Documenting an Iron Age Townscape at Busayra (Jordan) using Geophysical Survey Techniques


Located in southwest Jordan, Busayra has long been suspected of being the capital of the Iron Age polity of Edom. British excavations in the 1970s revealed monumental buildings, fortifications, and domestic residences on Busayra’s acropolis that confirms the settlement’s stature as an administrative center. Despite this impressive evidence, little else is known about the town’s design. In order to further investigate Busayra’s sub-surface features, the authors conducted a geophysical survey project in 2014 in collaboration with the University of Arkansas’ SPARC (Spatial Archaeometry Research Collaborations) program. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Magnetic Gradiometry instruments were used to survey the site's unexcavated areas and yielded interesting results including clear architectural anomalies. Notable discoveries include the identification of sub-surface monumental buildings associated with Building A, a multi-room structure believed to be associated with ritual activity. Structures that are likely domestic residences were identified east of Area C, where several houses were excavated in the 1970s. Although gradiometry is rarely employed in the region, it proved to be particularly successful at identifying new features in this survey. In addition to a discussion of upcoming sampling strategies of these identified structures, this paper will discuss the feasibility of using geophysical technologies in southwest Jordan.

Cite this Record

Documenting an Iron Age Townscape at Busayra (Jordan) using Geophysical Survey Techniques. Benjamin Porter, Stephanie Brown, Katie Simon, Andrew Wilson, Christine Markussen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404644)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;