Main image: 1984 excavation team.

Project Excavations

After the site's initial comprehensive survey in 1972-73, project excavations at Umm el-Jimal commenced with a series of preliminary soundings in 1974 and have continued at regular intervals ever since. In the 1970s and 80s, three early Field Seasons emphasized excavation of the late antique town and developing an occupation history of the site. The 1984 discovery that 'Al-Herri,' a ruinous area southeast of the town, was in fact a Roman-era village led to further excavations in the early 1990s. Additional research on the site's cemeteries and tombs was conducted in the late 1990s. Throughout much of 2012-2014 field staff excavated and consolidated the House XVII-XVIII complex as part of ongoing conservation work. In 2015 new work began near the West Gate, and on the water system.

Designated Research Areas

Due to the site's large size, over 800 by 600 meters for the late antique town alone, the project's excavations have aimed to target specific buildings as well as create a distribution of squares throughout the entire site. Similar to other Jordanian sites, the project defines squares as any excavation unit regardless of its shape, and areas as a set of related squares.

Area A: Squares A.1–A.4, 1977–81 & 1998

Barracks, S City Wall, and House 49 (the 'Nabataean Temple')

Area B: Squares 1.1–B.10, 1977–81

Praetorium and W City Wall

Area C: Squares C.1–C.21, 1977 & 2012–2014

House XVII–XVIII Complex

Area D: Squares D.1–D.4, 1981

Northeast Church

Area E: Squares E.1–E.15, 1981–84 & 1998

Numerianos Church

Area F: Squares F.1–F.11, 1981–84

Castellum, Castellum NE Gate, and Castellum NE Tower

Area G: Squares G.1–G.5, 1981

Water System

Area J: Squares J.1–J.9, 1981–84

Barracks and Barracks W Gate

Area K: Square K.1, 1981

Kiln Dump

Area L: Square L.1, 1981

North Dump and Reservoir Cleanout

Area N: Squares N.1–N.2, 1981

House XIV

Area O: Squares O.1–O.6, 1984

East Cemetery Tomb Probes

Area P: Squares P.1–P.4, 1974

Preliminary Stratigraphic Soundings

Area R: Squares R.1–R.19d, 1984 & 1994–98

1st–3rd Century Roman Village

Area T: Squares T.1–T.7, 1984

East Wadi Agricultural System

Area U: Squares U.1–U.7, 1984 & 1998

West Church

Area V: Square V.1, 1984

Northeast Mausoleum

Area W: Squares W.1–W.2, 1984

SE Cemetery Shaft Tombs

Area X: Squares X.1–X.2, 1984

Double Apse Church

Area Y: Squares Y.1–Y.13, 1993

House 119 (Site Museum)

Area Z: Squares Z.1–Z.11, 1993–96

Serour Orchard Cemetery

Area AA: Squares AA.1–AA.23, 1993–98

Girls' School Cemetery

Area BB: Squares BB.1–BB.2, 1996

Eastern Chamber Tombs

Area CC: Squares CC.1–CC.4, 1998

Olive Orchard Cemetery

Area DD: Squares DD.1–DD.3, 1998

Julianos Church

Area EE: Squares EE.1–EE.5, 2015

West Gate

Area FF: Squares FF.1–FF.3, 2015

Water System & Gardens


Developed and still being refined from the site's ceramic record, the project's working stratigraphy has been adapted from Lapp-Sauer's (LS) original ceramics scheme for the region. It applies their terminology as it more naturally reflects Umm el-Jimal's local cultural history, resulting in periods somewhat earlier than convention elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Umm el-Jimal has seven major strata, as outlined below by number, name, date range, and UJ/LS periods where different.

Stratum 1, Modern:
LS c. AD 1948 to present

Stratum 2, Late Ottoman & Mandate:
circa AD 1900–48

Post-Stratum 3 Gap, Ayubbid, Mamluk, & Ottoman:
circa AD 900–1900

Stratum 3, Early Islamic and Pre–Umayyad:
UJ mid 7th to 8th century AD;
LS c. AD 636–61, 661–800

Stratum 4, Late Byzantine:
UJ 6th to early 7th century AD;
LS c. AD 491–636

Stratum 5, Early Byzantine
UJ 4th–5th century AD;
LS c. AD 324–491

Stratum 6, Late Roman:
UJ mid 2nd to early 4th century AD;
LS c. AD 135–324

Stratum 7, Early Roman:
UJ mid 1st to early 2nd century AD;
LS c. AD 63–135

Pre-Stratum 7, Pre-Roman:
Before mid 1st century BC

Camels at the Barracks

Towards a History of
Umm el-Jimal

Ongoing archaeological study at Umm el-Jimal continues to inform an ever-evolving picture of life at the ancient town. The Findings section contains overview of the site's ancient History, People, Environment, as well as Religion and Society.