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Excursion to Jordan: eight day (May 16, 2004)

Today is the last day of our staying in Jordan. We will visit the Archaeological Museum of Amman and then go out to see Iraq al-Amir.

Amman Archaeological Museum

Statues from Ayn Ghazal. This archaeological site, located at the northern edge of Amman, on the left bank of wadi ez-Zerqa, goes back to the Neolithic Period. The statues, made of plaster, are dated to the middle of the 7th millennium B.C.

Head of the Tyche of Amman, discovered in the Citadel excavations. The fragmemt is part of a marble statue dated to the 2nd cent. B.C., when Rabba of the Ammonites was given the Greek name of Philadelphia.

Copy of a fragment of the Copper Scroll, discovered at Qumran.

A section of the original Copper Scroll. Together with the Copper Scroll, in the Museum is displayed the scriptorium and some fragments of manuscripts recovered from the same archaeological site.

The goddess Atargatis, brought from the Nabataean temple of Khirbet et-Tannur (1th cent. B.C.). The temple was excavated by N. Glueck and remains one of the most significant exemplars of the Nabataean religion.

Wall paintings from Teleilat el-Ghassul, Chalcolithic Epoch: 4th millennium B.C. In the scene, some human figures facing a deity are slightly recognizable.

Ammonite statues. In the middle is that of King Yerahazar, cf. inscription. The figures wear the typical Ammonite cap.

Polychrome gypsum decoration from Qasr Mushatta.

Anthropoid sarcophagus from a tomb in Amman (10th cent. B.C.).

Iraq el-Amir

The main façade and entrance of Qasr al-Abd, Hellenistic palace of the Tobiads at Iraq al-Amir. The palace was the property of Joseph, son of Tobias and father of Hyrcanus. Tobias was an administrator of Byrta on behalf of king Ptolemey II Philadelphus. According to F. Josephus, Hyrcanus fortified himself inside his castle, fearing to be caught by King Anthiochus IV of Syria, and ended his life having slew himself with his own sword in 175 B.C. (Ant. 12:4:11).

Interior of the Hellenistic palace, which measures 18x36 m.

The vestibule of Qasr al-Abd seen from the interior. Excavations and restorations at Iraq al-Amir has been made in diferrent times by P. Lapp (1963), E. Will, F. Larché, F. Zayadine e F. Villeneuve (1975-1986).

The lioness with her cubs, on the Qasr’s west wall.

The panther decorating the fountain on the east side of the Qasr.

The south façade of Qasr al-Abd.

The Iraq el-Amir valley.
1: The Arab village of Iraq el-Amir 2: Ruins of the Hellenistic palace named Qasr el-Abd 3: Caves of the Tobiads

One of the tombs of the Tobiads.

Semitic inscription of Tobyah. A Tobias was made administrator of the wadi es-Sir region, with the title of peha, in the Ammonitis Province. He was subjected to Sanballat, the persian governor of Samaria, cf. Neh 2:6.19.

The steep slope were the necropolis of the Tobiads has been cut into the rock. Epigraphic studies date the Iraq al-Amir inscriptions to the 2nd cent. B.C.

Panoramic view of Iraq al-Amir. Zenon of Alexandria (259 B.C.) paid a visit to Iraq al-Amir, then called Byrta (Zenon’s Papyri) and Tyros (F. Josephus). In that occasion some papers and letters to be send to king Ptolemey II had been redacted.

The valley of wadi es-Sir which is always green because of the presence of a perennial source. Over the trees the castle’s ruins are seen. This region may be identified with Jazer of Num 21:32; 32:1 ecc. In NT times it was part of the Peraea.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

External Links

Museums of Amman (AtlasTours)

The Neolithic village of Ayn Ghazal

Iraq el-Amir (AtlasTours)

The Hellenistic Period in Jordan

A New Look at the Tobiads (SBF Liber Annuus)

 SBF main, Indice

Biblical Excursions

Biblical World



Umm el-Jimal



W. Kharrar




M. Nebo




Umm er-Rasas





Archaeological Museum

Iraq el-Amir

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