Bulletin of Nabataean Studies (BNS)

The Second Conference on Nabataean Studies

29–31 October 2002, Mövenpick/Nabataean Castle Hotel, Petra, Jordan.

Organized by Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, „Bait al-Anbat“, Arab Forum for Cultural Interaction and Petra Region Authority

I. Papers presented in English

II. Papers presented in Arabic

I. Papers presented in English

Bjorn Anderson, Kingship Ideology in Nabataea during the Reign of Aretas IV

Cultural resistance, as a mechanism of identity construction, has not been significantly explored in Nabataean contexts. In addition to a critical rather than a naive reading of the Roman testimonia, the material and textual record of the Nabataeans themselves offer considerable evidence on the subject. Here, I examine a single monument, the Temple of Obodas the God, as an expression of resistance to Roman presence.

The temple, situated at Nabataean city of Oboda in the Negeb desert, was commissioned by Obodas’ son Aretas IV soon after Obodas’ death in 9 BC. One interpretation suggests that Aretas sought, in deifying his father, to legitimize his own tenuous position during a power struggle with the aspiring administrator Syllaeus. This reading has significant historical merit with respect to internal Nabataean affairs. There is, however, a wider political sphere – of Augustan hegemonic strategies – within which we must also situate Aretas’ bold move.

Augustus owed much of his own power to the public posthumous deification of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar (d. 44 BC). He termed himself divi filius, and commissioned coins and sculpture commemorating Caesar’s apotheosis. While he did not publicly assert his own divinity, he subtly encouraged subject cities in the eastern empire to venerate him as a god. Temples dedicated to Roma and Augustus were erected in large numbers throughout the Eastern Mediterranean in the first centuries BC and AD, and several appeared in Palestine.

The significance of Augustus’ connection with a deified father was common knowledge in the empire. As a result, the erection of the Temple to Obodas the God by his son Aretas IV would have been a direct and obvious confrontation with Roman political ideology. By claiming that he is of divine parentage, Aretas paints himself as an equal, even a rival. In doing so, Aretas shows himself willing to resist Roman expansion. In this reading, Nabataea is not merely another client state, but rather imagines itself a competitive power.

Abdul Rahman al-Ansary and Asem Barghouti, Qaryat „al-Faw“ Excavation: Aspects of Religious Life and Interaction

Excavations at Qaryat „al-Faw“ provided a valuable surviving example of an urban commercial centre in central Arabia during the Graeco-Roman era (ca. 300 BC–AD 300).

The variety of its material culture reflects, on the one hand, the various cultural periods through which it went, and on the other, the individuality of its inhabitants’ capacity to cultural interaction.

We are poorly informed about the religion of Arabia before Islam, within this context, our aim is therefore to present new material on the religious life of central Arabia during that period, as derived from the evidence of Qaryah’s religious installations and related material, through the results of twenty seasons of excavations at the site.

The available data permit to give a coherent account of the form of religious life at Qaryah in the various periods of its existence. It also offers some basic information of certain aspects. We believe that the results of our excavations at Qaryah, through careful analysis and interpretation of the collected data, would broaden our knowledge about religious life in the Arabian Peninsula in general.

Nabil Atallah, Greek-Nabataean Bilingual Inscriptions in Jordan

The conquest of Alexander the Great had contributed a lot in the spread of Greek culture in the eastern Mediterranean region. The conquest and the domination of Alexander and his heirs over the area produced a mixture of the Hellenic and eastern cultures and arts, resulting in a new form which scholars have agreed to call the Hellenistic culture. Later, when the Romans invaded Syria in 64/63 BC, the Greek language continued to be in use because the Romans themselves admired the Greek culture. The Greek language was used along with local languages by the native peoples, including the Nabataeans who remained independent until AD 106. Similarly, their language was contemporaneous with the Greek language as we find Nabataean inscriptions alongside the Greek inscriptions in all territories occupied by the Nabataeans, including their capital.

Many researchers of Nabataean and Greek inscriptions have reported bilingual inscriptions (Greek-Nabataean) in present day Jordan, which was once part of the Nabataean state. The contents of most of these inscriptions are identical, however, some are not completely identical. In one case, an inscription was considered bilingual and in examining the inscription I think that it was not properly read and it could be purely Greek.

This paper will present the Greek-Nabataean bilingual inscriptions found in Jordan, to shed some light on their number, distribution, content, interpretations and differences in the contents of both the Greek and Nabataean texts.

Taysir M. Atiat, Nabataean Bird’s Eye View from the Wadi al-Mujib Nature Reserve

During February 2002, the Royal Society for the Conversation of Nature (RSCN) and Mu’tah University conducted an archaeological survey inside the boundary of Wadi al-Mujib Nature Reserve. The project was implemented by the Department of Archaeology and Tourism under the direction of the author. The archaeological survey resulted the discovery of two Nabataean sites oriented east-west, each of them consists of collapsed buildings, cisterns, dams, terrace walls and water channels. Undoubtedly, the high quantities of pottery sherds collected at these sites, and the absence of any construction elements earlier than the Nabataean period, confirm that the sites originated as Nabataean structures.

But, what does there presence represent in this sensitive region. Unfortunately, we have not the answer to this question but it is fairly clear that the Nabataeans possessed wonderful strategic sites in this region, offering an extremely wide outlook fit to cover the Dead Sea in the west and the land of the Hasmonaeans and the Maccabaeans later on in the northeast. All in all, the Nabataean structures in this region would support our understanding concerning the wars between the Nabataean and the Jews. The sequence of events leading to the wars between them is known through the historical and religious sources but it has not been sufficiently proven archaeologically. This paper proposes an answer to the question as well as the identification of the Nabataean structures as places of worship for a special community that existed in the region.

