Results from the 2009-2016 excavation seasons in the historical centre of Dūmat al-Jandal, ancient Adummatu
Keywords:Arabs in antiquity, Arabian archaeology, Saudi Arabia, Dūmat al-Jandal, al-Jawf
In 2011 a preliminary chronology of Dūmat al-Jandal was presented at the Seminar for Arabian Studies by the Saudi-Italian-French project. Based on two excavation seasons carried out at the eastern foot of the acropolis, the first archaeological data for the ancient Adummatu — quoted in the Assyrian annals as the capital of the northern Arab people — came to light. After eight archaeological campaigns in the historical centre of Dūmat al-Jandal, it is now possible to define a more complex picture of the ancient oasis, by defining the urban topography and trade contacts related to the centuries dated between the early Islamic and Nabataean eras. In addition, a first fragmentary inscription and artefacts related to the pre-Nabataean period, as well as ¹⁴C dates, could testify to an occupation during the second half of the first millennium BC, apparently a dark period from both textual and archaeological standpoints. The archaeological activities were carried out in the acropolis, where the Byzantine sixth- to seventh-century AD Mārid Castle stands; in the lower city, where the ancient Nabataean urbanization was identified and where pre-Nabataean artefacts were collected; and outside the western side of the early Islamic ʿUmar b. al-Khafṭṭāb mosque, where records from the Byzantine to the pre-Nabataean period were detected.
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