Ancient 150-km-long wall in Jordan puzzles archaeologists
Archaeologists with the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan (AAJ) project have been investigating the remains of the wall using aerial photography. The researchers found that the wall runs north-northeast to south-southwest over a distance of 66 miles (106 km). The structure, they found, contains sections where two walls run side by side and other sections where the wall branches off.
Today, the wall is in ruins. However, "even in its original state, it cannot have been much more than a metre [3.3 feet] high and perhaps half a metre [1.6 feet] wide," wrote Kennedy and Banks.
The towers likely had a variety of uses. "Some may have been places of refuge — a secure place to overnight. Others may have been [used] as watch posts. Some, perhaps, [were] places in which hunters could hide until browsing fauna was close enough to try and bring down," Kennedy told Live Science.
So far, the only dating information the scientists have comes from pottery found in the towers and other sites along the wall, Kennedy said. Based on the pottery found to date, the wall was likely built sometime between the Nabataean period (312 B.C.–A.D. 106) and the Umayyad period (A.D. 661–750), Kennedy said.
"It is possible that local communities, seeing what neighbors have done and persuaded of its usefulness, simply copied the practice," Kennedy and Banks wrote.
|A map showing the full length of the Khatt Shebib. Several archaeological sites|
are located on or near the wall. At the southern end of the wall you can see sections
where two walls run in parallel instead of one [Credit: R. Banks]
Traces of ancient agriculture are more visible to the west of the wall than to the east, suggesting the structure marked a boundary between ancient farmers and nomadic pastoralists, the researchers said. Or it may have marked a different type of boundary.
|Ultimately more on-the-ground fieldwork will have to be done to solve the |
wall's mysteries [Credit: APAAMEG_20040527_RHB-0012 © Robert Bewley,
Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East]
Author: Owen Jarus | Source: LiveScience [February 19, 2016]