Christian Augé, Coin Circulation at Petra from Recent Excavation Finds

The author was fortunate enough to study several hundreds of coins (nearly 700) from two neighbouring sites in the centre of Petra: the „Great Temple“ excavations, thanks to the friendly courtesy of Professor Martha Joukowsky, and the excavations in the Qasr al-Bint area, carried out by the French mission since 1999. Comparing the two collections leads to somewhat parallel observations. Moreover, added to the numismatic material from other areas, mainly from the Swiss excavations at az-Zantur, beautifully published by Markus Peter, those finds provide fairly significant evidence about the circulation and use of coins in the ancient city. Until a more elaborate study is made possible, we may give an outline of it, restricted of course to the use of copper small change.

In relation with the topic of the Conference, the main point is Nabataean currency. In both finds, the regal Nabataean coinage forms a rather important part of the whole, especially in some definite areas. As regards the chronological sequence, we notice a marked concentration of coins during a short period, which may be associated with the building programmes carried out in the lower part of the city: a number of coins date back to the first part of Aretas IV’s reign, from 9 BC to AD 16–18, perhaps preceded by a few specimens of Obodas III. Evidence is almost lacking about earlier issues The remainder is unevenly distributed all over the following period in the 1st and early 2nd centuries AD, including Rabbel II’s last issues before the Roman annexation.

Coin circulation in the Roman period should also call for comments. Considering the monumental development of central Petra in the 2nd century AD, the rather low number of coins of that period requires some explanation. A majority of the provincial coins was issued by the local mint: the origins of the other ones seem all the more meaningful. Lastly, as usual on Near-Eastern excavation fields, the bulk of the coins belongs to the Late Roman period (4th–5th centuries AD). At Petra however, their distribution in time, in view of their various provenances and minting-places, shows somewhat original features.

Leigh-Ann Bedal, The Petra Garden Feasibility Study

In the summer of 1998, a survey and excavation was carried out in the so-called „Lower Market“ at Petra, the capital of ancient kingdom of Nabataea. The surprising result was the identification of the site as a pool-complex with a monumental swimming-pool and island-pavilion and an elaborate hydraulic system that irrigated a large earthen terrace. The subsequent application of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), combined with exploratory excavations and soil cores, revealed valuable information about the garden terrace’s stratigraphy and architectural characteristics. It is now clear that the terrace is largely earthen with a few prominent structures (including some with apparent hydraulic functions) built along its central axis and eastern boundary, in addition to a number of minor built features scattered across the terrace. Taking advantage of the three-dimensional capabilities of GPR, it is possible to conduct a detailed analysis of the terrace’s subsurface that allows the visual reconstruction of features and, most importantly, allows for an excavation strategy that will ensure optimum recovery of the garden’s archaeological record.

Based on parallels in the archeological and historical record of the region, the Petra Pool-Complex has been identified as the site of a pleasure garden built in the style of the Late Hellenistic paradeisoi. Until 1998, the existence of a monumental pool and garden in Petra was entirely unknown, and it is the only example of a Nabataean garden in the archaeological record.

Ueli Bellwald, A Contribution to the Preservation of Nabataean Heritage: The Conservation and Restoration of the Nabataean Mansion on az-Zantur and the Great Temple in Petra

Since starting in 1988, the excavations of Basel University under the patronage of the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeology Abroad was accompanied by conservation and restoration work in order to preserve the unearthed structures and finds. When excavation was taken up on the site of az-Zantur IV (EZ IV) in 1996 and an extended mansion with outstanding interior decoration began to show up, the share of conservation and restoration in the entire undertaking increased tremendously. As some of the most important elements of the interior decorations, such as mural paintings and painted and gilded stucco was discovered in the very first weeks of the 1996 mission, not only the archaeological, but also the tourist potential of the building became obvious. For the first time in Petra, a residential complex with a Pompeian-like impression began to show up. Taking the archaeological and the future tourism importance into consideration, guidelines for both the excavation and the conservation had to be developed. These guidelines may be summarized as follows:

-After full excavation, the mansion will be presented to the visitors as a museum on its own.

- Each single element of the interior decoration and each installation giving a hint to the ancient function of the rooms will not only be excavated and documented properly, but in the same time consolidated and conserved and hence prepared for future reintegration. This procedure shall not be restricted to outstanding decorations, but shall be adopted for all interior and exterior equipment, in order to document all the functions that were once developed in the building.

- All the procedures required for consolidation and conservation will constantly accompany the archaeological excavation, and, wherever needed, the restorer has to excavate the most endangered objects.

- During excavation, all interventions will be restricted to consolidation and conservation; restoration will only be executed after full excavation, when a final comprehensive project may be developed.

From 1996 to 2001, excavation, consolidation and conservation were executed hand in hand following the guidelines listed above. As conservation interventions could not be entirely executed during the excavation periods, they were further developed after the archaeologists left. After the mansion itself was fully excavated after the 2001 season, the final restoration project was elaborated in spring 2002 and will be executed in 2002 and 2003. It foresees the sheltering of the rooms with the most outstanding interior decorations and the reintegration of the excavated fragments wherever possible. Based on the elaborate plan and structure of the mansion and in order not to obstruct the three-dimensional aspect to visitors, the shelters will not be tent-like, but simply follow the design of the original ceilings of each room to be covered. The preserved fragments of the floors from the upper storey will be reintegrated as well, showing that the building originally had two floors. As the ancient height of about 6m would give an unacceptable towering effect to the sheltered rooms, the restored height will be restricted to 4.4m.

In 1998, mural paintings and painted and gilded stucco similar to those of the az-Zantur mansion were found in the corridors of the Great Temple, excavated by Brown University. As there was close cooperation between the two teams since the beginning of the Brown University excavations in 1993, the experts of the Swiss team were consulted and their conservator charged with the execution of the consolidation and conservation work. Meanwhile a comprehensive project for the full restoration of the interior decoration of the Great Temple was developed as well. The most important element of this project concerns the restoration and reintegration of the outstanding mural paintings and the stucco decoration of the walls and the ceiling found during the 2002 mission in one of the small rooms behind the southwestern corner of the southern perimeter wall.

