Jordan host thousands of archaeological sites, some of them worldwide known while others are not yet properly excavated or preserved.
A classic tour of Jordan will always include the highlights that roughly extend on a line from North to South along the Western highlands, following the itinerary of Via Trajana, a Roman trade route linking Aqaba to Damascus. Therefore, you won't omit visiting the Roman Decapolis cities as Jerash, eventually Um Qais, the mosaics of Madaba, the Crusaders' castles of Ajloun, Kerak and Shobak, the famous site of Petra...
Nevertheless some secondary sites, less known and out of the beaten paths, worth consideration and will be of interest for those who care about archaeology. Here are some of them...
The Hauran black cities:
A cluster of cities flourished at the Roman and Byzantine times in the surroundings of Bosra, one of the important pole of the Via Trajana. Build in basalt, those prosperous cities show today an good conservation condition that help us to figure out what was the life and society of Late Antiquity. The most famous is Umm Al Jimal, but other smaller settlements worth the detour for travelers with specific interests.
|The mysterious city of Jawa:|
Jawa is an Early Bronze Age fortified city located far in the Black Desert near the Syrian border. The emergence of a so early fortified settlement remained for long an enigma. Its dark basalt environment and the presence of wild life add a mysterious touch to the site. However, recent archaeological surveys start lifting the veil on its origin and history, as other similar cases have been discovered in Eastern Jordan.
The sugar factory of Safi:
Aside to the Lot monastery, Ghawr Safi area preserves one of the most interesting testimonies of the sugar industry that was flourishing in the Jordan Valley between the 9th and the 14th centuries. We can see traces of the whole sugar fabrication process, as factory gathered two water mills as well as a sugar refinery.
A Decapolis city in a charming wadi of the Yarmouk basin, ignored from almost all... excavations have been recently undertaken, but you can still see a quite virgin archaeological site preserving the structures of a classic Roman city, churches as well as painted walled tombs (not open to public) typical in this area.
Jordan was exceptionally rich in dolmens that mainly extended in a line along the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley. Urban extension, agriculture, lack of awareness, looting and disinterest of the authorities contributed to reduce this extraordinary heritage to only some fields where we can still see some specimens. We encourage the visit of those monuments, maybe a last hope to draw attention on this heritage and the necessity to preserve it.
A hill in the Black Desert as an open air museum preserving the traces of generations of hunters and caravaneers as well as more recent historical testimonies...
|The Neolithic villages: |
Progresses in excavations in remote areas show that huts villages represented a model widely spread at the Neolithic period and several sites witness this type of early human architecture. While Beidha settlement is well known and easily accessible, it is not the unique example and other well preserved sites out of the beaten paths would be relevant for visitors with special interest.
Your archaeological exploration of Jordan can be significantly enriched by the visit of some attractive museums as:
The Jordan Museum, the first comprehensive museum in Jordan preserving the historical and cultural heritage of Jordan. It exhibits many unique archaeological pieces from all periods. The second floor is dedicated to temporary cultural exhibitions. The institution also carries out several educational programs.
The Museum of the Lowest Point on Earth in Ghawr Safi, that expose the archaeological findings from the South Dead Sea area as well as some ethnographic data with extensive explanations. The museum also hosts the conservation and restoration workshop for the archaeologists who excavate in the area.
The new Petra Museum near to the Visitor Center showcases the antiquities of the Nabataean city of Petra.
On the tracks of the desert dwellers
Jordan counts thousands of rock inscriptions and graffiti spread in the desert. An huge heritage that just comes to our awareness thanks to some recent surveys in the Eastern Desert and Wadi Rum. This rock art testifies of the life style and the culture of the desert populations since prehistorical times till today. Learn with a local desert dweller how to interpret the drawing and read the Safaitic and Thamudic graffiti...
Back to the Trade Caravans
Let behind your car, your mobile and all your modern life! Embark for several days on a caravan which will lead you back to past, when the trade caravans where crossing vast extents for conveying goods from Asia to the Mediterranean costs. This experience brings to light the aspects of the trade Nomadic Bedouin culture and the everyday life of those men who endlessly browsed the desert with their camels. Within a few days, you will be one of them and see how, offloaded of our modern comfort and devices, the life can be rich and meaningful...
Put yourself into the skin of a Byzantine craftsman and reproduce a most well know motives of antic mosaics. The techniques for fixing have lightly changed as we now use glue, which allows you to take your artwork away... except this concession to modernity, you will find the same gestures and the same ability requirements as the mosaicists used to experiment.