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Humayma Excavation Project, 1
Resources, History and the Water-Supply System

By John Peter Oleson

Humayma Excavation Project, 1
Hardback, 560 pages £15.00
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780897570831
Format: 280mm x 215mm
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Subjects: American Schools of Oriental Research, Ancient Near East, Archaeology
Series: ASOR Archaeological Reports

Includes 397 b/w figures and 31 tables.

Humayma, ancient Hawara, was the only significant settlement in the Hisma, the desert between Petra and Aqaba. Founded by a Nabataean king in the late first century B.C., the site flourished for 750 years as a Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Early Islamic settlement.

In 25 years of survey and excavation, the author has recovered unique architectural and artifactual remains of all these cultures. In this final report volume, the first of four, he presents the topography and ecology of the region, the history of the site, and a detailed examination of the integrated water-supply system that made the settlement possible. A long synthetic chapter evaluates this system in the context of the water-supply technology of the ancient Near East.

This book will be of interest to both students and scholars concerned with ancient hydraulic technology, the Nabataeans, the Romans in the Near East, early Byzantine culture, and the origins of the Abbasid family.

Contributions by
G. Brown, M. Finnegan, J.D. Mitchell and C.T. Shay


List of Illustrations ix

List of Tables xvii

Preface and Acknowledgements xix

Abbreviations xxi

chapter 1 – introduction: project objectives and previous field work 1

1.A. Objectives of the Humayma Hydraulic Survey 1

1.B. Previous Surveys and Excavations 9

chapter 2 – territory, resources, and history 21

2.A. Topography, Geomorphology, and the Road System 21

2.B. The History and Monuments of Ancient Humayma 50

chapter 3 – the regional water-supply system:

catalogue of structures outside the settlement 63

3.A. Introduction 63

3.B. Catalogue 65

3.B.1 Springs 65

3.B.2 Aqueducts 74

3.B.3 Reservoir 115

3.B.4 Cisterns and Run-Off Fields 117

3.B.5 Barrier Walls, Dam, and Wadi Barriers 155

3.B.6 Terraces and Stone Piles 163

3.B.7 Hillside Channels and Slides 169

chapter 4 – the water-supply system in the settlement centre:

catalogue of structures 173

4.A. Introduction 173

4.B. Catalogue 175

4.B.1 Reservoirs 175

4.B.2 Cisterns and Run-Off Fields 198

4.B.3 Conduits and Drains 217

4.B.4 Roman Bath 223

chapter 5 – descriptions of probes: 1986–1987, 1989 231

5.A. Introduction 231

5.B. The Aqueduct System (Structure No. 1) 232

5.C. Dam (Structure no. 44) 241

5.D. Reservoir in the Roman Fort (Structure no. 62) 241

5.E. Reservoir/Pool Fed by Nabataean Aqueduct (Structure No. 63) 255

5.F. Nabataean Run-Off Reservoir (Structure No. 68) 289

5.G. Cylindrical Cistern (Structure No. 54) 305

5.H. Cylindrical Cistern (Structure No. 64) 307

5.I. Cylindrical Cistern (Structure No. 69) 309

5.J. Domed Cistern (Structure No. 72) 313

5.K. Conduit Blocks (Structure No. 75) 317

5.L. Settling Tank and Associated Drains (Structure No. 76) 317

chapter 6 – catalogue of registered artefacts and laboratory analyses 327

6.A. Introduction 327

6.B. Ceramic Finds 327

6.C. Non-Ceramic Artefacts 331

6.D. Manufactured Construction Materials 337

6.E. Soil Analysis 355

6.F. Radiocarbon Analyses 360

chapter 7 – reconstruction of the water-supply system 363

7.A. Introduction 363

7.B. Input to the System 365

7.C. Water Harvesting and Storage Facilities 369

7.D. Water Transportation and Distribution Facilities 386

7.E. The Water-Supply System in Use: Evolution of Design, Applications, and Social Control 398

chapter 8 – the hawara water-supply system

in the context of the ancient near east 417

8.A. A Survey of Nabataean, Roman, and Byzantine Water-Supply Systems in the Southern Nabataean Region 417

8.B. The Hellenistic and Roman Contribution to Nabataean Hydraulic Technology 478

8.C. Conclusions 492

Bibliography 493

Index 521

'This volume has been eagerly anticipated by scholars of antiquity in the southern Levant...[it] will have a broad interdisciplinary appeal for an audience that ranges from scholars of Near Eastern antiquity to modern geographers, environmental scientists, and hydraulic engineers.' Tina M. Niemi,University of Missouri-Kansas City

'This first volume of the Humayma Excavation Reports constitutes an important addition of high quality to the research of Nabataean cultural landscape outside Petra, covering important groundwork for future work on this subject in this region.' (Anne Lykke, Review of Biblical Literature May 2014)

John Peter Oleson is a Canadian classical archaeologist and historian of ancient technology. His main interests are the Roman Near East, maritime archaeology, and ancient technology, especially hydraulic technology, water-lifting devices, and Roman concrete construction. Currently, Oleson is Professor in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada, at which he has taught since 1976.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 560 pages
 280mm x 215mm

BIC Code:
  HIS002000, SOC003000
 American Schools of Oriental Research


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