Ueli Bellwald and Ma’an Huneidi, The Archaeological Results of the Siq al-Mudhlim – Wadi al-Mataha Survey at Petra

The archaeological survey has revealed that the area under study was an integral part of the flash-flood prevention system built together with the infrastructure in the Siq. Without the diversion of the runoff water from upper Wadi Musa through the tunnel into Siq al-Mudhlim, Sadd al-Ma’jan and Wadi al-Mataha, the paved street and the spring water supply system in the Siq would not have survived the impact of one severe flash-flood. The ancient hydraulic system may be divided into the following sections:

- From the culvert in front of the „Movenpick Hotel“ down to the Obelisk Tomb, Wadi Musa passes through a necropolis. To avoid any deposition of debris in front of the tombs and their entrances, a continuous and free discharge of the runoff water had to be assured; therefore, no water detention structure was ever built in this area.

- The extended area below the Obelisk Tomb and the Bab as-Siq Triclinium was completely remodeled as an enormous retention basin; its discharge was restricted to the capacity of the tunnel by a dam and the opening of the bridge at the entrance to the Siq.

- For the tunnel itself, the detailed investigation of all preserved chisel marks has allowed for a clear description of how the tunnel was shafted into the bedrock.

- Where Shu’b al-Kharruba and Wadi Ramla join Siq al-Mudhlim, proof for another detention basin with a damming height of at least 3m could be furnished.

- Along the extremely narrow passage following the inlets of Shu’b al-Kharruba and Wadi Ramla a basin for stilling down the discharge of the runoff water at a 6m high natural cascade was detected.

- At the outlet of Sadd al-Ma’jan, an important sanctuary was situated directly below the aqueduct of the northern Khubtha spring water supply conduit. Among all the sites of veneration in Petra that were linked with the outstanding importance of water for daily life, this sanctuary with the towering aqueduct, like a triumphal arch high above, must have been by far the most impressive.

- From the inlet of Sadd al-Ma’jan into main Wadi al-Mataha, the southern bank of Wadi al-Mataha was protected against erosion by a fortification wall with a length of some hundreds of meters.

- At the very entrance of Wadi al-Mataha into the city area, immediately below the inlet descending from Mughur an-Nasara, the ruins of a massive dam were found, it had a thickness of about 6m, on top it carried a water channel connecting both banks of the wadi bed.

- Downstream of the inlet of Wadi Umm Sayhun, two dams had the function of holding back the runoff water coming from north.

- Some smaller dams immediately upstream from the northern Nymphaeum were built to protect the foundations of two bridges, one for carriages and the other for pedestrians.

- The lowest dam, some meters upstream of the inlet of Wadi al-Mataha into the main Wadi Musa, was the last detention structure to avoid backwater in the direction of the theatre area and any inundation of the area around the Nymphaeum, which forms part of the city’s spring-water supply system.

Sylvie Blétry, Atargatis-Derketo in the Nabataean Region

The Syrian goddess Atargatis was worshipped during the Hellenistic and Roman periods in a wide area, approximately from the Euphrates to Rome, including, to the South, the Nabataean region. The archeological remains of her sanctuaries, the concerned epigraphy as well as her iconography reveal a great formal and symbolic diversity of the aspects of this cult.

The documents already known from the Hawran to Petra have already been extensively discussed. Recently, several authors have reinterpreted them, mostly to minimize the impact of the cult of the Syrian goddess in this region.

However, it is perhaps possible to reconcile ancient and recent views and to show they are not necessarily conflicting. The Nabataean documents are strongly integrated inside the epigraphical and iconographical corpus related to Atargatis, which appears to be much wider than it is supposed to be. Nevertheless, some local aspects of the deity of Membij or Ascalon seem to be attested in Nabatene.

Blane W. Conklin, A Nabataean Hapax Legomenon in the Inscription of Qabr at-Turkman

The largest inscription at Petra is also perhaps the most intriguing Nabataean inscription known to us. Since the flurry of publication at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, there have been very few substantial philological treatments of this inscription in the intervening century. One of the remaining problems is the meaning of the word {pqdwn} in line 4, the only occurrence of this word in all of Nabataean. The older commentators translated it as „order“ or „command“, but following J. Milik in 1959, modern commentators have opted for the meaning „responsibility“. This new understanding of the word yields a meaning that is completely opposite of the older understanding, yet the issue has never received a thorough examination. This paper argues that the older understanding of the word is correct. This will be demonstrated through the word’s usage in other Aramaic dialects, and the content of other Nabataean tomb inscriptions. Finally, an alternative understanding of the syntax of the line will be proposed which better supports the meaning preferred by the early commentators.

Benjamin J. Dolinka, Rujm Taba: A Nabataean Way Station along a Major Caravan Route in the Eastern Wadi ’Arabah

The Nabataean site of Rujm Taba is located in the heart of the Wadi ’Arabah valley of southern Jordan, ca. 41.5km northeast of ’Aqaba and 4km south of the village of Rahma. The remains straddle the modern Dead Sea Highway, ca. 1km north of the Taba mudflats (Ar. sabkhat Taba) and to the southeast of a large sand-dune field. The well-known landmark and important regional water source known as ’Ayn Taba lies along the road ca. 3.5km to the south. In antiquity, the site served as a way station along the major Nabataean caravan route that ran northward along the eastern escarpment of the Wadi ’Arabah from Aila (modern ’Aqaba) to the southeast coast of the Dead Sea.

The Rujm Taba Archaeological Project (RTAP) conducted a preliminary survey and reconnaissance of Rujm Taba in August 2001. Three main archaeological components of the site were identified: a Nabataean caravanserai (Structure A001); a Nabataean village consisting of 22 features (C001-016, D001-006), many of which represent separate structures; and a large necropolis containing numerous tombs. According to the ceramics recovered from the RTAP surface collection, the village was likely founded during the mid-first century BC, and the caravanserai was constructed during the early- to mid-first century AD. Both the caravanserai and village flourished during the late-first century AD, and experienced a period of decline in the early-second century AD. The archaeological remains at Rujm Taba, therefore, have the potential to provide excellent stratified deposits unspoiled by later occupation, but both areas are in immediate danger from natural and human destruction. RTAP intends to conduct further investigation of the site in the future.

