Exploring the Baq’ah Valley

16 09 2011

Apologies for not posting more frequently, but my time over the last few weeks has consisted of scanning pottery for 10-12 hours.  My wife and kids flew back to the States at the end of August.  So now all I do is scan every day.  Angela’s brother had come out to tour around Jordan so we had a car for his time here.  I kept it for a few days after to return whole vessels from Safut to the DOA warehouse and to explore the Baq’ah looking for some of the Iron Age sites.

I was specifically looking for the sites Pat McGovern had worked on in the early 1980’s, so I headed up to Umm ad-Dananir first.  The khirbet McGovern worked on consisted of a small Late Bronze and Iron Age settlement within the small village of Umm ad-Dananir.  Unfortunately this village has continued to grow over the last 30 years and I could find no evidence of the Iron Age settlement or perimeter wall.  Its possible that I wasn’t looking in the right place and its likely that some remains still exist in backyards of the town.  Despite not finding any ancient remains in this area it was my first time driving around that side of the valley.  One has a direct view across to Safut to the south and towards the Wadi Zarqa to the north through the wadi cut.  Its a very well protected ridge located where two wadis connect and run out towards the Zerqa.

After leaving Umm ad-Dananir I descended down to the valley floor and found Rujm al-Henu East and West.  The two Iron Age “forts” are located in a field next to the huge satellite dishes.  Rujm al-Henu West is not nearly as well preserved as East, but wall remains from each can still be seen.  I picked up a nice wheel burnished, red slipped late Iron Age bowl rim and the rim of what looks like a Roman krater.  These two Iron Age towers likely controlled traffic through the valley floor with the ancient road running between them, as well as acting as storage for the agriculture production being carried out throughout the valley.

Wall of Rujm al-Henu West

Corner of Rujm al-Henu East

It was very enjoyable to walk through the valley and experience the different perspectives offered, to imagine the landscape as the ancients would have experiences sans satellites.



One response

11 11 2011
Sherry Hardin

Dear Owen,

Hello! Speaking of scanning, we met last year when Barbara Reeves and I met with you at ACOR about 3D scanning! We are now applying for some funding to purchase a 3d scanner and we need to make sure we would be able to get the pottery scanning software. Could you tell me how to go about getting the pottery software? I think you said that it was free. Any and all details would be much appreciated. I know you are busy, but would be very grateful to hear back from you as soon as possible – we only have a short window to apply for the funding.

Thanks so much, hope you are well and happy!

-Sherry Hardin
Humayma Team

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