The First Human Settlements on the Left Bank of the Jordan Valley: Report of the 2018 Season

Jagher, Reto and Wojtczak, Dorota and Al-Nahar, Maysoon and Hourani, Fuad and Abu Ghaneimeh, Khaled and Sanson, Arcadio and Al Shoubaki, Sereen and Stabellini, Fabiola and Jaskulski, Philippe and Kübler, Simon. (2019) The First Human Settlements on the Left Bank of the Jordan Valley: Report of the 2018 Season. Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad Annual Report, 2018. pp. 367-403. Zürich.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/74574/

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The First Human Settlements on the Left Bank of the Jordan Valley project (hereafter the Jordan Valley Palaeolithic Survey), a Jordanian-Swiss joint venture between the University of Basel, Jordan University and Yarmouk University, successfully completed its third field season in 2018 with the support of the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad and the backing of the universities of Jordan, Basel and Yarmouk and the assistance of the Directorate of Antiquities in Amman. The 2018 field season was carried out between 3 September and 29 September with a team of seven to eight scientists and students from the University of Basel and Jordan University. Three field seasons of the Jordan Valley Palaeolithic Survey by a joint team from the universities of Basel, Jordan and Yarmouk revealed a rich Palaeolithic legacy along the eastern foothills of the Jordan Valley dating from at least the Middle Pleistocene (i.e. the past 500 000 years) and possibly much earlier. For the first time along the Jordan Valley, such a long and continuous human presence has been confirmed. With the strong climate changes during the Pleistocene, the ecology and aspect of the landscape also evolved. During most of the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, at least during the past half million years, a number of huge lakes covered the Jordan Valley, creating a completely different environment from what we know today. Human occupation during the Palaeolithic was not ubiquitous along the valley, but obviously focussed on particular areas. A main hotspot was located in the Tabaqa-Zamliyah- Jaffin sector with an exceptional density of sites, where all periods so far known in the valley are present. North and south of this area, the cultural variety sharply drops with only the Levalloiso-Mousterian being a main player. Further surveys will refine this provisional picture. The very early presence of humans, although confirmed at Ubeidiya, 5 km north of the confluence of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers, has yet to be confirmed on the left bank of the Jordan. A close examination of Abu Habil was unable to confirm the claims of early Palaeolithic sites at this location as unambiguous evidence is absent. Other assertions from Abu Khas are difficult to corroborate and unless new observations are provided, these should be dealt with carefully. Nevertheless, promising geological and archaeological observations indicate the possibility of very old sites on the eastern shores of the Jordan Valley (i.e. Abu Habil, Zamliyah and Adassiyya), though these need further confirmation. Probably the most important discoveries of the Jordan Valley Palaeolithic Survey were the recovery of Yabrudian sites (the second occurrence of this period in Jordan) at the Tabaqa-Fahl and of the Hummalian sites agglomeration between Munqiah, Zamliyah and Jaffin. It is the most important cluster of discoveries of this period in the whole of the Levant. As well as for the Yabrudian as for the Hummalian less than two dozen sites are known; therefore every new discovery adds substantially to our knowledge of these periods.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Urgeschichte (Le Tensorer)
UniBasel Contributors:Wojtczak, Dorota and Jagher, Reto
Item Type:Other
Publisher:Swiss-Lichtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Other publications
Last Modified:19 Oct 2020 13:07
Deposited On:19 Oct 2020 13:07

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