Benjamin J. Dolinka, Aqaba Ware: A Recently Discovered Type of Nabataean Common Ware Pottery

The ancient polis of Aila is located within the modern city of ’Aqaba, Jordan. Under the Nabataeans, the site was an important entrepôt serving a variety of economic functions. The ancient authors allude to Aila’s role as a primary stopping point along the caravan routes that brought incense and spices from the southern Arabian Peninsula to the Syro-Palestinian littoral and beyond. Aila also acted as a major regional hub through which ran overland routes to Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia. And, after the Roman annexation of Nabataea in AD 106, Aila became the southern terminus of the via nova Traiana („Trajan’s new road“), linking it to the Roman province of Syria.

The most comprehensive investigation of Aila has been the excavations of the Roman Aqaba Project, conducted between 1994 and 2002 under the direction of S. Thomas Parker. Research on the ceramic assemblage from those excavations by the present author has brought to light a hitherto unknown type of common ware pottery — given the appellation „Aqaba Ware“ — that was produced at Nabataean Aila during the first two centuries AD. Distinguished by its cream colour, sandy and gritty texture, and inclusions of biotite mica, Aqaba Ware enjoyed a wide distribution throughout the Nabataean kingdom.

From a detailed analysis of the distribution of Aqaba Ware, it is possible for the first time to establish trading patterns within and outside of Aila’s rural hinterland. Taken together, this evidence demonstrates that Aila’s commercial activities were not simply limited to its rôle as middlemen in the aromatics trade (as intimated by the ancient authors), but that it was a regional producer and supplier of common ware pottery as well. Finally, the identification of Aqaba Ware as a distinct type of pottery will no doubt serve to aid archaeologists working on future excavations in recognising its presence at their sites.

Jonathan Ferguson, Kingdoms and Kinship: Archaeological and Historical Research on Nabataean Madaba

Among the archaeological treasures of Jordan, the city of Madaba is best known for its Late Antique mosaics, but its occupational history reaches back to the Early Bronze Age. During the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, Madaba found itself within the overlapping spheres of influence of local and regional powers. After the loss of Seleucid control in the area ca. 165 BC, Madaba is usually considered to lie within Nabataean control, but historical references reflect the considerable autonomy exercised by local tribes, most notably the Bani ’Amirat. From its capture by John Hyrcanus I in 129 BC, Madaba was part of the Judaean Peraea of the Hasmonaeans, until it was given to the Nabataean King Aretas III by John Hyrcanus II in 65 BC. Thereafter, Madaba remained within Nabataea until the kingdom’s annexation by Rome in AD 106. Since 1996, the „Tell Madaba Archaeological Project“, directed by T. P. Harrison of the University of Toronto, has been unearthing evidence that illuminates the cultural position of this site on the edge of Nabataea. The archaeological evidence displays a clear difference between the Hasmonaean and Nabataean phases and suggests that while Madaba was integrated within Nabataea, it also maintained connections with its neighbours in the Peraea and the Decapolis. In the wider cultural view, the pre-existing Arab identity of the Madaba area (including its tribal structures and semi-pastoral economy) eased its incorporation into the Nabataean federal state. The strength and resilience of kinship groups such as the Bani ’Amirat are demonstrated not only by their actions (often contrary to Nabataean interest), but also by inscriptions attesting to their continued presence in later centuries. Ongoing research seeks to incorporate literary, epigraphic, ethnographic, ceramic and other archaeological evidence to examine the cultural life of this city on the edge of the Nabataean heartland.

Laurent Gorgerat, The Anthropomorphic Terracottas of the Nabataeans

Since 1988, a team of archaeologists from the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the University of Basel, Switzerland, has been working on az-Zantur in Petra/ Jordan. Within the scope of this project, numerous results concerning the material culture (housing, wall-paintings, fine ware pottery, coarse ware pottery, glass) of the Nabataeans and their contacts to the West and the East were produced.

My research, which I would like to present at the „The Second Conference on Nabataean Studies“, concerns the anthropomorphic terracottas of the Nabataeans found during the Swiss Excavations between 1988 and 2000. It is the first study to examine Nabataean terrracotta figurines from Petra within a secure chronological frame. The results of this chronological study provide important evidence for the date of the introduction not only of anthropomorphic figurines at Petra, but also of the diversity of influences reflected in them.

The most striking discovery from this analysis is that the anthropomorphic terracottas appear in the material culture of the Nabataeans in the second half of the first century BC. This fact is important for the history of Nabataean art because it is often suggested that the Nabataeans, with their Semitic background, had an aversion against the use of the anthropomorphic form, especially against the representation of deities. Thus, the chronological results of my study are important because they prove the use of the anthropomorphic form in a common medium at a time when many scholars would not have expected this.

The iconographical analysis of the fragments found during the Swiss Excavations reveals not only examples with strong connections with Egypt, but also some reflecting considerable Eastern influence. Thus, they are not as „Classical“ as they at first appears.

The study points out that these various influences are reflected simultaneously in contemporary terracottas, rather than appearing in sequential stages as some scholars might have expected.

David Graf and Salah Said, Yatur and the Yatureans

The Yaturean kingdom located in the Biqa’ Valley near Ba’albak in Lebanon in the first century BC is attested amply in literary sources. Between 73 and 25 BC, its kings – Ptolemy the son of Mennaios, Lysanias, and Zenodorus – all known from literary sources, issued coins with Greek and Aramaic legends and monograms indicating they were tetrarchs and high-priests. It is also known that the influence of the kingdom was considerable, extending as far as Damascus, where the people sought the help of the Nabataean King Aretas III (87–62 BC) to protecting them from the Yatureans. In 64/63, Pompey encountered the Yatureans in his march through Syria, conquering their fortresses, and imposing a tribute of 1000 talents on Ptolemy their king. Afterwards, Caesar and Antony surrounded themselves with a bodyguard of Ituraeans, and under Augustus, a number of military units were drafted from the Ituraeans, who continued to serve in the Roman army until at least the third century.

