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History and Archaeology Department Conducts Archaeological Landscape Survey and Excavations in Jericho

April 17, 2012
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From 4 – 20 January 2012, a team of faculty members and students from the History and Archaeology Department at BZU and the Institute of Archaeology at University College London (UCL) conducted the fourth season of archaeological landscape survey and excavations in the area of Khirbat al-Mafjar near Hisham’s Palace, north of Jericho. This joint venture was organized in cooperation with the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and was headed by Dr. Mahmoud Hawari from the BZU Department of History and Archaeology.




The aim of this fieldwork and research project is two-fold: to enhance the understanding of the palace complex which dates back to the Umayyad Period (8th century) within the context of its cultural and historical environment, and its link to the contemporary urban settlement at Jericho; and to offer capacity building training to BZU students in various fieldwork methods of archaeological survey and excavation, as part of the efforts to revive the Palestinian Institute of Archaeology at BZU.


During this fourth season of fieldwork, the team resumed the landscape survey in the area extending southwest of the palace, focusing on the water management system which once provided the baths and agricultural estate to the east of Hisham’s Palace with water. Referring to old maps, photographs, satellite imagery and archives, the team discovered and documented various remains of an aqueduct that brought water from ‘Ain el-Sultan to the palace, about 2 km long. During the previous seasons of fieldwork, another aqueduct that channels water from ‘Ain el-Nuwei’meh in the west to the palace in the east (about 5 km long) was discovered  and documented. The latter includes two large ruined bridges, a large reservoir and numerous sections of the aqueduct. Moreover, the team conducted archaeological excavations revealing the remains of a mill (tahuna), probably a flour mill, which was powered by water from the adjacent reservoir of the aqueduct, about 700 m west of the palace.






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