History and Archaeology of Jordan



By the Editors of the Madain Project

Jordan (الأردن‎) officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية‎) is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is rich in Paleolithic (up to 20,000 years ago) remains due to its location within the Levant where expansions of hominids out of Africa converged. Fortified towns and urban centers first emerged in the southern Levant early on in the Bronze Age (3600–1200 BCE). The Transjordanian kingdoms of Ammon, Edom and Moab were in continuous conflict with the neighbouring Hebrew kingdoms of Israel and Judah, centered west of the Jordan River.

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Featured Article al-Khazneh

The so-called Treasury (or al-Khazneh) is one of the most famous rock-cut façades of the iconic monuments of Petra. Added to the "New Wonders of the World" list in 2007 CE, it is known to most people as the scene of the climax of the hit movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which it is portrayed as the location of the legendary Holy Grail. However, in reality, it was built possibly as early as the fifth century BCE by the Nabataeans, a culture of traders who established the city. The Nabataeans had staged this overture when entering their capital from the east in a far more imposing manner than the present sight suggests.


Featured Article Southern Tetrapylon of Gerasa

The South Tetrapylon marked the cross between the Cardo Maximus and the Southern Decumanus. It is supposed there were four tower-like constructions, each on a corner, consisting of a podium on each of which would stand four Corinthian columns with a highly decorated entablature. The southern tetrapylon was a tetrakionion: a special type of tetrapylon in which the central crossing is not roofed. The four corner-markers still exist as four separate basement supporting four columns covered by a plane surface decorated with statues.


Featured Article Madaba Mosaic Map

The Mādabā mosaic map, thought to be the oldest surviving map of Palestine and the neighbouring territories. The mosaic map, which formed the floor of one of the many ruined ancient churches in Mādabā, was discovered in 1884. The map dates from the 6th century CE, was originally 72 by 23 feet (22 by 7 metres) in size, and showed the area from ancient Byblos (modern Jubayl, Leb.) in the north to Thebes (Egypt) in the south and from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to Amman, Al-Karak, and Petra in the east.


Featured Article Qasr al-Abd

The Qasr al-Abd, also known as Qasr iraq al-Amir, is a large Hellenistic palace from approximately 200 BCE, whose ruins stand in western Jordan in the valley of Wadi Seer. The centerpiece of a grand second-century BCE estate built by the Jewish Tobiad family (known today as 'Iraq al Amir), it has long been a mystery why the Tobiads built this impressive structure. Based on the monument's elaborate design, decoration and the evidence from the 'Iraq al-Amir estate, Stephen Rosenberg, author of "'Castle of the Slave'—Mystery Solved' in the May/June 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, proposes the ruin was actually the burial monument of the Tobiads, modeled after the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.


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