Balua Information 2019


The directors of the BALU'A REGIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT (BRAP) want to extend a warm welcome to you as we plan for a six-week excavation season this June & July 2019 at one of the largest archaeological sites in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Ahlan w' Sahlan — Welcome!

Thank you for your interest in joining the Balu’a Regional Archaeological Project (BRAP) this coming June to excavate at Khirbat al-Balu’a. We are excited to be back in the field and look forward to a fantastic season excavating amid the basalt stones of this breathtaking and important site. Below you should find more information to answer all of your questions about participation. Contact us as soon as possible to express interest and begin filling out your application forms. Security Forms are required by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and must be submitted by all candidates by 1 March 2019

Excavations in 2019 will be conducted as part of a large team effort. Questions should be submitted to Final decisions on acceptance to the team will be made by April 12. Do not purchase flights until you have heard from us that you have been accepted onto the team.

Project Dates

Season 24 June - 31 July 2019

While the 2019 expedition will last from Monday 24 June through Wednesday 31 July, the official excavation dates, these dates do not include arrival and set up nor closedown and departure. Given the distance of the excavation headquarters from Amman (over 2 hours), flights and transport to and from the site will be closely coordinated and those not traveling on the suggested dates will need to provide their own transportation.

Official Arrival Date: Thursday, 20 June
Official Departure Date: Friday, 2 August

Because flights from North America take an extra day heading east, it will be necessary to pay attention to the actual arrival date and time of your flights into Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. All flights must arrive in Amman by the evening of June 20 in order to be transported to the dig site. Orientation will begin early the next day, so keep this in mind as you plan. Departing flights should not be arranged before late afternoon on August 2 in order to give us time to travel north from the dig site. If your flights will land outside these official dates and times, you will need to make alternate plans for your accommodation in Amman (if outside dig season dates) and pay a $100 fee if the project arranges transport. You are welcome to stay longer in Jordan than the official dig dates on your own. While you will be responsible for your own accommodation outside the arrival and departure dates, we will be happy to assist you in making your plans, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

Half-Season Option A Dates: 20 June - 14 July
Half-Season Option B Dates: 7 July - 2 August

Half-season participants must take care to plan flights that arrive and depart on these exact dates to minimize disturbance to the excavation schedule for everyone. For those departing on July 14, please contact the project before making your arrangements.

Note: All Balu'a Regional Archaeological Project (BRAP) forms are entirely digital and need to be submitted online, including digital signature forms. Look these over carefully. In the process, use the dating system of Day (numerals) Month (spelled out in alphabetic letters, abbreviated if you wish) Year (full, numerals) -- for example, 1 April 2019.


     Security Form (ABSOLUTE DEADLINE - 1 March 2019)

     Application Form - 1 April 2019  

     Medical Form - 1 May 2019

     Assumption of Risk Form - 1 May 2019

     Code of Conduct Form - 1 May 2019  

     Flight Arrival/Departure Form - 1 May 2019


1 MARCH 2019 for Security Form (NO EXCEPTIONS).
1 April 2019 for Application Form and Deposit ($400).
1 May 2019 for all other forms and complete payment.



Participation Costs --

The participant’s fee will include accommodation and meals, transport from Amman to and from the site for those arriving on the official dates, tuition and travel insurance for students.

Cost to STUDENTS includes tuition: $3,532 + Airfare (for 4 units) or $7,064 which includes Airfare (for 8 units). There are no fees beyond tuition for students registering for 8 units.

Cost to NON-STUDENTS Full Season: $2,500 (does not include airfare)
Cost to NON-STUDENTS Half Season: $1,500 (does not include airfare)

Accommodation will be in a hotel with double and triple rooms on the Karak Highway, located about 40 minutes from the site.

Multiple fellowships/scholarships are available for participating in an excavation from several organizations. Many have deadlines in early winter for summer 2019, so please check this soon if you are interested in applying for these fellowships:
          American Schools of Oriental Research - students & non students may apply here (Due Feb 1).
          American Center for Oriental Research - students may apply here (Due Feb 1).
          American Institute of Archaeology - first-time, field-school students may apply here (Due Mar 1).
          Biblical Archaeology Society - students & non students may apply here (Due Mar 14).

