Monday, February 22, 2016

Mystery wall in Jordan

NABATEAN (NABATAEAN) WATCH? OR SOMETHING. 93-Mile-Long Ancient Wall in Jordan Puzzles Archaeologists (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
A new map of an ancient wall that extended 93 miles (150 kilometers) in Jordan has left archaeologists with a series of mysteries, including questions over when the wall was built, who built it and what its purpose was.


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.

Though one of the kingdoms or empires that ruled Jordan in that long stretch of time could have built the wall, the structure might not have been constructed by a large state. "It is possible that local communities, seeing what neighbors have done and persuaded of its usefulness, simply copied the practice," Kennedy and Banks wrote.

The purpose of the wall is also a mystery. Its low height and narrowness indicate that it wasn't constructed for defensive reasons, said Kennedy and 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.