The 2012 Excavation Season – University of Copenhagen

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The 2012 Season of the Shubayqa Archaeological Project

Figure 1: View of Shubayqa 1 looking south. The site rises c. 2.5 m above the surrounding area.


In October and November 2012 the Shubayqa Archaeological Project carried out its inaugural season of fieldwork in the northern Badia region of eastern Jordan to explore the relationship between the environmental change associated with the Younger Dryas episode and cultural change during the Late Epipalaeolithic in this semi-arid to arid region. The project's research area is the Qa Shubayqa - a 12km2 large mudflat - 20 km north of the east Jordanian village of Safawi.

The initial season of fieldwork targeted the Natufian site of Shubayqa 1, identified by Dr Alison Betts nearly 20 years ago. Shubayqa 1 occupies a small mound to the north of the Qa, situated in the southwestern corner of an abandoned Islamic village called Khirbet Shubayqa. Chipped stone and ground stone artefacts spread across the mound covering an area of 1500 m2. An Islamic burial cairn, the remains of at least two historic buildings and several later walls overlie a dense scatter of artefacts and animal bone. Two primary adjacent excavation areas were opened up during this season (labeled Area A & B).

In addition to the excavation of two main areas at the site the team carried out a preliminary reconnaissance walkover survey of the village site and the surrounding area, revisiting another Epipalaeolithic site in the area and discovering one new prehistoric locality.

Figure 2: Islamic burial situated atop Shubayqa 1. In the foreground is a bedrock mortar

Figure 3: Double bedrock mortar on the surface of Shubayqa 1

Figure 4: One of a total of seven bedrock mortars found at Shubayqa 1 this season