History of Excavations



       Lehun Excavation House

Following the survey of 1977 the site was excavated during seventeen seasons between 1978 en 2000, by the Belgian Committee of Excavations in Jordan and in close collaboration with the Department of Antiquities in Jordan. The excavations were directed by D. Homès-Fredericq (1978-till now) and P. Naster (1978-1984)  


Excavations year by year (most important dates)

: First contacts and creation of the Belgian Committee for Excavations in Jordan.  
1977: Searching an archaeological site between Madaba and Kerak (ancient Moab-region).  Choice of Al-Lahun with its numerous antiquities and amazing view on the Wadi Mujib.  
1978 (sectors A-D): First topographical mapping of the site (later: 1978-1980, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1996, 1998).  
1979 (sector A2): First excavation: Nabataean temple (6,25 m x 6,25 m) built in local limestone, outer walls embossed, inner walls probably plastered.  Room paved with rectangular slab stones (tool marks still visible); monolithic threshold with door socket, leading down to the sanctuary; well preserved altar leaning against eastern wall.  (1988: Restoration of the Temple)
1980 (sectors A-D): Lithic survey of Lehun, important for tool technology and typology of prehistoric man in Central Jordan.  Human presence attested in Palaeolithic by flints, in Pottery Neolithic & Chalcolithic by pottery fragments.  
1982 (sector B3): Early Bronze family tomb, with more than 150 locally handmade pots. Building of the Belgian Excavation House.  
1980, 1983-1987 (sector D): Iron Age II fortress (1000-6th C. B.C.E.): large stronghold (33/37 m x 43 m) with casemate system and central courtyard; built above houses of the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.E.; watchtowers overlooking the region; household material showing agricultural environment and explaining the role of Al-Lahun as storage fortress for Moabite kings.  (Contemporary with biblical King Mesha "the Dhibonite" (the Man of Dhiban).  
1987 (sector A2): Mamluk Mosque (15th C. AD)(restoration: 1998): village mosque dated by a coin found on the floor; handmade painted ware (Arab-geometric style).  West of the mosque: 4 houses separated by a street, belonging to the same period (see 1999).  
1989, 1998 (sector A1): Umayyad-Ayyubid farmstead: main building with adjacent rooms.  
1992-1997 (sector D south): Iron Age I fortified village (1300-1000 B.C.E.): fortified settlement of the beginning of the Kingdom of Moab: period of contacts with Mediterranean and Egyptian cultures attested by painted pottery and a scarab stamp seal.  More than 20 houses are excavated till now.  
1998-2000 (sector C1): Early Bronze fortified town (3200-2250 B.C.E.) enclosed in a large precinct wall (5 to 5,5 m) above an earlier settlement (3200-3000 B.C.E.).  Partially excavated: houses, streets, mortars, olive presses, typical pottery and household artifacts of an agricultural and pastoral population.  Interesting antique dolines (water reservoirs) and cisterns.  In 1999 (sector A2) a Islamic house and a Byzantine church (?) were partially excavated near the mosque.  
Other Research Programs: geo-morphology (with the University of Ghent, Belgium), zoology (Museum of African Natural History, Brussels, Belgium), pottery analyses (University of Leyden, Netherlands).

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