The Mother of Cisterns and KeN

23 04 2008

Sorry I didn’t post over the weekend, the hotel we stayed at in Petra charged 20 JD for one day of internet! How absurd is that? We arrived Friday night at the Al Anbat hotel and went to a converted qasr for dinner. It was really good buffet-style food. Saturday we got up early and I took one car load of people down to Petra, where we went through the Siq and past the Treasury, then through the Roman cardo, looking at the Great Temple and garden next to it. For that day the mission was to climb up to Umm al-Biyara (the mother of cisterns) an Edomite site that dates to the 7-6th centuries BCE. It was a tough hike, taking about 1.5 hours to reach the summit. However the view was magnificent, other than Jebel Harun its the highest mountain in the area, and at least the highest in Petra. There are houses from the Iron Age, cisterns, and a Nabatean temple on top. However, my memory card freaked out and quit on me. So I have to figure out how to recover the pictures. When I do I will post some from the summit.

The next day we wanted to go to Khirbet en-Nahas, an Edomite site dating to the 10th and 9th centuries BCE. It a very important site for current Syro-Palestinian archaeology. It is the largest metal producing Iron age site in the Levant and is the first large Edomite lowland site ever excavated. It is also the first Edomite site to date to this time period, all others have dated to the 7th or 6th centuries BCE.

In order to get to the site we had to hire a Bedouin guide and have him drive us in a 4-wheel pickup. It took about 45 minutes and the terrain was quite rocky, suffice to say this guy is a pro. So riding in the back of pickup with 5 other people was a lot of fun. The site itself is spectacular, there are huge piles of slag and the buildings visible are very well preserved. UCSD has been digging the site and I have read a lot about it, and heard Tom Levy (the director) speak several times, so walking the site was very special.

Sorry for the long post, but this past weekend was definitely one of a kind.

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