2019-2020 Grant in Aid of Research

A Comparative Study of the Architectural Remains, Material Culture and the Chronological and Historical Context of Field "G" at Tall Julul

Abelardo Rivas

Reconstruction of the past is a central goal of any archaeological excavation. Such a process begins with the gathering of data and ends with the final analysis of that data which includes an interpretation of the material found. Indeed, it is during this latter part of the process that most of the time and effort is spent.  The analysis of the ceramics, objects, architectural remains, and stratigraphy are essential to the reconstruction of the story behind a site. Tall Jalul, located in the Madaba Plains region of Jordan, has been the subject of such an enterprise since 1992. The work carried on for several seasons has revealed the archaeological and historical/cultural richness of this site, demonstrating that occupation started during the Early Bronze Age, and continued all the way through the Islamic periods. It is the goal of this study to contribute to the analysis and interpretation of a key part of that excavation project—Field G at Tall Jalul. Tall Jalul is part of the Madaba Plains Project, a collaborative ongoing excavation project in Jordan that includes other sites, namely Tall Hisban and Tall al-ʿUmayri. So far there has been extensive publication of Hisban and ʿUmayri, showing data that demonstrate a similar occupational history and cultural similarities to Jalul. Thus, Field G potentially has two levels of comparative analysis. The first level addresses comparisons between Field G and other fields at Tall Jalul by asking two questions: 1) how do the archaeological remains from this field relate to the other excavated fields? and 2) can the information gleaned from the other fields be harmonized with that of Field G to describe the everyday life at the site and the story behind Jalul? Similarly, the second level addresses comparisons between Field G and other sites in the Madaba Plains Project. How does the data from Field G at Jalul compare with similar data from other sites in the region? And can this data influence how Jalul may relate chronologically and culturally to the other sites of the Madaba Plains Project, as well as other sites on the Jordanian Plateau in general.