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WZ 140, a Late Neolithic site in Wadi Ziqlab

WZ 140 is a Late Neolithic site in al-Kura district of northern Jordan, immediately across the main wadi from the classical site of Tell Abu Fokhkhar (WZ 43), in an olive grove on the slope below the terrace WZ 141.

Discovery of several sickle elements on this slope during survey of terraces along the south side of Wadi Ziqlab encouraged us to carry out small test excavations at the site. For several days we excavated two 1 m x 1 m test pits both to recover sediment samples from their sections and to see if there were any primary deposits of Late Neolithic material below the surface.

Excavations from one of the test pits (G13), beginning on 12 June 2000, produced some probable Neolithic sickle elements and, in locus 002, a relatively large number of very friable, poorly fired body sherds with fabrics very similar to those of Late Neolithic pottery from Tabaqat al-Bûma (WZ 200). Several of the body sherds had deeply combed surfaces, and are probably fragments of criss-cross-combed vessels that occur in Wadi Rabah sites. A somewhat better-fired rim sherd of a V-shaped bowl with simple rounded lip is also consistent with the Neolithic. Locus 002 also included fairly frequent fragments of bone. Oddly, the test square G12, only a metre away, showed different deposits altogether and almost no Neolithic material. Possibly a buried wall or large stone in the intervening unexcavated zone accounts for this difference.

Because of this site's close affinities to Tabaqat al-Bûma (WZ 200), the assemblage of which has previously seemed a nearly unique facies related to Wadi Rabah, it warrants further excavation. It is possible that, like WZ 200, it is the site of a farmstead or small hamlet dating to about 6500 BP (5500 cal BC). Broader excavations might reveal some architecture similar to that site.

A brief summary of the 2000 survey will appear in Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.

A gallery of photographs from the fieldwork is under construction.

Web access to the Wadi Ziqlab Database is also currently under construction.


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