Location: Dhiban, Jordan
A durable and persistent attachment to place is readily observed at Dhiban, located approximately 70 kilometers south of 'Amman, Jordan's capital city. Over the last five millennia, Dhiban has seen repeated attempts to organize large sedentary populations in unique configurations, only to see these efforts languish after only a few centuries. Physical evidence for these trials are found throughout Dhiban's vicinity, but are most concentrated in a 12.5-hectare tall adjacent to the modern settlement. Here, physical evidence from the Early Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic settlements can be recovered using archaeological research methods.
The Dhiban Archaeological Field School in Jordan introduces students to contemporary archaeological and environmental field research through hand-on learning experiences. Students also receive an overview of Jordan’s history through readings, lectures, and visits to key archaeological sites. By the course’s completion, students will understand the basic excavation and site-survey techniques, including data collection and recording. Instruction occurs in the classroom seminars, field sites, and laboratories. Students take guided field trips on some weekends to Petra, Jerash, Amman, and other archaeological and cultural sites in the region.
This field school is the educational component of the Dhiban Excavation and Development Project (DEDP). Started in 2004, the DEDP is a collaborative project involving scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and North America. For more information on the Dhiban Project, visit www.dhiban.org. The DEDP's research design reflects its multi-disciplinary approach that spans history, geology, anthropology, environmental studies, tourism studies, and the materials sciences.
Students work on the site for six weeks from Sunday-Thursday approximately eight hours per day. Over the six-week period, students rotate each week in groups of three or four through set stations designed to teach them different aspects of field research. Simultaneously, there is a weekly theme in which students receive more formal instruction from the instructor or a staff specialist.
Weekends are Friday and Saturday. On most breaks, students have the freedom to explore Jordan, leaving on their own from the tourist hub of Madaba. Most weekends students will travel on organized field trips to Petra, Jerash, ‘Amman, the Dead Sea, Karak, and the Early Islamic Desert Castles.
Research during the 2013 field season will focus on the excavation of an Iron Age Moabite monumental building, a Late Roman and Byzantine residency, a Mamluk-era agro-pastoralist village, and a large water reservoir used in both the Iron Age and Classical Period.
Period(s) of Occupation: Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Six-weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Porter, Benjamin, Bruce Routledge, Danielle Steen, and Firas al-Kawamlha. "The power of place: The Dhiban community through the ages." Pp. 315-322 in Crossing Jordan: North American Contributions to the Archaeology of Jordan, eds. T. Levy, P. M. Daviau, R. Younker and M. Shaer. 2007. London: Equinox.