The role of landscape in the occupational history of Gerasa and its hinterland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The earliest human archaeological record in the Jarash valley dates to the Pleistocene period, although Abu Suwwan, the first known permanent settlement, dates much later to the PPNB. The archaeological record is biased by a focus on sites within ancient Gerasa and, in particular, on major monuments dating to the Roman-Byzantine period on the west bank of the wadi. We have only glimpses of the area’s settlement history in the Chalcolithic-Hellenistic period, while serious studies of the Islamic period only commenced in 2000, and the published archaeological record tells us little of the physical setting of the ancient city. The establishment of a Circassian colony in 1878 over the ruins on the east side of the city effectively precluded systematic archaeological investigations on this side of the river; a problem exacerbated by the limited publishing of results from the few excavations conducted there. The sister Decapolis cities of Gadara, Abila, Hippos and Capitolias, were established around an acropolis on prominent hilltops: while similar topographic sites exist in the near vicinity of Gerasa, from the late Iron Age period they were eschewed in favour of a virtually indefensible lower slope location adjacent to the Chrysorhoas or ‘Golden River’.
The paper looks at the historiography of settlement in the vicinity of the ancient city in the context of the physical environment based on landscape analysis historical evidence contained in early photographs, with a focus on the occupational history of the eastern side of the city and the lower Jarash valley.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe archaeology and history of Jerash
Subtitle of host publication110 years of excavations
EditorsAchim Lichtenberger, Rubina Raja
Place of PublicationBelgium
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-57820-0
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameJerash Papers


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