The Shubayqa Archaeological Project investigates the transition from hunting & gathering to agriculture in the Harra desert of Jordan. In particular, this project investigates the relationship between the Younger Dryas – a global climatic event that led to cooler temperatures and decreased rainfall – and the beginning of agriculture. The project area is the remote, rugged Shubayqa basin, a 12 km2 playa situated c. 130 km northeast of the Jordanian capital Amman. In 2014 the project will continue its excavations at the late Natufian site of Shubayqa 1, while also launching excavations at the early Neolithic site Shubayqa 6 nearby. Furthermore, we will continue with our landscape survey of the surrounding area to discover additional sites, and carry out geoarchaeological sampling across the Shubayqa basin to study past environmental conditions. In addition, we will be processing and analyzing finds, and conducting some ethnographic fieldwork to better understand the use of the Badia by modern-day Bedouin pastoralists.
Period(s) of Occupation: Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program length
Room and Board Arrangements
For the first three days we will be staying at the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman. During those days students will attend a number of lectures about the project, fieldwork methods and the archaeology of the region. We will also visit the National Museum of Jordan and do a fieldtrip to the Roman city of Jerash.
We will then depart for the Harra desert, which is about a 3 hour drive from Amman. We will be staying in rented houses in Safawi, the town nearest to the research area. Accommodation will be pretty basic with everyone sharing sleeping quarters and bathrooms. Water supply is limited so that participants must try to conserve water wherever possible – having a long shower every day will not be possible. Each morning the field team will depart early to make the 1 hour drive to the research site, while the house team will stay back to process finds and samples.
We will hire an experienced dig cook who prepares basic, but tasty meals three times a day. The field team will take their second breakfast in the field. We can cater for most dietary requirements, including vegetarians.
The field school will conclude with a visit to the Nabatean city of Petra where we will be staying in a hotel.
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