To pay online (preferred), visit: here

Academic credit opportunities:

Academic credit will be offered for the following courses through La Sierra University (maximum of 8 units):

ARCH/RELB 494/594 Fieldwork in Ancient Near Eastern/Middle Eastern Archaeology (1-8)

ARCH/ANTH 216 Great Discoveries in Archaeology (4)

ARCH/RELB 446  New Testament Archaeology (4)

ARCH/RELB 546 Archaeology of the New Testament World (4) [Graduate-level course]

Topics in Archaeology: Household Archaeology (4) [Undergraduate & Graduate level course]

Participation Requirements:

Given the remote location and physically demanding nature of archaeological excavation at Balu’a, all participants should be mature, college-age or older, and in excellent health. It is ideal for all participants to remain for the duration of the project, but half season options will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Both students and non-students are welcome to apply, though students applying for credit and excavators with previous experience will be given priority in acceptance. All participants, regardless of status, will be expected to engage in active excavation at the site as part of the field team, as well as fulfill their share of camp duties, such as pottery washing. An enthusiastic spirit of cooperation and hard work will guarantee a successful outcome for everyone! Qualified applicants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, we cannot process applications until the deposit is received (see Costs).

2019 Goals:

The Balu’a Regional Archaeological Project (BRAP) will be excavating at Khirbat al-Balu’a in Jordan. The basalt site is impressively large, at over 16 hectares (40 acres), and over the millennia has guarded access to the Central Moabite Plateau. Survey and excavations so far have revealed an extensive walled fortification system dated to the Iron Age (10th-6th centuries BC), with a vast lower settlement. Survey sherds from the site and its surroundings date from the Bronze Age into the Islamic periods (3rd millennium BC to the 19th century AD), attesting to the long-lived importance of Balu’a’s position. Digging this summer will focus on the impressively intact Iron Age remains: a large and well-preserved Iron II domestic structure, the Iron II fortification system, and the monumental Qasr structure that dominates the highest point on the site and was founded at least as early as the Iron I period. The Islamic village at the site will also begin excavation this summer.


All participants must be in possession of a valid passport issued by their respective government, which will not expire within a period of six months of your departure from Jordan.

The Jordanian visa costs 40 JD (approximately 56 USD) and can be obtained easily and quickly for American and Canandian citizens at the Amman airport. Jordanian currency can be acquired at the airport either through exchange or an ATM machine before entering the visa lines, since Customs officers will only accept Jordanian Dinars for the visa fee (though in 2017 it was possible to purchase the visa using a credit card at the desk).

This season, any participants planning to enter the Petra Touristic Site during the mid-season trip to Petra may purchase the Jordan Explorer Pass online BEFORE leaving for Jordan. This pass includes the Jordanian visa (but only if purchased before entering Jordan) and 2 days in Petra for only 75 JD, a savings of 20 JD.
STUDENTS: Coordinate with the project directors to obtain this pass or purchase the pass directly and hand in a receipt for reimbursement. Otherwise the student will be responsible for the 20 JD difference of purchasing the visa and Petra entrance fee separately.

All participants must be covered by travel/medical insurance.
Insurance for Students: Those registered for academic credit do not need to purchase additional travel insurance, as they will be covered by La Sierra University's travel insurance plan. Proof of regular health insurance coverage will be required for participation.
Insurance for Non-Students: Those not registered for academic credit must purchase their own travel insurance while in Jordan. Please look over plans offered in your country/state carefully and purchase a plan that covers medical emergencies. While your regular health insurance may cover some treatment costs, a good travel insurance will cover indirect costs related to a medical emergency, such as rescheduling flights, etc. The Balua Regional Archaeological Project and La Sierra University are not responsible for these costs. Proof of travel and regular health insurance will be required for participation.

