Site: Ain Ghazal


Site Components:
PERIOD FEATURE TYPE SIZE (ha) DESCRIPTION
Paleolithic Stratified Material Culture with No Structures 0
Paleolithic Pit Burial 0
Paleolithic Hearth 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Village Site (No Fortifications) 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Platform 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Courtyard 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Temple / Shrine 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Sanctuary / High Place 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Hamlet / Farmstead 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Baths / Bathroom 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Storage Facility / Silo 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Furnace 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Other Industrial Installations 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Sub-Floor Burial 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Frescoes 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Statue / Sculpture / Bas-Relief 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Hearth 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Village Site (No Fortifications) 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Courtyard 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Storage Facility / Silo 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Other Industrial Installations 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Sub-Floor Burial 0
Pre-pottery Neolithic C Hearth 0
Pottery Neolithic A/Yarmoukian Village Site (No Fortifications) 0
Pottery Neolithic A/Yarmoukian Courtyard 0
Pottery Neolithic A/Yarmoukian Stone Circle 0
Pottery Neolithic A/Yarmoukian Storage Facility / Silo 0
Pottery Neolithic A/Yarmoukian Kiln 0
Byzantine Sherd / Flint Scatter 0
Site Record:
DAAHL SITE #: 353100107
SITE NAME: Ain Ghazal
NOTES: Elevation from Google Elevation Service.
SIZE: 300000
ELEVATION: 705
FLINT: No
POTTERY: No
STRUCTURE: No
INSCRIPTION: No

Alternate Site Names:
MNEMONIC ARTICLE SITE NAME
AIN GHAZAL

Condition Report: 1996-12-18
OVERALL CONDITION: Fair
OVERALL RATING: Preservation Imperative
CUMULATIVE RISK: Unknown / Not Noted
SEVERITY OF RISK: Unknown
NOTES: PPNB CLAY FIGURINES. DISTURBANCE ALSO CODES 21,15,12,04. Plaster human statues & busts, PPNB clay figurines. disturbance also codes:(21,15,12,04,22). PPNB clay figurines. PPNB plaster human statues and busts.
DATE VISITED: 1996-12-18
ENTERED BY: HA
DATE ENTERED: 1996-12-18
Threats in this Condition Report:
THREAT: Road or Highway (construction)
THREAT SEVERITY: Significant damage
THREAT: Quarrying
THREAT SEVERITY: Little or no damage
THREAT: Cultivation
THREAT SEVERITY: Significant damage
THREAT: Erosion - General
THREAT SEVERITY: Significant damage
THREAT: Construction - General
THREAT SEVERITY: Severe damage or total loss
THREAT: Water Control Facility / Structure (operation)
THREAT SEVERITY: Little or no damage
THREAT: Other Development
THREAT SEVERITY: Severe damage or total loss
THREAT: Other Human Impacts - Other
THREAT SEVERITY: Little or no damage

Disturbances in this Condition Report:
DISTURBANCE: Archaeological Excavation
RISK: Unknown / Not Noted
TIMING: Unknown
DISTURBANCE: Road Work
RISK: Unknown / Not Noted
TIMING: Unknown
DISTURBANCE: Construction
RISK: Unknown / Not Noted
TIMING: Unknown

