Supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs    
Khirbet al-Batrawy
Season 2007

The third season of excavations at Khirbet al-Batrawy (Lat. 32°05',218" N, Long. 36°04',237" E), an Early Bronze Age fortified town in the Upper Wadi az-Zarqa, was carried out under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan between May 28th and June 19th 2007, and was focused, for this year, on extensive and systematic restorations of the EB II-III city-wall and city-gate, and on a survey of Early Bronze Age sites in the Upper Wadi az-Zarqa, with special reference to the modern urbanized areas of Zarqa and ar-Ruseifah, in order to settle the site in its regional and historical context.

Work at the site

The third season of excavations at Khirbet al-Batrawy was devoted to the protection and the valorization of the major monument at the site, its magnificent city-wall (fig. 1) and the gate with an inner staircase, dating back from the Early Bronze II-III (2900-2300 BC).

Work on the site of Khirbet al-Batrawy was, thus, concentrated in Area B, where a 30 m long stretch of the main inner city-wall was excavated, and where restorations with antique-like mortar was carried out. Restorations also allowed to better identify the different constructive phases and building techniques of the wall itself. The city-wall is preserved up to 2.3 m to the west, and around 1.8-2.0 in the area of the gate. The gate itself was restored, with special attention to its jambs, which show the cracks of the earthquake which destroyed the EB II city. In the meanwhile a large amount of collapsed and erratic stones were removed from the site, in order to enhance the readability of the urban topography and to facilitate the widening of excavations in the next season.

Thanks to the restorations the Batrawy city-wall stands as one of the best preserved monuments of this kind in the region, and hints at the resources and capabilities of the local community during the Early Bronze Age.

Survey of the site surroundings

A systematic survey of the hills and the quarters of the modern city surrounding Khirbet al-Batrawy was carried out with the specific aim of identifying the ancient paths connecting the Early Bronze Age town to the underlying river and to locate the main ford in the river banks. This was individuated just north of a rocky spur which made narrower the river banks and hosted the site of Jneneh (JADIS nr. 2516.016). A fresh examination of pottery on the surface of the latter site demonstrated that it was occupied not only in the Iron Age II-III, but also in the Early Bronze I. The discovery of a series of "cup-marks" and rock-cut mortars on the rocky spur dominating the river in correspondence of this site corroborated this hypothesis, suggesting that the EB I settlement was abandoned when the people moved to the top-hill site in the Early Bronze II, founding the fortified town of Khirbet al-Batrawy. This kind of relationship between Khirbet al-Batrawy and Jneneh is very similar to the situation between Khirbet ez-Zeraqon, EB II-III fortified town, and Tell al-Fukhar, an unfortified EB I settlement.