No vaccinations are required for travel in Jordan. However, a valid tetanus shot within the past three years is essential. We strongly advise you to be protected by the following inoculations: Cholera (good for six months) and Typhoid and Diphtheria (good for ca. three years). Some physicians also recommend gamma globulin shots (good for four to six months) as a protection against hepatitis. For any or all of the above, follow the advice of your physician and check advisories from the Centers for Disease Control.

Arrival and Orientation:

All participants should be transported from Amman to the hotel by evening of Thursday, June 20. Friday, June 21 is reserved as an orientation day to familiarize all participants with the work and methods of the BRAP for the 2019 season. Reading the Madaba Plains Project Excavation Manual ahead of time will make the large amount of information covered on this day easier to absorb. Saturday 22 June will be a chance to adjust from jetlag and rest. Sunday 23 June will continue with orientation. Work on site will begin Monday, June 24

Living Conditions and Daily Schedule:

The team will stay this season in a small hotel located on the Karak Highway. Participants will share rooms that are either double or triple occupancy. While shared living quarters and lack of privacy provide for an informal and intimate atmosphere with your teammates, the close space and limited resources do require cheerful and positive attitudes over the six-week period. Ear plugs, eye covers, and a sense of humor will go a long way.

Respect for our Jordanian neighbors is vital to creating a sense of goodwill toward you individually and toward the project as a whole. Please note the code of conduct form carefully for the best way to make yourself at home in Jordan. Small shops nearby provide snacks and basic foodstuffs, including ice cream and soft drinks, that participants can purchase as desired. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite movies, games, and books to share for free-time entertainment.

Daily Schedule:

The work week consists of Monday to Friday for active excavation, with rest and recreation on the weekends. Work starts at sunrise, meaning we wake up in the dark and eat a quick and light breakfast before heading out to the site. A second light breakfast will provide a break midway through the morning hours. Work will cease in the early afternoon and we will return to the hotel for an afternoon meal, brief rest, and additional assigned tasks. It is not a schedule for the faint of heart and getting plenty of sleep is essential. Plan your bedtime accordingly.


A quick note about WATER. While we will talk more about this on your arrival in Jordan, the subject of water is worth a few words before you get there. There may be no more precious commodity in the Middle East than water and it is usually in short supply, sometimes in extremely short supply, especially in Jordan, one of the most water-poor countries in the world. This means that as visitors to the country, we resist our normal patterns of luxurious water usage and do our best to conserve local natural resources. We will have water to drink and clean ourselves, but we will also need to exert extra intentional effort to be frugal.

Water usage should be limited to thoughtful and essential usage. No running taps unnecessarily! Running out of water is expensive and means we go several hours without any water access. Be conscious of your usage! Several water recycling measures will assist to lighten our water footprint, such as buckets in showers used to retrieve water for flushing toilets.

For showers, please use as little water as possible: 1) turn water on to get wet, 2) turn water off and suds up, 3) turn water on to rinse, 4) turn water off. One can learn to take a shower with a gallon of water or less and feel rather smug about it! Maybe even get clean, too.

Internet access:

Internet access may be possible in the hotel, but the project makes no guarantees about its quality or consistency and cannot provide troubleshooting assistance. SIM cards through local phone companies (Zain, for example) for your (unlocked!) phones can be purchased at the Amman airport after clearing customs (look to the windows to the left after you clear the magic doors, past Starbucks). Data for these cards, purchased by GB/month, is relatively inexpensive and will help you stay in touch with your friends and family back home. USB data sticks can also be purchased to provide internet for your laptop computers, if you are bringing them. These are much more difficult to acquire once outside of Amman, so plan to purchase immediately upon arrival if desired. Please make sure to receive any assistance with using these SIM cards or data sticks during the purchasing process, as phones and computers all have their unique quirks and the project is not responsible for servicing your technology.


