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WZ 148, 'Uyyun al-Hammam, Wadi Ziqlab

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WZ 148 is Geometric Kebaran site in al-Kura district of northern Jordan, along the Tubna road in Wadi Ziqlab and not far from sites WZ 310 and WZ 200. In 2000 the Wadi Ziqlab Project conducted small test excavations at the site, uncovering many lithics, including rectangles and bladelet cores, and a substantial deposit of faunal bone associated with lithics.

The site occurs in a remnant terrace, about 220 m ASL, cut by the road to Tubna and by the wadi channel, only some 300 m northwest of site WZ 310 and 800 m from WZ 200. It is also within 300 m of the modern spring at 'Uyyun al-Hammam.

After collecting artifacts exposed in the road cut or in the scree at its base, and on the surface across the road from the cut, we excavated two stepped soundings into the cut, each 1.5 m wide and intruding into the slope up to 40 cm, to obtain samples of artifacts and sediments from stratified contexts.

In both soundings, locus 001 was recent sediment apparently derived from the levelling of the field just upslope, now an olive grove. The underlying deposit was a red clayey colluvium that appears closely similar to the deposit at Tabaqat al-Buma (WZ 200) that contains early Geometric Kebaran artifacts. Here this colluvium is quite rich with bladelet cores, blades, endscrapers, and backed bladelets, including rectangles.

Most notable is locus 004 in Area H16, which can only be described as a "bone bed." Here the colluvium has extremely high densities of both lithics and faunal bone, sometimes with the former cemented to the latter. There are many diagnostic faunal elements that will need to be analysed in our laboratories in Toronto. Some of the bone fragments have been reserved for radiocarbon assay in the hopes of dating this assemblage as closely as possible and relating it to comparable assemblages at WZ 200 and WZ 136.

In conjunction with these other two sites (WZ 136 is also rich in stratified Geometric Kebaran material), we expect this site to contribute a great deal to our knowledge of the Epipalaeolithic in northern Jordan, previously known almost only from excavations of Natufian material in Wadi al-Hamma.

A brief summary of the 2000 test excavations at the site 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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