What is now clear is that even earlier, in the second century BC, the Yatureans had infiltrated the Hawran of southern Syria, Northern Transjordan, and Galilee. Since they are designated as „Arabs“ in both biblical and classical sources, it is assumed that they were „nomads“, fiercely independent and warlike. Some members of the tribe also are the authors of some Safaitic inscriptions found in the Harra desert, which is often cited as further testimony of their nomadic character. But other evidence now suggests that they were of sedentary character. At Umm al-Jimal in northern Jordan, the name Yatur appeared in a number of Nabataean, Aramaic and Greek inscriptions. Since the texts are of a funerary nature, they appear to be from the settled population. More texts recently discovered at the site in which individuals use the name Yatur from which the tribe of the „Yatureans“ was named reinforce this conclusion.

John F. Healey, The Significance of the Nabataean Legal Papyri from the Cave of Letters for the Nabataean Studies

The Nabataean legal papyri from the „Cave of Letters“ have now at last been definitively published with full commentary and translations (Yadin, Greenfield, Yardeni, Levine 2002). I intend to provide a summary of these materials and set them in the wider context of Nabataean language and epigraphy.

Also, in an earlier publication (Healey 1993), I surveyed the evidence for Nabataean legal practice. With the new publication it becomes possible to extend this much further on the basis of complete documents rather that the few phrases cited in the earlier publications. I will examine some of the legal terminology used in the Nabataean legal texts and set this in the context of the „Common Law“ tradition of the Roman period Near East.

Finally, I will summarize some of the social and political aspects of the papyri, linking the information they give with the information which has been gathered from other sources (inscriptions on stone, literary sources). This will lead to an evaluation of the general significance of the papyri for Nabataean Studies.

Chang-Ho C. Ji and Jong Keun Lee, Drawing the Borderline: Nabataeans, Hasmoneans, and Herodians in the Region of the Dhiban Plateau and the Madaba Plains

This paper examines two important questions surrounding the Nabataean expansion in the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods in central Jordan, giving special attention to the regions of the Dhiban Plateau and the Madaba Plains. First, where was the boundary between the Nabataean kingdom and the Hasmonean-Herodian state? Second, when was this boundary set up? The analysis uses data from various archaeological and historical evidence in addition to the findings from our research in the region. We find that the entire region of the Dhiban Plateau belonged to the realm of the Nabataeans with possible exceptions of a couple of fortified cities such as Qasr ar-Riyashi and Mudaynat as-Saliyah in the canyon of Wadi al-Mujib. In the Madaba Plains, Nabataean materials have been found at Tall Jalul, Madaba, and ’Amman, indicating Nabataean occupation of the sites. Substantial Hasmonean and Herodian evidence exists at Machaerus, Khirbat ’Atruz, Tall al-’Umayri, Tall Hisban, ’Iraq al-Amir, and Madaba. Our surveys have failed to yield any evidence for Nabataean presence at Khirbat Libb and the Wadi as-Sir region. Accordingly, the western boundary of the Nabataean territory appears to have lain along the line of ’Amman-Tall Jawa-Madaba-Jalul-Mudaynat ath-Thamad-Sayl al-Haydan; Khirbat Libb and Madaba appear to have functioned as Hasmonean-Herodian military and commercial outposts. There was no political or military buffer zone between the kingdoms. When considering the date of this boundary, the Dhiban Plateau seems to have come under Nabataean control near the end of the second century or the early first century BC. At the same time, large scale Hasmonean building projects took place at Machaerus and Tall Hisban, and small villages began to spread in the hilly regions of Tall al-’Umayri and Khirbat ’Atruz. Hence, the paper concludes by suggesting that in central Jordan the Hasmonean-Nabataean border was firmly established at the transition from the second century BC to the first century BC.

Nabil Khairy, A New Look on the Religious Material Culture Excavated at the al-Katuta Area in Petra

The Petra excavations carried out in the al-Katuta area southeast of Qasr al-Bint yielded rich culture elements and many objects that shed new light on the Nabataean religion and believes.

One could instantly deduce the strong and direct relations between the Nabataean religion with not only contemporaneous Graeco-Hellenistic-Roman counterparts but also with the Phoenician, Egyptian and Mesopotamian religions. Hence, the Nabataeans did not live in cultural isolation but they were influenced by and absorbed many foreign believes and mythological subjects without contradicting their own local ones.

Unfortunately, such a topic has not been dealt with intensively and it needs more research to enlighten our understanding of such a sensitive and important subject.

Bilal Khrisat and Talal Akasheh, Gaming Boards from the Nabataean Capital City of Petra: Documentation and Study

The survey project of the archaeological and architectural evidences in the city of Petra provided a remarkable record of board games of various forms and categories that spread over more than 6km². Petra was the most extensive and busy center of any Nabataean city in the area. The Nabataean people of Petra played different types of board games during their leisure time to forget their workload or for enjoyment. Apart from being a pastime and no matter how or in what manner they were played, these game boards revealed underlying their forms, sizes, topographic orientation, and geographic distributions some of the socio-economic conditions and the hidden relations that exist between the Nabataeans and their environment.

Most of the game boards reflect strategic type of games, which were mostly played outdoor, and their boards are square and rectangular in shape carved or scratched on the floor inside and outside the monuments.

Because of trade and migration of people from different cities and towns to the site, various games must have been tools of cultural exchange. On the other hand, reconstruction of ancient games is a very complicated subject where archaeological evidence, literary sources, and knowledge of general mechanisms of board games must be combined with ethnoarchaeolgical survey, as some of these games are still played today among the locals in the area.

This paper aims at documenting and recording the varieties of board games found within and around the surveyed ruined structures, also to investigate and illustrate the details of discovered board games and their preservation.

Petra has never been subjected to such thorough horizontal survey and investigations earlier and hence this documentation is vital.

Dagmar Kühn, Aspects of Commemoration of the Dead among the Nabataeans – The Relationship between Gods and the Dead

When passing the magnificent monumental tombs and the many memorial monuments (nefesh-monuments) in the Petra area, one is struck by the important status of the dead among the Nabataeans. Nevertheless, we know almost nothing about the manner the Nabataeans dealt with their dead and how they imagined their afterlife. The epigraphical and archaeological remains undoubtedly attest a belief in a postmortal existence, but adequate texts and inscriptions to get more detailed information about this conception are lacking. Therefore, the only way to cope with the mainly mute source material is to collect every little reference or hint in the hope that these tiny fragments will grow together to a clearer picture in the future.