Electricity is available, even if through a limited number of outlets, and for recharging laptops and small devices only (no hairdryers!). The current in Europe and the Middle East is 220 volts at 50 cycles per second (rather than 110 volts at 60 cycles, as in the USA and Canada). You will need to keep two things in mind: 1) appropriate voltage/wattage/current and 2) the appropriate plug adapter. There are two types of outlets in Jordan, one for use with plugs with two small round prongs and the other for use with plugs with three flat prongs arranged with two in a line and the third (ground) centered perpendicular to the other two, forming a triangle. Many choose a travel kit with several options, but you really only need these two.

What to bring:

As mentioned above, accommodation is in shared hotel rooms. Items to think about packing:

Basic bedding and towels will be provided by the hotel.

Clothing and Personal Supplies: Those who have had no experience in overseas travel and/or archaeological work may not be certain what clothing and sundries they should bring with them. Following is a list of general items to keep in mind as you plan for your trip, but it is obviously subjective and will need tailoring to your specific needs. Most people are prone to take more luggage than they need. Pack light!

Work clothes: For example, two pairs of work pants (no shorts, which may be offensive to Arabs with whom we work) and three or four light-weight shirts or blouses (with long sleeves for protection against the sun). A belt to hold up pants with full pockets is a good idea!

Dress and sport clothes. Archaeologists are honored guests in Jordan. It would be nice to have something decent besides work clothes for visiting or other social occasions in the local community. You will also want to have some sport clothes (including a swimming suit) for weekend trips. Likely you will not need more than one set each of dress and sport clothes.

Work shoes or boots. The terrain on site at Balu’a is extremely rocky and there are few level paths to follow when walking to your trench each day. Ankle-high hiking boots will provide support to your feet as you make this trek each day. Flip flops or other open-toed sandals are unacceptable for work, especially given the presence of snakes, scorpions, and thorny bushes on site. However, they are desirable for showering or walking around back at the hotel.

Sweater or sweat shirt for cool mornings and evenings (several thin layers of clothing are better than fewer thick layers — this allows for shedding throughout the day).

Hat or cap as essential protection against the harsh sun. You will not be allowed to work out on site without some form of head covering.

Work gloves are essential for protecting your hands from the wooden tool handles and from rocks you will need to help move. Either light cotton gardening gloves or slightly heavier, yet still flexible, leather ones are easily found in gardening stores in or near your home town.

Knee pads or a gardening kneeling pad are extremely helpful as excavation takes place mostly on one's knees.

Backpack/tote bag for carrying your tools and gear out to site each day.

Small handy pocket knife, useful though not required.

Water bottle. While water is provided, you need a container(s) big enough to carry out your daily needs to site. Disposable plastic 1.5- or 2-liter bottles can be purchased locally and reused, though some prefer to bring their own Nalgene/Camelbak bottles and or Camelbak reservoirs.

Drinking/travel mug. If you would like to take coffee or tea with you out to the site, bring your own travel mug. This would also be handy for use in the hotel, where otherwise only small glass cups are available for hot drinks.

Laundry soap, which is also available anywhere in Jordan (there are no washing facilities except a sink/bucket and your hands!)

Clip-type clothespins and a line for hanging laundry out to dry

Sunglasses (protect your eyes from the sun as well as dust!)

Sunscreen with broad-spectrum, high SPF factor

Insect repellent/anti itch cream – while mosquitos have not been a huge challenge in the past, having repellent on hand in case of need will be useful.

Ear plugs – especially if you are a light sleeper and there are snorers nearby!

Toiletries – some basic toiletries are available but choice will be very limited and bringing your essentials with you will save grief!

Hand wipes/sanitizer – hand washing facilities do not exist on-site so having a ready supply of hand wipes or hand sanitizer will make you feel a bit more clean, if not actually assist in that direction!

Pain killers (advil/aspirin) may help sore muscles adjust to new labors

Packs of travel facial tissues often double for toilet paper duty while traveling or on site!

Medications: your standard medications / skin moisturizers / Imodium A-D (or equivalent) to be taken preventively against or for occurrences of intestinal problems / antibiotics for intestinal problems / standard pain relievers / sunburn treatment / lip salve / Band aids / cough drops / cold medicine / three-inch ace wrap bandage (many of these items will be available in Jordan, although not necessarily your favorite brands, but it will save you time, hassle and expense if you bring them with you).

