The Late Roman pottery of the Tall Zira’a in northern Jordan
The Late Roman pottery of the Tall Zira’a in northern Jordan – common ware and trade material of a village in the area of influence of the Decapolis-cities Abila, Gadara, Gerasa and Pella
By Frauke Kenkel, Institute of Archaeology of Cologne, Germany
Subject of the presented paper is the Late Roman pottery of the Tall Zira’a in north-western Jordan, based on the results of the excavations, which are taking place since 2003 within the “Gadara Region Project”.
This project is studying the multifaceted cultures from over 5000 years of history in the Wadi al- ´Arab in northern Palestine.
The Late Roman pottery (in particular the coarse ware, the cooking ware and the amphorae) is part of the author’s dissertation about the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ceramic of the village Tall Zira’a, which will trace the development and the character of the settlement for the corresponding time.
The Wadi al-‘Arab is situated five kilometres southwest of the ancient Decapolis-city Gadara (today Umm Qais) and in the transition area between Palestine and the cultural region of Syria and was influenced from both regions, political and cultural.
The Tall Zira’a is the central and most convenient strategic place in the Wadi.
With its 16 m thick cultural layers is the Tall until today the only place in northern Jordan, in which you can research the whole history of settlement from the early Bronze Age to the Islamic period continuously.
The Late Roman pottery comes from two areas (Area I and Area II). While in Area I the main research goal lays on the residential architecture, it is in Area II on the administrative constructions.
The biggest part of the Late Roman material makes the coarse ware, the cooking ware and the amphorae.
We can record that some examples were imported and few are local productions.
Especially the cooking ware is most likely from Gadara and amphorae of Egypt and Rhodes were proven. Therefore the trade connections are one of the main research questions to draw the picture of the Tall during the Late Roman period.