Excavations at Tell Um Hammad, 1982-1984: The Early Assemblages (EB I-II)

Excavations at Tell Um Hammad, 1982-1984: The Early Assemblages (EB I-II)

Excavations at Tell Um Hammad, 1982-1984: The Early Assemblages (EB I-II)

Excavations at Tell Um Hammad, 1982-1984: The Early Assemblages (EB I-II)


"This is the second volume outlining the findings of important excavations in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It presents the longest and best preserved stratified occupation of the second half of the 4th millennium BC (EB IA and EB IB) at Tell Um Hammad in the central Jordan Valley. For over fifty years this period has been the subject of speculation among scholars of Near Eastern history, who see it as the prelude to the first 'urban' stage in the southern Levant. This new work at Tell Um Hammad now gives the first comprehensive set of ceramic, lithic, architectural and stratigraphic data which will form the basis of all further interpretation. Striving towards an explanation of the historical processes between the village economies of the Chalcolithic period and the 'full' Early Bronze Age, this volume will be a standard reference work for both historians and archaeologists of the Near East." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


A. V. G. betts

This is the second in a series of three volumes describing excavations at the sites of Jawa and Um Hammad in Jordan. Tell Um Hammad is a large open settlement in the central Jordan Valley, on the banks of wadi Zerqa near its confluence with the River Jordan. the site was first occupied in the late Chalcolithic period and has an almost continuous stratigraphic sequence up until eb ii on the main tell. Um Hammad was largely abandoned during the middle of the Early Bronze Age, but was re-occupied in eb iv when a new settlement was established. a cemetery associated with the Early Bronze Age occupation lies to the south, along the cliffs overlooking the Zerqa river. the cemetery is classified as a separate site, Tiwal esh-Sharqi. Um Hammad was abandoned at the end of the Early Bronze Age, but was briefly re-occupied later when an Iron Age farmstead was built on the main tell.

Tell Um Hammad was first 'discovered' by Nelson Glueck during his pioneering surveys east of the Jordan river. the rich potential of the site was recognised by James Mellaart, who made soundings there in 1953 as part of a research programme to study the nature of fourth and third millennium occupation in the Jordan Valley. Excavations under Svend Helms began in 1982 and continued over two seasons to 1984. Prior to the excavations at Tell Um Hammad, Helms had been working at Jawa, an extensive fortified site on the lower slopes of Jebel Druze. Jawa's massive fortifications and complex water systems were constructed at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, but the relationship between this early fortified town and village settlements of the same period in Palestine was unclear. While Helms was working at Jawa, Mellaart pointed out to him similarities between some of the Um Hammad pottery forms and those from Jawa; forms which were not parallelled elsewhere in Palestine at that time. a short visit to Tell Um Hammad in 1981 convinced Helms of this connection and he arranged to begin excavations at the site.

Tell Um Hammad is important because it has preserved deep stratigraphy of the period between the Chalcolithic and what has been called the 'walled town' culture of the Early Bronze Age. the depth of occupation and the related structural sequence indicate that this period was much longer than has previously been thought. the Chalcolithic/EB transition has long been the subject of debate, yet . . .

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