AL-LAHUN Jordan

  Islamic

 

An Umayyad-Ayyubid farmstead in sector A1 revealed a main building with adjacent rooms,  and belonged perhaps to a caravanserai.  It was built near a dam on the Wadi Lehun, probably constructed in the Nabataean period, and certainly reused in later periods. 

 

Separated by the Wadi Lehun,  a rural mosque was erected (sector A2) at the end of the 15th C.,  just in front of the Nabataean and the Roman temples, as if this part of the site had a more religious impact.   

 

In 1985 three soundings were undertaken by Dr. D. Whitcomb (Oriental Institute of Chicago), allowing to discover the well preserved mihrab [click to enlarge image], the carefully paved soil and the entrance of the building  .  In 1987 it was decided to dig the eastern half of the mosque, from the entrance to the mihrab,  and to leave the western part protected by the through the years accumulated earth.  Under the humus layer and another thick brown earth stratum filled with fallen wall stones,  a third one revealed numerous blocks of clay, mixed with stones.  This layer, just above the pavement, probably belonged to the superstructure of the roof, resting on tree trunks.  The walls of the building were originally covered by a red coat of 2 cm thickness.  The handmade pottery, made of Wadi Lehun clay, with a painted geometric decoration, probably dated back to the 15th C.  A coin found on the pavement, confirmed this date. 
New investigations made by Dr. J. Demeulemeester and Dr. D. Whitcomb in 1998 seem to indicate two construction phases in the walls and perhaps a vaulted roof, although further investigations have to be done. The exterior courtyard, the well preserved walls and the mihrab, made of local stones, are located next to a small village of four houses of the same period. 

 

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