Andrews University Institute Of Archaeology And The Horn Archaeological Museum -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 08:4 (Autumn 1995)
Article: Andrews University Institute Of Archaeology And The Horn Archaeological Museum
Author: Gary A. Byers

Andrews University Institute Of Archaeology And The Horn
Archaeological Museum

Gary A. Byers

One of the longest running archaeological excavations in the region of ancient Palestine has been conducted just south of Amman, Jordan, by Andrews University. Called the Madaba Plains Project, it has quietly become one of the most thorough and integrative of American excavations in the Middle East.

Heshbon Expedition

Initiated as the Heshbon Expedition and directed by Seigfried Horn in 1968 at Tell Hesban, the original goals of the excavation were in conjunction with research into the Israelite Conquest of Canaan. In particular, they intended to determine whether the modern site could be identified with the Biblical Late Bronze city of Heshbon (Nm 21:21–26). Tell Hesban’s mound of 15 acres appeared to be the most likely candidate in the region. Unfortunately, after five seasons of excavations concluded in 1976, results did not verify that identification.

What excavators did find among the 19 strata on the tell was fragmentary remains for a small unfortified village of the 12th-11th centuries BC (Iron Age I),the earliest stratum on the site. Later remains were also identified from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Early Arab, Ayyubid and Mameluke periods.

Madaba Plains Project

After the conclusion of the Heshbon Expedition, excavations in the region continued as the expanded Madaba Plains Project, with ongoing excavations at Tell el-ʿUmeiri (starting 1984) and Tell Jalul (starting 1992). Excavations at ʿUmeiri, located halfway between Tell Hesban and Amman, the capital of modern Jordan, were jointly directed by Lawrence Geraty and Larry Herr, with Horn as a senior adviser. The site consists of three mounds, 250 m apart, separated by a wadi and the freeway from Amman to the international airport. The northeast tell dates to the Islamic period and the southeast to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

The western tell of ʿUmeiri is 16 acres in area and sits 60 m above the wadi. Here excavations have uncovered remains from the Early Bronze Age (ca. 2500 BC) through the beginning of the Persian period (6th century BC). In addition, the ʿUmeiri project includes a regional study of the area within a 5 km radius from the site.

Tell Jalul, a site of 18.5 acres, began as a special project in 1982. In 1992 it became a major project, with excavations conducted biannually under the direction of Randall Younker. Thus far, a city dating to t...

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