 
References:
REFERENCE: BANNING E.B. & BYRD B.F.1984
TITLE: The Architecture of PPNB 'Ain Ghazal, Jordan
SERIAL NAME: BASOR 255,p.15-20,figs.1-4.
REFERENCE: HOMES-FREDERICQ D. & FRANKEN H.J.1984a
TITLE: eds., Argile, source de vie. Sept millenaires de ceramique en Jordanie , Bruxelles. (= Documents du Proche-Orient ancien 3)
REFERENCE: HOMES-FREDERICQ D. & FRANKEN H.J.1984a
TITLE: eds., Argile, source de vie. Sept millenaires de ceramique en Jordanie , Bruxelles. (= Documents du Proche-Orient ancien 3)
REFERENCE: HOMES-FREDERICQ D. & FRANKEN H.J.1984b
TITLE: eds., Klei, Bron van leven. Zevenduizend jaar pottenbakkerskunstin Jordanie , Brussel. (= Dokumenten van het oude Nabije Oosten3)
REFERENCE: KURDI H.1972b
TITLE: A brief note on a Bronze Bowl and a Fibula from a Tomb in "Ain Ghazal" (Madaba region - Jordan)
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 17,p.91-92,pls.1-2.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON & SIMMONS 1985
TITLE: Excavation at 'Ain Gazal 1984: Preliminary Report.
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 29,p.11-13.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & ABU GHANEIMA K.1983
TITLE: Technological Analysis of Blades and Flakes from 'Ain Ghazal
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 27,p.461-469,fig.1.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & LEONARD A.L.1982
TITLE: Excavations at PPN B 'Ain Ghazal
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 26,p.411-413,figs.1-2.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & SIMMONS A.H.1983
TITLE: Le village PPNB d'Ain Ghazal (Jordanie). 1982-1983 = AURENCHE ed.,
SERIAL NAME: Syria 60,p.302-303,figs.1-2.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & SIMMONS A.H.1984b
TITLE: Excavations at 'Ain Ghazal, Amman, 1982-1983 = PICCIRILLO ed.,
SERIAL NAME: LA 34,p.428-430,pl.87.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & SIMMONS A.H.1985
TITLE: The Early Neolithic Village of 'Ain Ghazal : Preliminary Reporton the 1983 Season
SERIAL NAME: BASOR Suppl. 23,p.35-52,figs.1-13.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. & SULEIMAN E.1983
TITLE: Survey of PPNB Structures at 'Ain Ghazal
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 27,p.471-479,pl.99.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. ET AL.1984
TITLE: Excavations at the PPNB Village of Ain Ghazal (Jordan), 1982
SERIAL NAME: MDOG 116,p.139-183.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O. ET AL.1985
TITLE: Excavations at Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Village at 'Ain Ghazal (Jordan) 1983
SERIAL NAME: MDOG 117,p.69-116,figs.1-14.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1983a
TITLE: The 1982 Excavation at 'Ain Ghazal : Preliminary report
SERIAL NAME: ADAJ 27,p.1-15,figs.1-3,pl.1,tables 1-4.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1983b
TITLE: Two Seasons of Excavations at 'Ain el-Assad near Azraq, EasternJordan, 1980-1981
SERIAL NAME: BASOR 252,p.25-34,figs.1-5.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1983c
TITLE: Excavations at Ain Ghazal, Amman = PICCIRILLO ed.,
SERIAL NAME: LA 33,p.409,pl.72.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1983d
TITLE: 8,000 Year Old Statues Discovered at Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
SERIAL NAME: Newsletter ASOR 35:2,p.1-3.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1983e
TITLE: Ritual and Ceremony at Neolithic Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
SERIAL NAME: Paleorient 9:2,p.29-38,pls.1-4.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1984a
TITLE: Neolithic Art from Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
SERIAL NAME: Arts and the Islamic World 2:2,p.61-62,74.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1984b
TITLE: 'Ain Ghazal : An Early Neolithic Community in Highland Jordan, Near Amman
SERIAL NAME: BASOR 255,p.3-14,figs.1-4.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1984c
TITLE: Early Neolithic Statuary from Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
SERIAL NAME: MDOG 116,p.185-192.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1984e
TITLE: Ain Ghazal: Jordanian "History" 8,000 Years Ago
SERIAL NAME: Yarmouk Magazine 4:4,p.43-45.(Arabic)
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1984f
TITLE: Prehistoric Archaeology at Ain Ghazal
SERIAL NAME: Yarmouk University Annual 5,p.203-204. (Arabic)
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1985a
TITLE: The 1983 Season at the Early Neolithic Site of Ain Ghazal
SERIAL NAME: National Geographic Research 1:1,p.44-62.
REFERENCE: ROLLEFSON G.O.1985c
TITLE: Description of Chipped Stone Artifacts from the Moab Survey (Worschech), 1983 = WORSCHECH ed.,p.78-85.
REFERENCE: TUBB K.M.1985
TITLE: Preliminary Report on the 'Ain Ghazal Statues
SERIAL NAME: MDOG 117,p.117-134,figs.1-17.