Some of the fragments which give information about the commemoration of the dead affect the aspect of the relationship between gods and the dead. The protection of tombs and of tomb areas by the Nabataean supreme god Dushara is well-known from the famous Turkmaniya inscription (CIS II 350) and the tomb inscriptions of Mada’in Salih. Moreover, it is obvious that the numerous tombs in Petra cannot be classified exclusively as the surrounding municipal cemeteries of the city of Petra. They also show the desire of the Nabataeans to be buried in the wilderness of Petra, which was seen in a close connection with Dushara. But there are other modest references, which reveal aspects of the relationship between a dead person and his or her personal god or gods.

Apart from several principal reflections, this paper will present a well-known inscription beside a burial-niche from a tomb in Mada’in Salih and several archaeological constellations, where betyls are directly related to dead persons. Furthermore, some memorial inscriptions may give indirect hints that Dushara is involved in the commemoration of the dead.

Giancarlo Lacerenza, The Nabataean Temple of Puteoli Project

In 2001, a research unit has been established in Naples at the Istituto Universitario Orientale (IUO), aimed at undertaking a complete survey and study of the Nabataean temple in Puteoli. The dwelling of a Nabataean community in Puteoli (modern Pozzuoli), is known since the middle of the 18th century, when in the submerged quarters of the ancient city, next to the colonnade known by antiquarians as Tempio delle Ninfe, an altar and two cultic bases were found that bore the inscription DVSARI SACRVM (‚Holy to Dusares‘). At the same time, in the surroundings of Puteoli a colossal bust of a god was found, that has been tentatively associated with the Nabataean god Dusares.

In the mid 19th century, two Nabataean inscriptions (CIS II 157 and 158) were found in Pozzuoli: The first referring to an ex voto to Dusares; the second in memory of the restoration of the local mahramah, or temple, accomplished towards the year 14 of king Aretas IV (AD 5/6). The former edifice approximately dates back to the year 8 of the king Malichus I (ca. 53/52 BC). It became therefore evident that in Puteoli a Nabataean temple was extant, that possibly was still furnished and preserved its marbles and inscriptions. The latter circumstance was confirmed in 1966, when a new cultic ara DVSARI SACRVM and a number of small betyls were found. In the early ’70s, the first aerial photographs of the area stretching from Puteoli and the Portus Iulius at Baia became available: They portrayed complex structures, horrea and various buildings laying under the sea level. Further researches led to the first identification of the site of the Nabataean temple. In fact, in 1977 Prof. Giuseppe Camodeca succeeded in setting the original place of the 18th century and 1966’s findings close to the submerged vicus Lartidianus, near the alleged Tempio delle Ninfe. In the mid ’80s, the ancient Nabataean inscriptions from Puteoli were recovered in the repositories of the Archeological Museum of Naples, and in April 1989, two new DVSARI SACRVM inscriptions were found in the sea. Albeit removed from their original setting, these thin slabs proved that the ruins of the temple still preserved, although partly, their original marble coating. Two further fragments written in Latin from the Temple – found in the year 1972 but overlooked – have been published in 2001.

In the ’90s, a new season of underwater surveys in the vicus Lartidianus was carried out: these surveys yielded a more detailed description of the area. This paper will show the present state of research and the perspectives of further discoveries in the area.

Noor Mulder-Hymans, The Water Reservoir at Khirbat al-Mudayna on Wadi ath-Thamad

At Khirbat al-Mudayna on Wadi ath-Thamad (currently excavated by P. M. Michele Daviau), a reservoir was excavated as part of a Nabataean-early Roman period settlement. The building itself had two phases of use before being abandoned. The reservoir is a 11.00x16.50 m stone building. The inner sides of the four walls are coated with 3–4 layers of fine plaster. The floor surface consists of laminated layers of plaster sealing.

The reservoir with stairs, two plastered drains and fragments of a plastered stone-cut drain channel fits the pattern of Nabataean water conservation techniques, seen at other sites, such as Kurnub/Mampsis, Umm al-Jimal and Humayma. In a second phase the reservoir was used for habitation and divided by piers, carrying arches. An oven and Nabataean/Roman cooking pots were found.

In this presentation I will describe both use phases and show how the reservoir at al-Mudayna fits into a known pattern of reservoir construction. Secondly, I will attempt to answer the following questions:

1: Was the reservoir meant as water storage for the village next to it or for irrigation?

2: What was the function of the drains, to bring water or to let out?

3: What was the function of the plastered stone-cut drain channel?

4: What was the function of the piers dividing the reservoir?

François Renel, New Discoveries in the Qasr al-Bint Area at Petra

The main topic of this paper is to present the result of the first four seasons of excavations of the French Archaeological mission at Qasr al-Bint. Since 1999, this new mission has been working in the area located around the temple of Qasr al-Bint and especially on the surrounding buildings. This team has already uncovered the rest of an important building for the history of Petra, an official Exedra built to honour the imperial family in the second century AD. On the eastern side of the temple, the team undertook the excavation of an extensive Nabataean building in connection with the sacred area during the Nabataean period.

Even though these areas are only partly excavated, the four campaigns carried out up until now already yielded a considerable amount of new information and artifacts important for the history and chronology of the occupation of this part of the city.

Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais, About Some Dates in Greek Inscriptions of the Nabataean Country: New Readings or Emendations: Cultural Aspects

In some Greek inscriptions of Jordan we find a date. A few of these dates are difficult to decipher and their reading or their interpretation is questionable, if not wrong. We need to enter technical aspects, both paleographic remarks and problems of ancient chronology. Sometimes it is possible to give plausible explanations for some mistakes, either in the carving or the drawing of the letters, or numerical signs, or in their decipherment. Despite of the numerous recent discoveries and the researches of many scholars, we do not completely know the chronological systems the Nabataeans used during the Roman-Byzantine period. By instance, what is the place of the caput anni in the diverse civil calendars? What concordance between the ’Macedonian’ months and those of the Julian calendar? We do not get a genuine history without an exact underlying chronology.

