THE TALL EL-HAMMAM FIELD SCHOOL
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
29 January – 9 February 2023
VIU COURSE #s: AR541 or AR651
[TSU COURSE #s: AR547 or AR657]
Semester Credit Hours/Units: 3 or 2 as applicable
Enrollment Deadline: 15 August 2022
The Tall el-Hammam Field School is an intensive two-week program teaching excavation techniques and training potential square supervisors. Although designed to fulfill coursework for students at VIU and TSU, it is also open to students at other institutions, and on a non-credit basis for those seriously interested in archaeology. The course includes training in excavation methods, classroom activities, and lectures. Successful completion of this program is a prerequisite to becoming an Assistant Square Supervisor at Tall el-Hammam.*
TALL EL-HAMMAM FIELD SCHOOL INSTRUCTORS:
Steven Collins, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director, VIU School of Archaeology; TeHEP Director & Chief Archaeologist
Gary A. Byers, PhD (email@example.com)
Dean, TSU College of Archaeology; TeHEP Asst. Director & Senior Archaeologist
Carroll M. Kobs, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
VIU Faculty of Archaeology; TeHEP Asst. Director & Senior Archaeologist
Phillip J. Silvia, PhD (email@example.com)
VIU Faculty of Archaeology; TeHEP Director of Scientific Analysis
*You may elect to sign up for a total of four weeks to fulfill both your first and second required Field Work courses at VIU or TSU within the same dig season. For the first two weeks, you would participate in the Field School and excavation. For the second two weeks you would be an Assistant Square Supervisor and support one of the Square Supervisors in a working square. The following dig season would allow you, if approved, to be a Square Supervisor with your own square.
FIELD SCHOOL APPLICATION, DEADLINE, AND FEES
1. To apply to the Tall el-Hammam Field School, please contact Dr Glenda Austin at 505-332-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org (she will explain the details and options). If enrolling in the Field School for credit as a VIU or TSU student, there are no additional fees beyond your course tuition (and related fees) plus your TeHEP participation fee.
If you are in a degree program at another institution and desiring Field School credit, Dr Austin will connect you with the VIU Registrar in order for you to receive credit through the VIU School of Archaeology—transferrable to your institution upon satisfactory completion of the course (a $50 Field School application fee applies).
If you are not taking the Field School for credit, there is a $50 application fee to accompany your TeHEP application.
The Field School application fee is fully refundable if you are not accepted.
The deadline to apply for the Tall el-Hammam Field School is 15 August 2022.
2. Upon acceptance to the Field School, you will register for the excavation project by contacting Dr Austin (see above) for payment of the $600 TeHEP participation fee (discounted from the normal $775). Required of all volunteers, it includes transportation, daily lunches on dig days, and applicable fees to the Department of Antiquities for security and annual project operation fees. (See the website for refund policies.) When registering for the excavation, please specify that you require Field School dig dates.
3. All participants in the Field School are expected to follow the same guidelines and procedures as volunteers in terms of packing, hotel costs, tips, travel, and general rules.
PREREQUISITES UPON ACCEPTANCE AND REGISTRATION
1. ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD METHODS COURSE – Please contact your VIU or TSU Registrar to take and complete this on-line course. This course is a requirement and created specifically for Field School students on the Tall al-Hammam Excavation Project to gain an understanding of our methodologies, protocols, and use of forms.
2. REQUIRED READING
Collins, S., C.M. Kobs, and P.J. Silvia. Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project Field Manual. Albuquerque: TSU Press, 2021 edition.
Joukowsky, M. A Complete Manual of Field Archaeology: Tools and Techniques of Field Work for Archaeologists. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, latest edition.
Collins, S., G.A. Byers, C.M. Kobs. “The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project: Season 13 2018 Report: Excavation, Interpretations, & Insights.” (Free. Please e-mail Carroll Kobs, Field School Director, for this report at email@example.com).
