Posted by: Kevin Burton | May 19, 2011

Preliminary Report: Jalul 2009 Season

Read the Report Online

Preliminary Report: Jalul 2009 Season

Posted by: Constance Gane | December 29, 2010

2011 Dig Season

Tall Jalul May 5-June 17, 2011 

Vern Porras


Place: Excavating at Tall Jalul, Jordan

Accommodations: Mariam Hotel, Madaba


  • Volunteers: $4500, includes flight, food, weekend tours
  • Andrews Grad Students: $4500, includes flight, food, weekend tours and academic credits
  • Andrews Undergrad Students: Contact $6800


  • February 1st: Security Form Due, along with 3 passport-sized photos (2″x2″), and a $200.00 deposit
  • March 15th: Application, full amount due

More Info:


2 Options for Undergraduate Students taking Credit:

Jordan Field School 2011

1. Join Tall Jalul (dates: May 5-June 17) and excavate on the Jalul site (fill out the Jalul forms and communicate with Amanda Moushon at


2. Go with the Jordan Field School of Tall Hisban (dates: May 8-June 2) (fill out forms from Dr. LaBianca: contact him directly)

Either way, all undergraduate academic and financial information is to be obtained from Dr. LaBianca at

Posted by: ochesnut | July 16, 2010

New Site Map

Here is the updated site map, showing the squares excavated this past season (G10, G11, W1-4).

Posted by: ochesnut | July 16, 2010

Dig Season Recap

Apologies for not recapping the season earlier, but life (and dissertation) happens.  The short season was quite successful as we were able to trace the water channel through Field G into the newly created Field W, until it came to a premature end.  The channel was either robbed out in antiquity or destroyed by natural forces.  It is hoped that next season new squares will be opened in Field W to see if the channel continues further to the north.

The water channel dates to the 7th century BCE (based on pottery in the foundation of the channel) and went out of use during the 6th century BCE (based on pottery found on the floor of the channel amidst collapse) and is likely associated somehow with a large depression in the middle of the tell, which appears to be an ancient water source.  The plastered channel is slightly less than 1 meter wide and is preserved with plaster over 1 m high  in some places.  This season the channel was traced through G11, W1, W3, and W4, making the total length uncovered this season around 18m.  The channel slopes from the interior of the tell out, ending just outside of the city wall in Field G.  This slope is unusual and means that instead of being for runoff, leading into a catchment basin of some type, the channel was likely used for overflow from a cartesian well or spring sending water outside of the city for use in agriculture.

Not much was found in the other squares excavated around the channel.  In the last few days, Dr. Denis Fortin, dean of the seminary at Andrews University, found part of a wall and a floor made up of compact dirt and pebbles in W2.  He also found pottery from several different time periods including the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age I, and Iron Age II.

Posted by: ochesnut | May 18, 2010

We Found It!

The main goal of this season was to continue tracing the plastered channel and see where it goes, and if it somehow connects with the water system (which we are hypothesizing is evident from the large depressed, fertile area in the middle of the tell).  Today in G11 we found the channel.  I came down on some stones forming a wall, and as we continued to excavate more stones were uncovered as was the wall of the channel.  Instead of continuing on its suggested path (through the middle of G11 diagonally) it turns to the east and continues on the eastern side of the square.  Shellie Berglin seems to have locates the top course of stones on the eastern side of W1 the square directly to the north of G11.

The FIirst Few Stones of the Channel Emerge

Zeljko Finding the Other Side of the Channel

Excavated in 2009

Water Channel Running Through G11

Posted by: ochesnut | May 13, 2010

Week One Recap

Tomorrow the dig will be a third over.  For some reason we are still waiting for our permit even though we were told we would have it at the beginning of the week.  We were told that, despite the lack of permit, we could dig and then yesterday we had to stop early because we were told we shouldn’t be digging, and then today we were allowed to dig again.  Today we also realized that one of the squares was 6×6 meters instead of the usual 5×5 meters.  Despite these random annoyances we are making good progress.

Field G now consists of only two squares (the top square in the picture below and one out of sight), as we decided to call the two descending into the water system Field W.  The top square in that three step drop is the most important because it will reveal the orientation of the plastered channel.  So we will be able to see whether the channel continues to turn and descends through the two squares in Field W or whether it continues off to their west.  The three step squares have revealed limited architecture, a possible wall fragment is being uncovered in G11 (the top step, where doctoral student Jeff Hudon is supervisor), and in W2 (where our dean, Denis Fortin is square supervisor) a number tesserae were found in a random jumble and band of cobble stones is being revealed.  In G11 two Ottoman period burials were uncovered, both young children with one articulated on its side and facing Mecca.  In G10 (Sabal Zeben supervisor) they are attempting to follow the city wall and have so far uncovered the top stones of a wall oriented at a slightly different angle than that of the wall in the square to its southwest.  Tomorrow we head for Petra and will be back to Madaba on Sunday.

W1, 2 and G11

Posted by: ochesnut | May 10, 2010

Digging in the Sand

Today was day one of excavations.  We opened four new squares in Field G, three following the path of the plastered [water] channel down towards the presumed water system and the fourth following the bend in the city wall to the northeast.  Down in the Islamic Village one new square was opened in order to continue excavating the southeastern extent of the khan excavated in previous seasons.

We left for the tell around 5am and stopped working around noon.  We cut out early because a khamsin was blowing in, it was hot and became almost impossible to dig with all the wind and dust whipping around.

Posted by: ochesnut | May 1, 2010

Short Season Starts Soon

Next week there will be an exodus of people out to Madaba and we will begin excavating at Jalul on Sunday May 9th. We will be excavating in Field G and one square in the Islamic Village.  The goal this year is to expand the area along the city wall and plastered channel that were found last season in G.

As usual there have already been issues regarding dig prep.  We shipped our GPS units over so that we could keep them in country and have them ready to dig.  However we found out they were being held up in customs because of new government regulations.  Well it turns out that the radio modems, which are necessary in order for the rover GPS units to communicate with the base, were being held up because they are set to a frequency that, while standard in North America, is reserved for cell phones in Jordan.  This news has led to all kinds of issues and looks like we will have to rent units in the meantime and possibly buy new radio modems in Jordan.  There are always complications.

I will be updating the blog regularly during the dig and hopefully there will be guest post or two along the way.

Owen Chesnut

Posted by: ochesnut | January 16, 2010

2010 Dig Season

In May of 2010 we will be having a short three week dig season.  We will be digging in Field G, which was where the pottery cache, water channel, and city wall were found. Jalul 2010 flier

Posted by: ochesnut | September 10, 2009

Jiza Potters Update

A post from this past dig season on an ethnographic look at pottery titled “Jiza Potters” has been updated with a working link, to download a short essay with pictures written by David Cox.

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