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Research on Jerash’s eastern side ‘necessary’, says French archaeologist

By Saeb Rawashdeh - May 13,2023 - Last updated at May 13,2023

The French team is working on Thursday in Eastern Gerasa on a building that might be a house of a rich merchant (Photo by Saeb Rawashdeh)

 

AMMAN — Though the western part of ancient Gerasa, or modern Jerash, has been studied extensively, with researchers unearthing pagan temples and churches, eastern part of the city remain less known, noted French archaeologist Julie Bonneric.

“The idea of the new Eastern Jerash Project was to better understand the limit of the site, as workshops were located at the periphery of the city,” said Bonneric, who serves as head of the French research institute Ifpo. 

To understand Jerash in the early Islamic period, it is necessary to continue research east of the “cardo maximus”, or the main axis that divides the city in two from north to south, the archaeologist said.

A building in the eastern part of Gerasa was excavated in 2001 by the Department of Antiquities, Bonneric said, adding that Ifpo now conducts work on the same building.

 “We began the excavation of this building in 2022; it’s a huge building organised around a large courtyard,” Bonneric said, adding that the team has started studying the architecture of the structure.

Inhabitants lived in that building during the Byzantine and Umayyad periods, Bonneric said, noting that her team has determined that there was a ground floor and a first floor of the building. The structure also has a Roman phase, she added.

“A mosaic was discovered on the upper floor, and everything collapsed during an earthquake in 749,” she added. 

There were also stables for animals in this huge residential building at the time of the earthquake, Bonneric noted.

“The structure may represent the house of a wealthy merchant,” she underlined, adding that conservation work will take part in the latter part of the research.

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