Collins, S., G. Byers, C.M. Kobs, and K. Tarawneh. “The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project: Season Fourteen 2019 Report: Excavation, Interpretations, & Insights.” (Free. Please e-mail Carroll Kobs, Field School Director, for this report at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Byers, G.A. “Tall al-Ḥammām in the Early Bronze Age IV: the Largest Fortified City in the Southern Levant,” in E. Gallo (ed.), Conceptualizing Urban Experiences: Tell es-Sultan and Tall al-Ḥammām, Early Bronze cities across the Jordan. Proceedings of a workshop held in Palermo, G. Whitaker Foundation, Villa Malfitano, June 19th 2017 (Rome «La Sapienza» Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan, 13). Rome: Rome «La Sapienza» Expedition to Palestine & Jordan 2019, pp. 217-232. [An offprint of this ROSAPAT 13 article is available as Biblical Research Bulletin, XIX.2, 2019.]
Cline, E.H. Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Collins, S. “The Geography of the Cities of the Plain.” Biblical Research Bulletin, II.1, 2002.
Collins, S. “A Chronology for the Cities of the Plain.” Biblical Research Bulletin, II.8, 2002.
Collins, S. “Forty Salient Points on the Geography of the Cities of the Kikkar.” Biblical Research Bulletin, VII.1, 2007.
Collins, S. “A Response to Bryant G. Wood’s Critique of Collins’ Northern Sodom Theory.” Biblical Research Bulletin, VII.7, 2007.
Collins, S. “Tall el-Hammam Is Still Sodom: Critical Data-Sets Cast Serious Doubt on E.H. Merrill’s Chronological Analysis.” Biblical Research Bulletin, VIII.1, 2013.
Collins, S. “The Tall al-Ḥammām City-State in the Early Bronze Age: Population and Demography, Economy and Social Organization, Trade and Connectivity,” in E. Gallo (ed.), Conceptualizing Urban Experiences: Tell es-Sultan and Tall al-Ḥammām, Early Bronze cities across the Jordan. Proceedings of a workshop held in Palermo, G. Whitaker Foundation, Villa Malfitano, June 19th 2017 (Rome «La Sapienza» Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan, 13). Rome: Rome «La Sapienza» Expedition to Palestine & Jordan 2019, pp. 155-188. [An offprint of this ROSAPAT 13 article is available as Biblical Research Bulletin, XIX.3, 2019.]
Collins, S. “The Early Bronze III-IV Fortifications and Gateways of Tall al-Ḥammām: Data, Interpretations, and Insights from Twelve Excavation Seasons,” in S. Richard (ed.), New Horizons in the study of the Early Bronze III and Early Bronze IV of the Levant. University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns/Pennsylvania State University Press, 2020.
Collins, S., C.M. Kobs, and M.C. Luddeni. The Tall al-Hammam Excavations, Volume One. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2015.
Kobs, C.M. “Tall al-Ḥammām in the Early Bronze Age: the Beginning of Urbanization,” in E. Gallo (ed.), Conceptualizing Urban Experiences: Tell es-Sultan and Tall al-Ḥammām, Early Bronze cities across the Jordan. Proceedings of a workshop held in Palermo, G. Whitaker Foundation, Villa Malfitano, June 19th 2017 (Rome «La Sapienza» Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan, 13). Rome: Rome «La Sapienza» Expedition to Palestine & Jordan 2019, pp. 189-216. [An offprint of this ROSAPAT 13 article is available as Biblical Research Bulletin, XIX.4, 2019.]
Mazar, A. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
Rainey, A., and S. Notley. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta, 2005.
The primary objective of the Tall el-Hammam Field School is to immerse students in the excavation process and procedures of supervision for an archaeological square—with the ultimate goal that each participant will serve as an Assistant Square Supervisor and, ultimately, Square Supervisor.
During the Field School, students will be working together in the same square or squares with a Field School Director. Training includes an introduction to excavation methods both in Jordan and throughout the Southern Levant. Students will collect and document both pottery and objects within their excavation square, complete required daily data forms and keep a personal field journal. Additionally, students will participate in daily discussions in the field and at required sessions at the TeHEP headquarters several days each week with the end result providing greater understanding of the challenges of stratigraphic analysis.
