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The Northwest Quarter of Jerash (Jordan)

Contacts: Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger & Dr. Georg Kalaitzoglou

In 2011 a combined Danish-German project with the focus on “The Northwest Quarter of Jaresh (Jordan)” was started under the combined direction of Prof. Dr Achim Lichtenberger (RUB) and Prof Dr Rubina Raja (Universität Århus). It is sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as the H. P. Hjerl Hansen Mindefondet for Dansk Palæstinaforskning. The objective of the project is to study the settlement history of the mostly unknown north-west quarter of the ancient city of Jerash in the north of Jordan. Jerash is shaped by Hellenistic and Roman influences and has been newly founded in the 2nd century BC. The north-west quarter is permeated by building structures and terraces and covers the entire hill that marks the highest point within the walled urban area. A special emphasis is placed on the early phases of the settlement and the development of this terrain as part of the settlement. The area under investigation is limited to the west by the ancient city wall with the adjacent north-west gate and to the north by the northern decumanus. Its definite course below a prominent ridge is unknown and is therefore one of the future objectives of the project. The southern border of the area is marked by a steep terrace and in the east by the monumental Artemis sanctuary from the 2nd century AD.

Previous studies of the hill were limited to excavations of the so called synagogue church by Carl H. Kraeling which has been transformed into a church in 530/531 AD. Small test pits were dug by British and American archaeologists in the early 1980s. Those pits did not however result in any noteworthy insights into the settlement history of the quarter.