Supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs    
Khirbet al-Batrawy
Season 2006
Excavations are supported by Rome "La Sapienza" University, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
and the Italian Ministry for University and Scientific Research


Rome "La Sapienza" Expedition to Palestine & Jordan began his research activities on the origin, development and crisis of early urbanization in Southern Levant in December 2004 with a preliminary survey in from the eastern fringes of the az-Zarqa and al Mafraq regions to the western edges of the Basalt Desert (north-eastern district of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), with the aim of checking pre-classical sites of these districts. From east to west, the sites of Jawa, Tell Afihe, Hawshiyan, Tell Umm el-Quttein, Karyat Kisha al-Sletin, Salatin, Rukeis, Qasr Useykhim, Qasr el-Hallabat, Tell el-Qihati, Tell Fa', Tell Qanasri, Rihab were visited. The Expedition moved then southward into the Zarqa district, reconsidering some of the main Bronze Age sites in the valley (Jebel el-Mutawwaq, Tell el-Bireh, Jebel er-Reheil, Khirbet al-Batrawy, Khirbet er-Ruseifeh) and identifying the EB II-III fortified town of Khirbet al-Batrawy as the key urban centre of the Upper Wadi az-Zarqa Basin during the Early Bronze Age.


The second season of excavations at Khirbet al-Batrawy, an Early Bronze Age most prominent site in the Upper Wadi ez-Zarqa, was carried out under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and in cooperation with the Queen Rania's Institute of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of the Hashemite University of Zarqa between May 14th and June 11th 2006, with the aim of further investigating the site history and topography, of clarifying its periodisation, and of restoring part of the impressive city-wall of the Early Bronze Age already brought to light in the first season.

Excavations were carried out in the two areas already investigated in the first season (Area A, on the Acropolis, Area B, on the northern fortification) and in three new areas located in different spots of the site (Area D, at the south-western corner of the hill; Area E, at the mid of the its southern side; Area F, on the eastern plateau).

Area A: the Acropolis

Excavations on the Acropolis were focused in Area A West, where a large portion of the Early Bronze Age IV village was already brought to light in year 2005. Here five new squares were opened adding at least four new houses to the previous known layout of the village. Underneath the EB IV occupation layers more substantial Early Bronze III structures were uncovered in a very bad state of preservation. Nonetheless, they testified to the earlier occupation of the Acropolis.

Area B North: the City-Wall and the City-Gate

Excavations at the mid of the northern line of fortifications were subdivided into two connected areas: Area B North outside the city-wall and Area B South inside the city-wall. The extension of Area B North towards the west allowed to identify the main city-gate, a simple passageway 1.4 m wide leading into a corridor, preceded by a step. The gate was blocked by a stone wall, which was removed in order to allow the restoration of this important monument preserved with an height of more than 2.2 m. Outside the city-wall a paved passage was connected to an outer gate, opened in a massive outer fortification wall made of large boulders (1.4-1.6 m thick), which ran parallel to the main city-wall. The exploration of this further structure was continued towards north and west, opening four more squares and discovering that a reinforcing buttress abutted on it, and that in that direction the state of preservation of the massive defensive system of the site was preserved up to 3 m of elevation. The overall layout of the city-gate and its related structures from the one hand testifies to a very complex and well protected entrance to the city, from the other hand, illustrates the major constructive phases of the town. The town of Batrawy was founded in the Early Bronze II, with a single massive city-wall 3.5 m thick, and rebuilt in the Early Bronze IIIA, when the outer line of fortification was added, protected also by a series of bastions and towers.

Area B South: the Public Building inside the City-Wall

In Area B South, inside the city-wall, underneath a very interesting portion of the Early Bronze Age IV village (with at least two superimposed structural phases of houses and installations), a huge public building was discovered, with a perimetral wall parallel to the city-wall and the main entrance just east of the city-gate. The building was in use during the Early Bronze III, with several transformations in the Early Bronze IIIB, when it was destroyed by a fierce fire. The excavation of the corridor inside the city-wall also allowed to identify the staircase leading on top of the city-wall, which suggested an elevation of around 10 m for the city-wall itself.

Area D: the South-western Tower

A further area of excavation was opened in the south-western corner of the site, where a huge tower protected the town and controlled the underlying valley. The round shape of the tower has been outlined and the city-wall adjoining it has been partly brought to light. Different layers of occupation and destruction were excavated inside the city-wall, belonging to the whole period of occupation of the site (Early Bronze II-IV).

Area E: the Southern Fortification

A trench of two square was opened at the mid of the southern line of fortifications, where a postern was identified, with a staircase leading into the city. The filling inside the city-wall was characterized by heavy traces of a violent destruction, which affected the town around the end of the Early Bronze III.

Area F: the Easternmost Terrace

An area of ten squares was opened on the easternmost plateau, where a substantial structure was visible on the ground. Actually, sparse Early Bronze IV dwellings were discovered in the uppermost layer, while a huge building, very badly preserved, occupied the area in the Early Bronze II-III. This building has a broad-room plan and a raised circular platform in front of it. This scanty evidence support the hypothesis that this was a broad-room temple with a related raised platform .