THE presence of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land on Mount Nebo
was made possible thanks to the enthusiasm and enterprise of brother Jerome
Mihaic. In 1932, with the consent and collaboration of the Emir Abdallah bin
al-Hussein, the Custody of the Holy Land acquired the summit of Siyagha and
that of al-Mukhayyat. It was on the summit of Siyagha that the Christian
community of the 4th century had built a sanctuary in honour of Moses,
commemorating the Prophet's death as recounted in Deuteronomy 34.
The archaeological investigations carried out by the Studium Biblicum
Franciscanum between 1933 and 1937 on the summit of Siyagha brought to light
the basilica of Moses and the monastery which surrounded it. At the same time
three churches with mosaics were unearthed at the summit of al-Mukhayyat. Those
excavations were directed by Father Sylvester Saller and Father Bellarmino
A second period was inaugurated in the 1960s. The Custody of the Holy Land
decided to upgrade the area in order to cater for those visitors to the site.
The work was entrusted to Father Virgilio Corbo, and in 1976 to Father Michele
Piccirillo. This permitted, in 1967, the continuation of archaeological
research under the mosaic floor, resulting in the discovery of new mosaic
pavements and a better knowledge of the construction history of the
To protect the environment of the site, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
suggested to the Jordanian Government the establishment of the Archaeological
Park of Mount Nebo. In 1991 a mission from the Danish Palestine Society led by
Peder Mortensen, took up the survey of the mountain, paying particular
attention to the systematic study of the monuments and artifacts of the
prehistoric periods, in order to prepare an Archaeological Map of the Park.