A Long Day in Moab

13 04 2008

Yesterday was our Moab trip, it was a long interesting day. We started by driving south from Madaba and stopping to take pictures of Kh. Iskander (a fortified EB IV site, extremely rare!), and then driving to Dibon. I’ve been to home of Mesha before, but this time there was a Jordanian group excavating. They had cleared six squares of a Byzantine building and were exposing more of the 9th century BCE wall.

We then went on to Lahun and Aroer, two sites overlooking the Wadi Mujib (biblical Arnon). Lahun is interesting because there are periods of occupation from EB through Islamic and none are built on top of the other. We focused on the Iron Age II settlement, which includes a fortress, and the EB II-III settlement adjacent to it. Aroer has a lot of Roman remains as well as Iron Age II (all megalithic walls), there is also a Bedouin family with 4 or 5 angry dogs next to the site. Both sites were Moabite, although Aroer goes back and forth between Moab and Judah.

Kerak was the next stop and we saw a few random things of interest in the Crusader castle and Byzantine church. The last stop of the day was Sela. Mentioned in the bible as the place where 10 eleph of Edomites were thrown off a cliff. We got lost several times trying to find the site, “wenn Sela?” became the mantra of the day. Eventually we saw it across a wadi, and were able to reach the site and hike up and back just before the sun set. The site is spectacular, it was occupied in the Iron Age, but mainly by the Nabateans. There are rock cut altars, cisterns, and niches galore. It is a bit of a strenuous hike, but well worth the experience. On the way out the gravel road is so steep that Scottie, Jennifer, and I had to push the car for two or three cutbacks. All in all a tiring but exciting day, filled with archaeology (oh and we hit a bird).

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