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The Danish-German

Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Project outline

Directors: Prof. Dr. Rubina Raja and Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger

Head of field: PD Dr. Georg Kalaitzoglou

Head of registration: Dr. Heike Möller (2015-2017)

In the year 2011, the joint archaeological project between Aarhus University and Ruhr University Bochum (later Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Rubina Raja and Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger was begun. The project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, H.P. Hjerl Hansens Mindefondet for Dansk Palæstinaforskning and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The aim of the project is to examine the settlement history for the until now largely unexplored Nothwest Quarter in the ancient city of Gerasa, modern Jerash in Jordan.

Gerasa was a Hellenistic-Roman influenced city, which was refounded in the 2nd century BC. The Northwest is densely covered with building structures laid out on a terrace system and stretches over the entire hill (app. 4 hectares). The area which is located within the walled ancient city is the highest point in the ancient city. One specific research focus is the settlement history of the hill and the continuities and changes which this area underwent over time.

To the west, the area is defined by the ancient city wall with the Northwest Gate and to the north by the North Decumanus. The exact layout of the North Decumanus close to a prominent hill slope is not yet known and is therefore one of the future areas of investigation. To the south, the area is defined by the end of the steep slope and to the east by the monumental Artemision from the 2nd century AD.

Previous field work in the area has been confined to the excavation of the so-called Synagoge Church by Hamilton (published in Kraeling 1938). The Synagoge was converted into a church around AD 530/531. A few trial trenches were laid out by British and American archaeologists in the early 1980s, but the results of these did not bring to light any substantial information about the history of the Northwest Quarter.


Copper-based metalwork in Roman to early Islamic Jerash (Jordan)

2020.08.21New publication by Vana Orfanou, Thomas Birch, Achim Lichtenberger, Rubina Raja, Gry H. Barfod, Charles E. Lesher and Christoph Eger

Jerash seen from the Northwest Quarter. To the left, the Northern Tetrapylon can be seen, and to the right the Artemis Temple. Photo: Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project).
One of the colourless Roman glass sherds from Jerash, Jordan, analysed in the new study. Purple splashes are iridescence due to weathering. Photo: Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project.

When high-definition archaeology pays off: The case of Roman glass from Jerash

2020.08.14The origin of Roman glass can be determined through hafnium isotopes. An International collaboration study was published on this last month, and at the root of the study is the Roman glass from the excavations in Jerash run by the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project. The new study underlines the possibilities and potential of high-definition approaches in archaeological excavation projects.

Photo: Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project.

Recent UrbNet results continue to make headlines

2020.08.12The study, which confirms the origin of clear Roman glass by analysing trace quantities of Hafnium isotopes of glass fragments from the archaeological excavations in Jerash by the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project, has been widely covered in the news ever since it was published in Nature Scientific Reports last month.

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