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Atlas of Jordan

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Myriam Ababsa

Chapter three - The Time of Two Great Cities: Petra and Jerash (323 BC - 629 AD)

The Caravan Route. Dharih

Zeydoun al-Muheisen et François Villeneuve

Texte intégral

1Located 70 km north of Petra along the King’s Highway, the site of Dharih was excavated and restored by the University of Yarmuk and University of Paris I from 1984 to 2008. Dharih was a stopping place on the caravan route from Petra to Bostra and an agricultural centre of the Laaban. The Dharih valley is adjacent to the Hasa canyon and provides a good example of discontinuous settlement, a feature common to the southern half of Jordan. Here we have sites from the Neolithic Pottery A (6th millennium), Early Bronze Age II c. 2400 BC, Edomite period (middle of the 1st millennium), Late Nabataean period and Roman period, Late Byzantine and Early Islamic (6th-9th centuries), and Late Mamluk or Early Ottoman, c. 1500 AD. The Nabataean and then Roman settlement (1st century AD to the middle of the 4th century) of Dharih is the largest (5 hectares), in the centre of a network of scattered dwellings (fig. III.9, plate III.11). The village consists of some twenty stone buildings, farmers’ houses and oil-presses built along the hill slope (plate III.9). Next to it are cemeteries, where the deceased were buried in leather shrouds inside pits demarcated by stones and topped with steles carved with small pyramids (nefesh). The most remarkable element is the sanctuary, which was enlarged from the 1st to the 3rd centuries, mainly c. 100-150 AD, when a new temple was decorated with stuccos and with vivid patterns in relief (busts depicting the signs of the Zodiac, plate III.12). The sanctuary area (area A) had a caravanserai and heated baths (fig. III.12). In the 3rd century, the sanctuary grew to reach the dimensions of 155 x 46 m. It was the religious centre of the Nabataean cult devoted to the baetylus in the valley. It had an annex located 7 km further north, the isolated high-place sanctuary of Tannur, which was used for processions starting from Dharih. Finally, the remains of Dharih reveal the social organization of the district: a large luxurious house (V1), with a heated room, a place of worship and a monumental family tomb (C1) built slightly after 100 AD, suggest a dominant family.

Plate III.9 — General View of Dharih.

Plate III.9 — General View of Dharih.

 

Figure III.12 — Khirbet al-Dharih General Map.

Figure III.12 — Khirbet al-Dharih General Map.

Villeneuve and al-Muheisen

Plate III.10 — Cistern - Dharih.

Plate III.10 — Cistern - Dharih.

Plate III.11 — Oil Press - Dharih.

Plate III.11 — Oil Press - Dharih.

Plate III.12 — Twins - Dharih.

Plate III.12 — Twins - Dharih.

Relief depicting the Gemini represented as Dioscouroi (Castro & Pollux), within the friese of the temple front wall at Dharih. That friese depicts the Zodiac signs as wreathed by winged Victories (early 2nd century AD).

Figure III.13 — Map of Dharih and Khirbet Tannur.

Figure III.13 — Map of Dharih and Khirbet Tannur.

Table des illustrations

Titre Plate III.9 — General View of Dharih.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Titre Figure III.12 — Khirbet al-Dharih General Map.
Crédits Villeneuve and al-Muheisen
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Plate III.10 — Cistern - Dharih.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Plate III.11 — Oil Press - Dharih.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 228k
Titre Plate III.12 — Twins - Dharih.
Légende Relief depicting the Gemini represented as Dioscouroi (Castro & Pollux), within the friese of the temple front wall at Dharih. That friese depicts the Zodiac signs as wreathed by winged Victories (early 2nd century AD).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 180k
Titre Figure III.13 — Map of Dharih and Khirbet Tannur.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/4901/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 195k

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