GRADING (FOR STUDENTS AS A REQUIRED COURSE)
75%—Fieldwork: includes the ability to correctly use tools, trim balks, dry sift,, calculate levels, complete forms, fill out pottery and object tags, draw architecture and balk sections, and make notes of specific features under the direction and assessment of their assigned Field School Director.
10%—Special Sessions: attend all weekly Field School meetings, as well as all other lectures offered to volunteers during your stay.
15%—Field Journal: students must keep a daily activity journal of their two weeks of Field School. Journals must include a daily sketch and summary of daily activities specific to your square, with observations of stratigraphy and significance of specific finds. Collected for evaluation on the final Tuesday of Field School, each student’s journal will be returned at the end of the course.
COURSE SCHEDULE – SEASON SIXTEEN (2023)
Saturday, 28 January 4:30pm: orientation for Field School participants in the TeHEP headquarter’s meeting room.
Sundays through Thursdays:
6am: breakfast in the hotel restaurant
7am: bus departs for Tall el-Hammam (approx. 35-minute drive)
7:30am: site arrival; load truck with tools; excavation begins
3pm: work ends; load and unload truck; back to hotel
6pm: Dinner in hotel restaurant
Mondays 5pm: lecture, group discussions
Tuesdays 5pm: pottery sorting/reading
Wednesdays 5pm: lecture, group discussions
Tuesday 7 February 5pm: turn in Daily Journals. Returned by Thursday, February 9.
While TeHEP provides all tools, Field School participants should have their own ‘kit’. These optional items would include:
1. Marshalltown pointing trowel (4 or 5 inch) from marshalltown.com (about $14 each; wooden or dura-soft handle)
2. Ingalls 40mm patiche (handpick) from patiche.com (about $64)
3. Munsell Soil Color Book (about $175)
1. Field Journal: ruled, about 7x10 inches in size
2. Mechanical #7 pencils, extra #7 lead, and an eraser
3. See-thru ruler, 1”x12” x 10ths increments + metric, made by ART ALTERNATIVES
4. Personal backpack for the field
5. A good pair of well-fitting leather work gloves
ARRIVAL DATE AND FIELD SCHOOL ORIENTATION
Field School students are expected to arrive for check-in at the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project hotel headquarters by Saturday, 28 January 2023 in time for the 4pm Field School orientation before dinner. Arrival Friday evening is actually recommended to combat the time change and jet lag. For all details about travel, accommodations, and packing lists, please refer to the dig website at tallelhammam.com or contact Glenda Austin 505-332-4253.
Note: if you bring your own trowel and/or patiche (handpick), they must be packed in checked luggage only. However, be sure to pack mandatory items—one set of dig clothes, dig shoes, backpack, leather dig gloves—in a carry-on, in case luggage is delayed. You may not go into the field without these items.
FIELD TRIPS* (Optional) SEASON 16 (2023) - TBD
INTRODUCTION OF TALL EL-HAMMAM AND THE EXCAVATION PROJECT
The Location of Tall el-Hammam
Tall el-Hammam is located in the S Jordan Valley approximately 12.6km NE of the Dead Sea and 11.7km E of the Jordan River in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (GPS longitude 35.67141; latitude 31.83965). The site presents a formidable footprint, measuring approximately 26 hectares (62 acres) inside massive fortifications encompassing both an upper and a lower tall, and sprawling beyond its fortifications to more than 70ha (160 acres) wadi to wadi. Called “one of the largest ancient ruins in the Jordan Valley” (C. Ji and J.K.Lee 2002. “The Survey in the Regions of Iraq al-Amir and Wadi al-Kafrayn, 2000.” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 46:179-195), Tall el-Hammam was the principal and dominating power in the region during most of her prolonged existence. As the urban core of one of the S Levant’s largest city-states during the Bronze Age, Tall el-Hammam also existed as a substantial store-city in the region during Iron Age 2.