What NOT to bring:

Keep in mind this is an archaeological excavation; it will be dirty and dusty and many things are therefore unnecessary or endangered. Items like hairdryers not only threaten the local electricity supply, but are unnecessary in the extreme heat of summer in Jordan. Jewelry, expensive electronics, and other irreplaceable valuables are best left safely at home.

Weekend Trips:

Day excursions on the weekends will be available for interested parties. For students enrolled for credit, these day trips to famous archaeological sites in Jordan will be covered by their tuition fees. Other participants may join these trips for an additional fee. The mid-point weekend of the project will be a two-day trip to Petra for all interested participants. Again, students will have their expenses covered, while others will need to cover their own accommodation, meals, and Petra entrance fees [see the note for the Jordan Explorer Pass under visa costs above]. For more information on this trip, visit

Petra Trip - July 12 & 13


Friedbert Ninow, La Sierra University
Kent Bramlett, La Sierra University
Monique Vincent, Walla Walla University

To connect with the team or read newsletters and see photographs from the 2017 season, check out the Facebook page at:


Health Guidelines

Provided by the American Center of Oriental Research (ASOR), Amman

This is quite a comprehensive list – one size fits all – so one need not be overwhelmed by it. Many of the potential problems cited here we have never faced on an MPP excavation. Most important are the suggestions regarding water and food. As is usually the case, prevention is the best medicine! We will discuss these matters more fully once we arrive in Jordan.

Preventive Health Care and Information

The following information is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. It is not comprehensive by any means and is not to be used as a substitute for qualified medical advice/attention. This information was taken from the Johns Hopkins Travel Medicine handout and a Preventive Health Care & Information booklet from the U.S. Embassy in Amman. ACOR is not responsible for any typos, errors, and misinformation provided below.


  • Illness caused by contaminated water is common in Jordan. Traveler’s Diarrhea is very common, and only bottled water or boiled and filtered water should be used for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth. A filter only is not sufficient to purify water. Freezing (ie. ice cubes) does not kill bacteria.
  • Boiling is the most reliable method of treating contaminated water. Water should be brought to a hard, rolling boil, for at least 5 minutes. It is recommended that the water be filtered as well after it has been cooled. Water should then be placed in a clean and closed container. If water is provided on a large scale, it is best to place it in large jugs with small taps at the bottom to avoid contamination by hands.

Traveler’s Diarrhea Prevention:

  • Avoid tap water and ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and peel fruit yourself.
  • Thoroughly wash and soak all fruits and vegetables (see below)
  • Eat fresh, hot, well-cooked foods; avoid food that has been sitting out for an unknown time (ie. some buffets in restaurants) or has been in contact with flies.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and raw or undercooked meat and seafood.


  • Loose or watery bowel movements.
  • Potential dehydration from excess fluid and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, and glucose) loss; with dark yellow/orange scanty urine, headache, dry mouth, skin and eyes, feeling light headed or fainting.
  • Cramps and abdominal discomfort with tiredness and fatigue.


  • It is always best to seek the attention of a doctor. Traveler’s diarrhea may pass on its own or require a course of antibiotics to rid the body of parasites (amoebas, giardia, etc).
  • For mild diarrhea (less than 3 bowel movements in 24 hours), eat a carbohydrate diet. Avoid high sugar content drinks. Take plenty of liquids.
  • For moderate to severe diarrhea (more than 3 bowel movements or diarrhea of large watery volume), seek the advice of a doctor. Eat a carbohydrate diet. Change to a bland diet of bread, rice, wheat, pasta, corn, bananas, soups, potatoes, lean meat, boiled eggs, clear juices, and weak tea. Avoid caffeine, chocolate, spices, dairy products, high sugar content drinks, alcohol, and greasy foods. Maintain a fluid intake of 2-4 quarts/liters in 24 hours. For severe diarrhea, you may need to take a oral rehydration solution (ORS) to replace the electrolytes lost from the diarrhea. The World Health Organization has developed a balanced salt and glucose (simple sugar) mixture, which when added to water and consumed can replace the needed electrolytes. This mixture is available in pharmacies under the brand names Aquasal or Servidrat. It comes in prepackaged sachets and is reconstituted my mixing one sachet in 200cc of water. The correct amount of ORS to be taken each day is dependent on how severe the diarrhea is. If no commercially ORS is available, a homemade solution may be made according to the WHO ORS recipe: Dissolve 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of salt, 18 grams (4 teaspoons) of sugar into 1 liter of potable water.
  • Seek medical attention with diarrhea when significant fever persists after the first 12-24 hours despite good rehydration; diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting and you are unable to retain the ORS; diarrhea persists more than 2 days.