Particularly, I will discuss some dated inscriptions from: ’Amman, al-Yadudah and al-Quwaysima near ’Amman, Siyagha and Wadi ’Ayn al-Kanisah at Mount Nebo, Dhiban, the so-called Edomite Plateau, and the mosaic of the Church of the Virgin at Madaba. It seems advisable to re-examine these dates, either to propose a new reading, or to suggest an historical significance.

Spread over one millenary, these dates are not only chronological indications. We may actually consider each date as a socio-cultural phenomenon. They are computed according to various systems: era of the province, years of the reign of the Roman emperor, mention of the consuls, years of the cycle of the ‚indiction,‘ Alexandrian or Byzantine Christian era ‚of the Creation of the World‘, era ‚of the Martyrs‘, using a provincial calendar or later the Roman one. We also assume that they give evidence of various institutions, mentalities, allegiances, contacts or influences. My paper will try to secure right computations and to show what each method of dating can reveal concerning the cultural background of the Nabataean country during classical Antiquity and the Byzantine period.

Marie-Jeanne Roche, Problems of Sources in Nabataean Religion

This paper intends to analyze the specific problems encountered in the use of sources in Nabataean religion. Although this question has been largely studied, the authors usually present, with some rare exceptions, a synthetic approach to Nabataean religion, despite the fact that Nabataean civilisation spanned over several centuries and flourished in various places. To summarize, the sources are Classical texts, Early Arabic literature dealing with pre-Islamic paganism, Nabataean epigraphy and some Greek epigraphy, numismatics, iconography and archaeology. These rich data have permitted a reconstruction of Nabataean religion, although they do not often coincide, even when they are not totally incompatible. The study will present first the problems of the pantheon according to the different sites, from the divinities inferred from the religious anthroponyms to the problems raised by the use of anthropomorphic representations: for example, is the bust of Athena a sufficient argument for the cult of Allat in Petra? What are the divinities of Khirbat at-Tannur: Qos or the divine couple Hadad and Atargatis? Secondly the problems of the cults will be examined, from the controversial prohibition of wine to the use of cultic space: for example the monumental tomb facades of Petra are not mentioned in the classical texts, and the cultic niches in Petra or Hegra received no attention from the ancient authors who describe raised stones on the ground.

Ziad al-Saad, Scientific Analysis of a Collection of Nabataean and Roman Copper—Based Coins Excavated at Wadi Musa/Jordan

This paper deals with the stylistic and chemical analysis of a collection of copper-bases coins excavated at Wadi Musa and dated to the Nabataean and Roman periods, with a time span of around 450 years.

Atomic absorption spectrometry was used for the chemical analysis of the coins. The compositional analysis enabled important inferences concerning the prevailing economic, political and technological conditions during the period of the minting and circulation of the coins.

Isabelle Sachet, Nabataean Funerary Installations: Some Glimpses on the World of Dead

The subject of the contribution is part of a PhD thesis in progress in Paris University. It will focus on the different types of burials practiced in the Nabataean world, from Hawran to the Hijaz and Sinai. A presentation of the different tombs and necropoles known as Nabataean will be made, with a particular interest to the excavated tombs and the archaeological material found inside them. The provenance of the latter will also be examined. Tombs built in masonry and rock cut tombs are to be studied, and among them façade tombs, mausolea, tower-tombs, hypogea, shaft tombs and pits tombs. Our interest will be drawn by the plans of the tombs and the special arrangements made for the deceased. Different types of installations (loculi, pits, chambers …) will be included in the corpus on which this contribution is based. On the basis of a study of tomb interiors as known by recent surveys or excavations and by bibliographical investigation, a reflection on the Nabataean world can be conducted. We will try to identify regional differences and to extract information that should be interesting for our understanding of the way that Nabataeans were treating their deaths.

The analysis of the tombs, their installations and their material will lead to a few questions. What can we learn on the Nabataean funerary customs through the archaeological remains? Will we be able to give hypotheses on Nabataean social organisation? Further, parallels with the Nabataean neighbours will be interesting to investigate in order to determine how close to them they were. It should also help answering the debated question of the origins of the Nabataeans.

Salah Said and Muntasir Al-Hamad, A New Nabataean Inscription of the King Rab’il from Umm al-Jimal

Nearly a century ago (Butler, PES, 1907–1949), Enno Littmann and his colleagues recorded many Nabataean inscriptions during the expedition to southern Syria in the southern area of Hawran. The majority of these collections were collected at Umm al-Jimal (LNa. Nos. 38–68). Those from Busra represented a close second (nos. 69–91). The rest were scattered among twenty-five other towns and villages in the region. The subsequent additions to this important corpus have been few and far between, and most of these concentrated in the vicinity of Busra in the northern Syrian sector of the Hawran. Only a few have been published from the Jordanian sector of the Hawran. Due to the great expansion in recent decades, these towns and villages have become difficult to protect and conserve. Thus, recording antiquities in the region is a matter of great urgency. A survey team was organized at Al al-Bayt University to explore the area extending from Umm as-Surab in the west to Kum al-Ahmar in the east, and from the Syrian border in the north to the Baghdad Highway in the south, an area of about 200 km². The survey was conducted over an eleven-week period from the middle of November 1996 to the end of January 1997. During this expedition, numerous inscriptions were found in the region, and many brought back to be deposited in the new museum at Al al-Bayt University. The team found that many of the inscriptions are in Greek and Safaitic, but a number of new Nabataean inscriptions, however, were also found.

This paper presents a study of a Nabataean inscription that has been found Umm al-Jimal. This inscription is very important because it mentioned the Nabataean king Rab’il while the majority of the Hawran inscriptions only mentioned personal names.