The Town of 'Ain Ghazal

Gary Rollefson and Zeidan Kafafi

A Chronology

The beginning of the Neolithic period is arbitrarily defined by the appearance of agriculture, which appeared in the Levant at ca. 8,300 bc. 'Ain Ghazal was not founded until almost a thousand years later, and because of the local ecological combinations and the persistent presence of water (the permanent stream of the Zarqa River and the copious spring of 'Ain Ghazal itself), it continued to exist as a permanent settlement until around 5,000 bc or perhaps even later (cf. Rollefson et al. 1992: Table 1). This long duration of constant occupation - more than 2,000 years - is one of the most important aspects of 'Ain Ghazal's archaeology, for it permits us to examine how the residents of 'Ain Ghazal adapted themselves to the changing environment around them, changes that were strongly driven by the unwitting actions of the people of 'Ain Ghazal themselves.

This long period of time witnessed four major developments in how the inhabitants of 'Ain Ghazal lived their daily lives, acquired food and other necessary resources, built their houses and other structures, organized themselves in the town, and interacted on a spiritual level with their fellow human beings and physical environment. The two millennia can be broken down into the following periods of development:

  • Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (MPPNB) 7,250 - 6,500 bc
  • Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (LPPNB) 6,500 - 6,000 bc
  • Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) 6,000 - 5,500 bc
  • Yarmoukian Pottery Neolithic 5,500 - ? 5,000 bc

Three-dimensional view of 'Ain Ghazal, looking west, created in Google Earth (no vertical exaggeration).
The site ranges from the building at the left center
of the photo to the far edge on the right, and from the highway about one-third of the way
from the bottom of the photo to about halfway up the hill.

Site Size and Setting

Fig 1. Map of 'Ain Ghazal.

The construction of a broad highway in 1974 cut through ca. 600 m of one part of 'Ain Ghazal, (Figs. 1, 2L & 2R) but this destruction also had a positive benefit: the bulldozer sections reveal a clear record of 'Ain Ghazal from its beginnings until the end of its existence as a permanent farming town (Fig. 3 and fig. 4). With the assistance of radiocarbon dates and time-sensitive artifacts, we can determine how rapidly the site grew, and the vertical profiles also allow us to estimate the housing density and, in conjunction with excavation results, provide the opportunity to estimate how large the population was from time to time. The oldest layers occur directly atop sterile red clay, and it appears that 'Ain Ghazal began as a small village, somewhere around 2 hectares (has) in area. The lucrative combination of environmental conditions (see below) allowed a rapid MPPNB population growth, and within 600-700 years as many as 600-750 people lived together in a compact community that covered 5 has (Fig. 5 and fig. 6).

Fig 2. The section of 'Ain Ghazal west of the Zarqa River.

The end of the MPPNB in the southern Levant was a tumultuous one, and there were severe disturbances in the settlement pattern of the region (Rollefson 1987). Wholesale abandonment of farming villages in Israel and the Jordan Valley began around this time, and the dislocated populations sought refuge elsewhere, probably often in highland Jordan, and certainly some of them at 'Ain Ghazal. Near the end of the MPPNB and the beginning of the LPPNB, 'Ain Ghazal underwent a virtual population explosion, expanding not only on the main area west of the Zarqa River, but also across the stream on the eastern bank, altogether doubling in size within a couple of generations to ca. 10 has in the early LPPNB and reaching 15 has by 6,000 bc (Rollefson 1997a); by this time it is likely that around 2,500 people lived at 'Ain Ghazal.

Fig 3. A part of the bulldozer section just above and to the west
of the highway (near the center of Fig. 2).

The term "town" is used as Adams and Nissen (1972: 18) defined the term: falling between "villages" (0.1 to 6.0 hectares) and "cities" (greater than 25 hectares), towns were intermediate in terms of size and population as well as structural complexity. Other PPNB towns were founded in Jordan, including Wadi Shu