Not only was Tall el-Hammam’s size and presence impactful, but her physical location was strategic. She sat along a major crossroads of ancient trade routes with abundant water sources, located between two important perennial streams (the Wadi Kufrayn/Kefrein and Wadi Rawda), with many natural springs in the immediate vicinity. Such springs on the lower tall are still in use today. Textual/geographical and archaeological evidence support Tall el-Hammam as the site of the infamous biblical city, Sodom.
The Excavations at Tall el-Hammam
Initial archaeological probes were undertaken for about two weeks in 1990 by Kay Prag (K. Prag 1993. “The Excavations at Tell Iktanu and Tell al Hammam, 1989 and 1990.” Syria 70; 269-273) on the far W extremity of Tall el-Hammam’s Lower Tall in conjunction with her excavations at nearby Tall Iktanu. Her discoveries at Tall el-Hammam confirmed the presence of EBA, IBA, and MBA occupation. A few years after TeHEP began, Director Steven Collins brought Prof Prag back to the site and S Jordan Valley during which time they revisited and consulted on the exciting archaeological history of the region, and Talls el-Hammam and Iktanu in particular.
The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, now entering its 16th season, is a joint venture between Veritas International University and Trinity Southwest University under the auspices of the Jordan Department of Antiquities. Commencing in December 2005, the project has continued every winter since then, and has provided a wealth of information regarding the cultural history of the Middle Ghor in antiquity.
Lower Tall Stratigraphy
Excavations on the lower tall have demonstrated continuous occupation for over 2,500 years, beginning with late Chalcolithic Period broad-room houses.
The Early Bronze Age saw the construction of significant fortifications, as well as domestic and monumental architecture through EB1, EB2, and EB3, with a well-documented earthquake and immediate rebuilding of city defenses and refurbishing of domestic structures at the EB2-EB3 transition. Evidence also indicates that Tall el-Hammam was one of the largest fortified urban centers throughout the EBA—a true city-state with many satellites—and was the only fortified urban center (city-state) in the S Levant during the Intermediate Bronze Age (EB4).
Tall el-Hammam’s Middle Bronze Age city wall and rampart defenses can be traced around most of the Lower Tall. Its unique gate complex included a pillared gatehouse (reminiscent of Middle Minoan palatial halls), as well as large and small towers creating a formidable city entrance. This stratum of the city—as well as its surrounding satellite towns—ended in a violent cataclysm of ‘biblical’ proportions, lending credibility to its identification with the MBA city of Sodom in the days of Abra[ha]m.
Later periods on the lower tall are represented by an isolated IA2 structure and a large Roman bathhouse (hammam). Apparently reused during the Byzantine, Ayyubid, and Mameluke Periods, the bathhouse had an Islamic dedicatory inscription on one of its exterior walls along with Byzantine and Islamic pottery.
Upper Tall Stratigraphy
The earliest occupation identified to date on the upper tall is the Middle Bronze Age, where a large palace complex is being excavated on the acropolis. The palace sits inside the massive mudbrick rampart and upper defensive wall (with towers) that encircles the entire upper city, giving the upper tall its current shape. The exterior palace complex walls are 2.2m thick, separating it from the rest of the upper city. Here, dramatic evidence for the powerful destruction of the Middle Bronze Age city of Sodom has been, and continues, to be exposed. The upper city defenses have been excavated in several locations, as well as what appears to be a domestic area.
After the Middle Bronze Age destruction, the site, and even the associated valley floor, lay abandoned for about 700 years. However, for a brief ‘moment’ during the Late Bronze Age, specifically LB2a (14th c. BCE), a free-standing, multi-room structure (with no associated settlement), likely served as a tariff or customs house for collecting tolls from passing travelers and caravans. Bronze scale pans were among the many artifacts found in the building.
Four phases of a fortified Iron Age 2 store-city appear to be confined to the upper tall. Architecture from these strata include the principal IA2 gateway, a large ‘warehouse’ for storage, a ‘palatial’ residence, and hundreds of silos around the slopes of the upper tall and inside the town wall.
Join us atTall el-Hammam for the 2023 excavation season!
Note: Your mandatory reading of the Season 13 (2018) and Season 14 (2019) Reports will provide more detailed accounts.