Food Preparation and Handling

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • There are many green grocers around town, and the longer you are here, you will find your favorite. There is a large variety of produce, from Jordan and imported as well, to choose from during most of the year. Buy only the freshest undamaged fruits and vegetables without broken skins. The U.S. Embassy Health Unit recommends the following procedure before consuming:
  • Wash and soak for 10 minutes in warm tap water to which 1 tbsp of detergent soap has been added. The container needs to be large enough that all produce is fully submerged.
  • Scrub each piece with a brush.
  • Rinse off all soap with cold tap water.
  • Follow by soaking them in a chlorine solution for 15 minutes. One tbsp of liquid Clorox in one gallon of water will provide the right properties.
  • After fifteen minutes, rinse with potable water, let drip dry and store in refrigerator.
  • Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, parsley, and celery are difficult to sterilize. Amoebic cysts are viable in the soil for over 20 years and can be absorbed into the veins of these vegetables.


  • Discard eggs with cracked shells.
  • Use only clean eggs, not ones covered with soil.
  • Eggs should be thoroughly cooked. The yolks of fried and boiled eggs should be thoroughly firm. Omelets and scrambled eggs should be firm throughout and not wet.
  • Do not eat raw eggs or use dishes/utensils that have not been cleaned after being in contact with raw eggs.


  • Eat only meat that has thoroughly been cooked. There should be no red meat or juices.

Animal Bites:

  • Dogs, Cats (Rabies)
  • Rabies is endemic to Jordan. Avoid contact with stray dogs and cats. No matter how sorry you feel for a stray cat, a helpless kitten, a friendly dog, DO NOT put food out for it or play with it because you will domesticate it and it will not leave. This animal may carry rabies or some other disease or be prone to biting. If bitten or scratched:
    • Wash the area for 20 minutes with copious amounts of flowing water and soap to remove all saliva
    • Apply iodine (Betadine) or Mercurochrome solution, alcohol, or any disinfectant, as available
    • Notify a doctor immediately
    • Observe the animal for two weeks if possible.
    • You may need to undergo post-exposure rabies treatment. Ask your doctor.


  • Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) is a parasitic disease present in some areas of Jordan. It can be contacted by wading or swimming in fresh water canals, rivers, and lakes. For this reason, it is only safe to swim in chlorinated pools, the Dead Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, or a thermal hot spring. Therefore do not walk, wade, swim, or dangle your hands or arms in any fresh water pools, streams, or lakes in Jordan.

Arthropod-borne Diseases:

  • The presence of arthropod-borne diseases have been reported in Jordan. An arthropod disease is one that is carried and transmitted by arthropods such as ticks, spiders, mosquitoes, flies, and fleas. The diseases under this category are too many to be listed. The symptoms of some are very much like the flu. Symptoms may be characterized by a sudden onset of moderate to high fever which persists up to 3 weeks, significant feelings of malaise (feeling of discomfort or uneasiness), deep muscle pain, sever headaches, and chills. The symptoms may also be accompanied by a rash that is measle-like in appearance. The rash generally appears on the third day of the fever and may spread. The incubation period after a bite until onset of illness ranges from about 3 to 14 days. With prompt recognition of a tick or other bite and treatment with a course of antibiotics, serious and significant disease is usually avoided. Untreated, these diseases can cause permanent damage or be fatal. Scorpions and Centipedes.
  • Scorpions may be found both inside and outside the home. There are six species found in Jordan, with the yellow scorpions having the highest toxicity, followed by the black ones. Light and dark brown scorpions are non-toxic. If a scorpion stings you, it is advisable to put ice on the area and go to a hospital ER or other local clinic immediately. If possible, bring the captured or dead scorpion with you. Centipedes are also found both inside and outside the home. Their bite can cause severe local and sometimes general symptoms, but are rarely fatal. Apply ice to the bite and see a doctor.

