parallels with those at both Petra and Hegra. The volume also includes the excavation records and analysis of five Byzantine churches, two of which lay above Nabataean structures, and three of which were modified for re-occupation in the Early Islamic period. There are also short reports on the probing of an Early Islamic structure of undetermined character, and on an important hoard of coins and jewellery found in the countryside. A number of subsidiary studies concern the human remains, botanical and faunal remains, fish bones, and molluscs found at the site in the course of the 11 seasons of excavation. The ceramics and small finds associated with the structures are analyzed, along with the many marble chancel screen fragments.

The main audience will be archaeologists of the Near and Middle East. The presentation highlights issues such as the projection of culture from Petra outward to peripheral settlements, transitions between nomadic pastoralist and sedentary agricultural ways of life in Arabia Petraea, design eccentricities in rural church architecture, the spread and practice of Christianity in this region, and rural architecture of the Early Islamic period. There is also discussion of the physical evidence for local desert agriculture, stock raising, hunting, the import and export of foodstuffs, and the state of human nutrition at ancient Humayma.

Preface and Acknowledgements

List of Abbreviations

List of Figures

List of Tables

1. Introduction: Project Objectives and Excavation Areas (J.P. Oleson, R. Schick)   

2. The System of Ceramics Analysis and Reporting (K. ‘Amr, J.P. Oleson, V.E. Holmqvist-Saukkonen)

3. The Nabataean Campground (Field C124) (J.P. Oleson)

4. The Necropolis (Field A) (J.P. Oleson, J. Somogyi)

5. Field F102:  Nabataean Cistern, Byzantine Church, and Early Islamic House (J.P. Oleson, K. ‘Amr)

6. Field B100:  Byzantine Church and Early Islamic House (J.P. Oleson)

7. Field C101:  Byzantine Church (R. Schick)

8. Field C119: Byzantine Church (R. Schick)

9. Field B126: Byzantine Church (R. Schick)

10. Human, Animal, and Plant Remains (M. Perry, M.Y. Najjar, M. Finnegan, D.L. Reese, J. Ramsay)

11. Tomb Groups (J.P. Oleson, L. Shumka, J. Ramsay)

12. Metal Finds, Coins, Bone, Ivory, Shell, Plaster, and Terracotta Objects (J.P. Oleson, E. De Bruijn, D. Dudley, M. Smith)

13. Ecclesiastical Marble, Inscriptions, and Miscellaneous Stone Finds (R. Schick, J.P. Oleson, K. al-Bashaireh, D. Graf, N. Herz, G. Rowe)

14. Glass (J. Jones)

15. Analysis and Conclusions (J.P. Oleson, R. Schick)


John Peter Oleson, an archaeologist and Classics scholar, is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada, where he has taught since 1976.

Robert Schick is an archaeologist and historian active in Jordan since 1980.He is currently a research fellow at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, writing the report of an old excavation of the Byzantine and Early Islamic remains in the Madaba Archaeological Park.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 622 pages
 286mm x 220mm

BIC Code:
  HIS002000, SOC003000
 American Schools of Oriental Research


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