Date:

Ancient water management and field systems in southern Jordan

Roman fort of Udhruh : Google Maps (Centre-Left)

- Advertisement -

About 15 km to the south of the ancient city of Petra, archaeologists from the University of Leiden have discovered an impressive network of ancient water conservation measures and irrigated field systems.

Some of the remnants of the water conservation measures are still intact Credit : Universiteit Leiden

“A huge green oasis” is how Dr. Ir. Mark Driessen describes it. “That’s what this part of the desert must have looked like in past times.”  In Antiquity, an ingenious system of underground canals, hacked out of the limestone bedrock, in addition to specially built aqueducts and reservoirs with capacities of millions of liters of water, transformed this marginal region into a complex man-made landscape.”

This is a fantastic example of ancient water-management technology, constructed to irrigate the surrounding terraced field systems.

“Thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of the students and staff of the Faculty of Archaeology we have succeeded in linking the diverse elements of this complex which lie scattered over an immense area of many square kilometers, thereby closing the gaps in this fascinating archaeological puzzle’, explains Driessen, director of the Udhruh Archaeological Project.

It is possible that parts of this agricultural system – which was certainly exploited in the 6th century – were already established around the beginning of our Era. Analysis of construction mortar and other artifacts such as pottery will hopefully provide us with answers.

- Advertisement -

A complete Roman fort?

South curtain wall and gate of Roman fortress at Udhruh Credit : Universiteit Leiden

The Udhruh Archaeological Project  started in 2011 as a cooperative project between the Faculty of Archeology of the University of Leiden and the Petra College for Tourism and Archaeology of the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University. Surveys carried out in June and July in and around the Roman fort of Udhruh have resulted in many more interesting discoveries.

Exploration of the 4.7 hectare Roman fort of Udhruh shows that this is probably the most intact fort of the entire Roman Empire. In several places the outer walls and towers still stand several meters high and the interior buildings lie under a layer of construction debris more than 2.5 meters thick. The quarries that provided stone for fort construction have been extensively surveyed. They cover an area of several hectares and are amongst the largest to be identified in the Roman provinces.

Campaign 2013

The South Jordan survey will be continued in May and June 2013. Students will again be welcome to join local students in the field, surveying and mapping this archaeological paradise. Interested?

[mappress mapid=”8″]

Contributing Source : Universiteit Leiden

HeritageDaily : Archaeology News : Archaeology Press Releases

 

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Brass trumpets among cargo of 16th century shipwreck

Underwater archaeologists from the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar have discovered a cargo of brass trumpets at the wreck site of a 16th-century ship.

Ancient Egyptian carvings found submerged in Lake Nasser

A joint French/Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered a collection of Ancient Egyptian carvings beneath the waters of Lake Nasser, Egypt.

3,800-year-old textile dyed using insects found in desert cave

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Bar-Ilan University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have discovered the earliest known example in Israel of red-dyed textiles made using insects.

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Lost crusader altar discovered in holiest site of Christendom

Archaeologists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), working in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), have discovered a lost crusader altar in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Viking arrowhead found frozen in ice

Archaeologists from the “Secrets of the Ice” project have discovered a Viking Era arrowhead during a survey of an ice site in the Jotunheimen Mountains.

Underwater archaeologists find 112 glassware objects off Bulgaria’s coast

A team of underwater archaeologists from the Regional Historical Museum Burgas have recovered 112 glass objects from Chengene Skele Bay, near Burgas, Bulgaria.