Another Visit to Safut

4 04 2011

I had several goals to accomplish once I arrived at Safut yesterday.  First, on the last trip I thought I had found the elusive Area K.  It was excavated in 1997 but never placed on a topographic map of the site.  No final top plans were ever drawn of the area, and when Professor Wimmer and I visited the site we had a hard time locating it.  So this time I uploaded all the area photos and top plans onto my Iphone and went to the area that Ang and I found last time.  As you can see from the pictures below, although the angle isn’t quite right, Area K has been found!

 

 

 

The second goal was to closely examine the cut in the side of the tell, created when they expanded the highway from Amman north to Jerash.  I had never walked along the road and looked closely at the section.  As cars whizzed by me down the hill I walked along the road taking pictures, and the whole thing was bedrock with no evidence of any artificial presence.

The third goal was to drive all around the site, viewing it from different perspectives, taking pictures, and looking for the Roman/Byzantine remains mentioned by early explorers to the area.  I was able to make it all around the tell, it really is an impressive site, dominating the area.  As for the Roman/Byzantine remains, mainly Romans tombs and a possible Byzantine church, I could only locate Ottoman period buildings in the modern town of Safut.  I will have to explore that area more, because there seemed to be a spring or well in the center.  That fact combined with the Ottoman remains suggest that other remains might be near by.  It was definitely a successful visit.

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6 responses

5 04 2011
Jim Monson

Great seeing the pix above, Owen, plus the earlier ones. Looks like you are on your way there this spring and hopefully will be able to keep up with the encroaching construction which has spilled over the watershed from Amman. All the best in your work as you two keep the family priority in the midst of the challenges.

6 04 2011
Jim Monson

Great seeing the pix above, Owen, plus the earlier ones. Interesting cut in the site’s geological strata from your road walk. The site’s strata should fit into the larger geological structure of the region and perhaps give you some hints about how the early inhabitants dealt with construction and defense on this natural and defined outcrop. This is an important smaller feature in the larger structural setting between the Medeba plains—through inclined ‘plateau’ NW of Amman and and its SE drainage to the area of the citadel (an area the Bible call’s ‘the hand of the Jabbok)—and the uplift in Upper Gilead which parallels the orientation of the Suweileh basin and its surroundings. Just an idea to think about.

Looks like you are on your way there in Jordan this spring and hopefully will be able to keep up with the encroaching construction which is spilling over the watershed from Amman. All the best in your work, and remember to keep the family priorities in the midst of all the other the challenges. Jim

6 04 2011
Jim Monson

Didn’t realize my first comment went through and thought I add something about the geology. Sorry about that.

7 04 2011
ochesnut

Thanks for the comments Jim. I have just finished a draft of my historical geography chapter, and so have become intimately familiar with the geology of the area. Would you mind if I send to you for comments?

21 04 2011
Carlie

I know nothing about archeology I just see pretty landscape, except for the last more obvious shot. It must be really cool to be able to see and understand the story in a swell of land or a cut away area in the earth. Sounds empowering and sort of mysterious. Love that small arched doorway in the last shot.

21 04 2011
ochesnut

Thanks Carlie, I think it is pretty cool. As for that last shot its a building that was build between 100-200 years ago (maybe a little older even) and was lived in until about 40-50 years ago. In the states that would be a big deal, but here no one cares. During survey work locals have asked me why I’m taking pictures of these buildings, they aren’t “athar” (history/archaeology).

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