[Although we sometimes see snakes, no one from the Madaba Plains Project remembers any problems with them.]

  • Jordan has 32 species of snakes. Most are harmless, but there are a few that are venomous and potentially dangerous. Non-poisonous snakes have a single row of small teeth on both upper and lower jaws. When they bite, they leave a semi-circle of small, even puncture marks. Venomous snakes have fangs with which to inject poison, and their bites are distinguished by two deep puncture marks. Two types of venomous snakes are found in different parts of Jordan that are of particular concern.
  • The Walterinnesia Aegyptia. A black snake 100-200 cm long, with a smooth head shaped the same as its body. If bitten by this snake, symptoms may be drowsiness and difficulty in swallowing.
  • The Vipera Palestine. Usually found in the Jordan Valley. It is about 60-100 cm long and has a ‘V’ shape of color on its head.
  • A good rule of thumb to go by in identifying dangerous snakes is that if it has a fat body and triangular shaped head, it should be regarded as poisonous. Note that the Walterinnesia does not fit into this rule.
  • If a person is bitten by a poisonous snake, three important steps should be followed:
    • Keep the person quiet, have them lie down, and carry them to transportation.
    • Take care of the victim’s psychological state. Keep him/her quiet. The more excited the victim is, the faster the venom will circulate.
    • Take the victim to the nearest hospital ER or medical center. The nearest clinic may or may not have anti-venom. The Embassy has reported that Al-Bashir Government Hospital and Jordan University Hospital have anti-venom.

Health Notes

Immunizations (

The American Embassy in Amman recommends the following immunizations for travel to Jordan. Record of immunizations should be listed in the "yellow book" to accompany your passport. You should also list your blood type in case of emergency. Please check with your physician for his/her recommendations regarding these immunizations.

  • Typhoid - required every three years.
  • Tetanus Diphtheria - required every ten years.
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B (now on recommended list for all Americans)
  • Meningitis - recommended every three years.
  • Malaria - no malaria in Amman, occasionally present in the Jordan Valley.
  • Cholera - not required.

Poisonous Bites - any bite that provokes an unusual reaction (excessive swelling, soreness, redness, etc.) should be looked at by a doctor immediately. Do not wait “to see what will happen.” Waiting too long may cause serious or permanent illness or physical damage.

Scorpions - Yellow scorpions have the highest toxicity, followed by black. Light and dark brown scorpions are usually not poisonous.

Centipedes - can cause severe local and sometimes general symptoms, but are rarely fatal. The centipede locally known as the "Forty-four," (yellowish-tan, approximately 8 inches long) is the most common poisonous type.

Spiders - Black Widow. The large "camel spiders" are not poisonous, but can inflict a bite. The brown recluse can cause serious damage.

Ticks - themselves are not poisonous but may carry transmittable diseases in Jordan. Ticks are associated with horses, camels, dogs, cats, rodents, small mammals, cave dung, as well as other sources.

Wasps - The big brown and yellow "cow-killer" wasps will cause an immediate reaction even in those not normally allergic to bee stings. Local first-aid clinics will usually have anti-venom shots available. If you are allergic to bee stings, you should carry your "kit" with you at all times.

Snakes - Jordan has many snakes - some of which are not fully known or classified by biologists. Always assume it is poisonous. Local first-aid clinics may or may not have anti-venom shots available.

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