Tall Hisban Excavations (Phase II)

A. Phase II Publications.

List of publications resulting from or related to Phase II excavations.

B. Past Field Seasons.

June 19 – July 31, 1996:  PILOT SEASON.

The objective of this pilot season was to undertake clean-up of the most notable archaeological features of the site and to initiate construction of pathways and viewing platforms. The decision to return to work at Hisban was confirmed through these activities and the warm welcome from the local village. The work was directed by Oystein S. LaBianca and Lawrence Geraty.

June 18 – July 11, 1997:  FIRST EXCAVATION SEASON.

The objectives were to undertake several probes to follow up on questions remaining from the original Heshbon Expedition; to continue the random square survey of the Hisban hinterland begun in 1996; and to expand clean-up and restoration of the site for tourism. The chief archaeologist for this second season was Paul Ray of Andrews University.

June 18 – July 30, 1998:  SECOND EXCAVATION SEASON.

The objectives were to open up two new fields on or near the summit to learn more about the Islamic history of the site; to undertake probes in the Area G cave complex to ascertain its occupational history; to expand surface surveys in the immediate and wider region of the site to learn more about its long-term environmental and occupational history; and to continue making improvements to the site’s appearance. Chief archaeologist for this season was Paul Ray of Andrews University.

23 May – 01 July, 2001:  THIRD EXCAVATION SEASON.

The objectives were to continue on with the excavations, surveys and cleaning work begun during earlier excavation seasons. Chief archaeologist for this season was Bethany Walker of Oklahoma State University.

July 24 – 15 December 2006:  TALL HISBAN RESTORATION PROJECT.

The objectives were to undertake restoration of key archaeological features in Tall Hisban, including the “Roman plaza;” the Byzantine church; the North perimeter wall and entrance; and restoration of the south corner tower. A related objective was to clean up the site and improve access and signage. This work was sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. Project director was Maria Elena Ronza.

May 24 – 23 June, 2004:  FOURTH EXCAVATION SEASON.

The objectives were to continue on with the excavations, surveys and cleaning work begun during earlier excavation seasons. A new initiative included a survey of the Nabulsi heritage buildings. Chief archaeologist for this season was Bethany Walker of Oklahoma State University

June 18 - July 18, 2007:  FIFTH EXCAVATION SEASON.

The season was designed to better understand the history of fortification (Fields Q and M) and village occupation (Fields C and O), particularly during the Islamic eras.   In order to address these research concerns, 17 squares based on 5x5-meter units in four different fields were excavated and recorded.  Chief archaeologist for this season was Bethany Walker of Grand Valley State University.

June 8-18, 2009:  HISBAN VISITOR CENTER CHARRETTE.

This was a planning workshop designed to gather information about existing visitor centers in Jordan and to obtain from local stakeholders such input as they would be willing to share. 

May 14-June 4, 2010:  SIXTH EXCAVATION SEASON.

This season was our final wrap-up season to prepare for final publication of Phase II. Completed preliminary stratigraphic investigation of the southern gateway area (Field Q), enough to tie to reports of Phase I, Field A. Opened a new square north of the northeast corner tower (Field M), documenting further Late Islamic occupation downslope. We returned to the Hardy People cave/cistern complex (Field G), which had not been studied since the 1998 season, for additional probes. We also undertook limited excavation in small probes inside and outside of the westernmost building (Nabulsi Qasr) as a preliminary step in documentation and preparation of the site as a visitor's center.

May 12-31, 2011:  SEVENTH EXCAVATION and FIRST JORDAN FIELD SCHOOL SEASON.

The 2011 season marked the inauguration of the Jordan Field School, which offers undergraduate students a wide range of experientially based courses from various disciplines. On site faculty teach these courses in the field, always endeavoring to establish and build relationships between the JFS participants and local Jordanians. Excavations opened two squares in Area B (B8 and B9), tasked with determining the exact dimensions and date(s) for the Iron Age reservoir. Most of the removed material was middle to late Islamic fill, although two walls and several interesting objects (an ivory die, a zoomorphic head and an Umayyad coin) were unearthed.

May 14-31, 2012:  EIGHTH EXCAVATION and SECOND JORDAN FIELD SCHOOL SEASON.

The second season of the multidisciplinary Jordan Field School also marked the final season of Phase II of the Tall Hisban excavations (note the revision from the 2010 season summarized above). Excavations opened two squares in a new field, Area R (R5 and R6) directly east of the citadel, with the objective of dating the citadel wall in this vicinity. The excavators encountered mostly stone tumble from the acropolis as well as fill. A few flimsy walls were identified in R6.  Small finds included two door sockets, several basalt objects and a coin. Another JFS team improved and built tourist trails and viewing platforms throughout the site and designed a planned Socio-Economic (welcome) garden just inside the entrance.

C. Projects.

Excavations and Probes

Surveys

Site Preservation and Development

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