EXCAVATIONS AT TELL ABU AL-KHARAZ, JORDAN VALLEY


Air photograph of Tell Abu al-Kharaz (state October 2014)
Storage jars, bowl and jug in situ from Area 9, Phase IX

The Swedish excavations, directed by Peter M. Fischer from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have been carried out at Tell Abu al-Kharaz since 1989. The excavations are financed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities since 2008.

Tell Abu al-Kharaz is a 12 ha tell in the central Jordan Valley. The current objective is to shed further light on the Iron Age occupation of this city, first settled around 3200 BCE, which corresponds to the conventional Early Bronze Age IB. The Iron Age occupation lasted from the 12th century BCE until 732 BCE, when the city was conquered by the Neo-Assyrians. From 2009 to 2012 excavations in Area 9 revealed an exceptionally well-preserved two-storey compound dating from Iron Age I (local Phase IX), that is around 1100/1050 BCE. The stone compound was exposed for a length of 46 m (not counting the western annex of additional 20 m) and consists of 21 rooms, with walls still standing to a height of more than 2 m. Several hundred complete vessels and other objects point to the extensive contacts of a fairly rich society. Direct and indirect contacts with Phoenicia, the Aegean and Cyprus were ascertained. At the end of the 2012 season of excavation the eastern limit of the compound was reached. In 2013 and 2014 complementary excavations were carried out to the north and east of the compound and – for the first time – in central parts of the tell. The eastern extension revealed a defence system, which was originally built in the Early Bronze Age IB/II around 3100 BCE, but which was reused as a part of the Iron Age I defence structures. Trenches in hitherto unexplored areas of the city in the centre and along the city wall attested remains dating mainly from the Late Bronze and the early and late Iron Ages. Due to publication obligations, the excavations rest at present. Resumed excavations are planned in the near future. 

Phasing of Tell Abu al-Kharaz


Phases

Duration BC

Periods

IA–B

3150–3050

EB IB

IIA–B

3050–3000

EB II

IIIA–B

3000–2900

EB II

Lacuna

2900–1600

EB III–MB II/III

IV/1

c. 1600

MB III

IV/2

1600–1525

MB/LB

V

1525–1450

LB IA

VI

1450–1400

LB IB

VII

1400–1350

LB IB/C–IC

VIII

1350–?

LB IC–II

Lacuna

 

LB II

IX

1100–1050

IA IB

X

1050?–930

IA IB/(IIA)

XI

930–850

IA IIA

XII

850–800

IA IIA/B

XIII

800–770

IA IIB

XIV

770–732

IA IIB

XV

732–600

IA IIC

Publications

Publications

  • P. M. Fischer and T. Bürge, Tall Abu al-Kharaz. American Journal of Archaeology 120:4, 2016, 640–641.
  • P. M. Fischer and T. Bürge, The Swedish Jordan Expedition 2014 at Tall Abu al-Kharaz: Preliminary Results from Areas 12 and 13. Opuscula 8, 2015, 157–179.
  • P. M. Fischer and T. Bürge, The Swedish Jordan Expedition 2013 at Tall Abu al-Kharaz: Preliminary Results from Areas 9, 10 and 11. Opuscula 7, 2014, 129–148.
  • P. M. Fischer, Primary Early Bronze Age Contexts from Tall Abu al-Kharaz, Jordan Valley, in: F. Höflmayer and R. Eichmann (eds.), Egypt and the Southern Levant in the Early Bronze Age, Orient-Archäologie 31, Rahden 2014, 19–56.
  • P. M. Fischer, Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley. Volume III: The Iron Age (Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 34) Vienna 2013.
  • P. M. Fischer, Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley. Volume I: The Early Bronze Age (Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 16) Vienna 2008.
  • P. M. Fischer, Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley. Volume II: The Middle and Late Bronze Ages (Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 11) Vienna 2006.
  • P. M. Fischer (ed.), The Chronology of the Jordan Valley during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages: Pella, Tell Abu al-Kharaz and Tell Deir Alla (Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 12) Vienna 2006.