May Shaer, Weathering, Deterioration and Conservation of Nabataean Monuments in Petra

A number of issues relating to the weathering and deterioration of monuments in Petra can be found. Apart from natural weathering that occurs on the sandstone façades as a result of natural elements such as wind, rain and primarily the presence of soluble salts, there are other factors that are related to the lack of proper conservation measures. In the latter case, it can be especially noted for excavated sites, which due to lack of continuous maintenance has resulted in the loss of original material and the further deterioration of existing remains. Other categories of damages represent deteriorated wall plasters, which are sometimes painted, and where in many cases there is substantial damage, in addition to the presently dysfunctional hydraulic works.

The conservation of monuments should ideally be dealt with in a holistic approach, however, there can often be cases where emergency measures are required. Although a single methodology is followed in the conservation and restoration of the monuments in Petra, yet the conservation approach is peculiar for each case in terms of materials used and techniques implemented. The methodology includes adequate documentation and study of the monument in question, the testing of original and new materials to be used and the setting up of the conservation concept. These steps are often helpful in obtaining further knowledge regarding Nabataean building techniques and craftsmanship that were not previously known. This in turn can provide the basis for establishing the conservation concept, which should adhere to the principles of minimal intervention, compatibility and retreatability, in addition to respecting the authenticity of the Nabataean monuments.

Robert Wenning, Unknown Temples at the Acropolis of Dhat Ras – Another Nabataean Sanctuary?

Dhat Ras in Southern Moab is one of the most neglected ancient sites in Jordan, although its importance in the Roman period is indicated by three temples. The site urgently deserves attention. The so-called Small Temple is well known, but the only description and mapping we owe to Brünnow and von Domaszewski (1904). In comparison with that the situation of the two temples at the acropolis of Dhat Ras is even more frustrating. Again, besides the early short notes by Brünnow and von Domaszewski (1904), Musil (1907) and Savignac (1936), these temples remain neglected. There is no plan. Not much can be seen of the buildings and that explains why the site never attracted archaeologists.

Nevertheless, from a description of the ruins we can learn a lot about the monuments. It became obvious that the western building with its high eastern wall, a landmark in the fertile Moabite Plateau, is a Nabataean sanctuary of the early first century AD. This classification is possible by the comparison of the wall’s composition and the style of the architectural decoration. Whether the eastern wall with its pilasters and half columns is part of the temple itself or part of a temenos wall needs to be clarified by excavations. A platform inside the area will be used for a reconstruction of the temple.

The eastern building with its former southern façade seems to be another early temple. Even though it has been bulldozed recently in the last years, there is hope to get more of the temple, as about two meters of the façade seem to be hidden in the ground.

Fawzi Zayadine, The Nabataeans in the Mediterranean Basin

It is admitted that the Nabataeans had no commercial fleet and were not engaged in sea faring like the Alexandrians for example. Yet they were present in the eastern Mediterranean ports, in the Aegean Island, in Rome and Athens. This contribution will examine, with the help of inscriptions and the material culture they left, the main reasons of their diffusion in the various emporia or famous cities.

The port of Gaza was involved in the international trade in the eighth century BC, since Tigleth Pileser III appointed an Arab governor to the city when he conquered it to supervise the trade between Egypt and the Sinai. In the Persian-Achaemenid period, the city became the terminal of the spice trade from Arabia, mainly of frankincense and myrrh. When he captured Gaza in 331 BC, Alexander the Great conveyed to his tutor Leonidas 500 talents of frankincense and 100 talents of myrrh, the equivalent of 13 tons of spices. In addition to the aromatics of Arabia, the port of Gaza received precious stones, cinnamon and ivory form India. It was also the main market for the trade of slavery, and in a list of slavewomen discovered in the temple of Qarnaw, capital of Qataban in South Yemen, no less than twenty nine women were from Gaza. Petra was the intermediary caravan station between Arabia and the city: the road started at Bir Madhkur in the ’Arabah valley, Moyet ’Awwad, a halt supplied with a spring and protected by a fort (possibly Moa of the Madaba Mosaic Map). The road reached Obodat (’Abdah) where a camp was built in the first century BC by the Nabataeans. From al-Khalisa/Elusa, famous for the festival of al-’Uzza-Aphrodite, the road passed by the valley of Bessor to arrive in the port of Gaza. The author was lucky to follow this road with a caravan in 1998 and reached Gaza in four days. The recent excavations of the city by a French-Palestinian team uncovered no less than 750 Nabataean sherds.

From Gaza, the traders could reach by ship or by the via maris the Phoenician port of Sidon. The city was famous in the Persian-Achaemenid period for the temple of Eshmun, a healing god, similar to the Greek Asclepios. A huge podium, constructed with large blocks was built on the river Awali, the Bostrenus of the ancient geographers. Eshmunazar II and his son Bodashtart were responsible for the building of the temple at the end of the sixth and beginning of the fifth centuries. Sidon has also flourished in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. A marble tablet was found in 1866 near the southern gate of the city, and on the way to Tyre. It bears a Nabataean and Greek dedication to Dushara, the god, offered by the commander of infantry (strategos). If a commander was in Sidon, this is good evidence for a Nabataean colony in this city. The script of the dedication could be dated to the first half of the first century BC. Nabataeans were certainly settled in the city for trade or traveled to the west. The sanctuary of Eshmun was a good market to sell frankincense and myrrh. In Berytus (Beirut) were stationed the governors of the Province of Syria. Syllaios, the minister of Obodas III was reported by Josephus to have met the governors and made the oath by the fortune of Caesar to reimburse Herod the Great the sum of 500 talents he had borrowed. If the Nabataean minister borrowed this huge sum of money, it is evidence that he was engaged in business. From Phoenicia, Syllaios travelled to Rome in 9 BC. He left a dedication in the temple of Apollo, the Delphineion in Miletus in Asia Minor, for the life of Obodas. He also was in the Isle of Kos, near the Turkish coast and left a dedication in Greek and Nabataean to Aphrodite in Greek and to al-’Uzza in Nabataean. A temple of Asclepios was in the Isle, where the physician Harpocrates was settled. Delos was the main port of the Aegean in the second century BC. The bilingual inscription for the life of Obodas was probably dedicated by Syllaios in 9–8 BC.

In Athens two rhetoricians, Callinikos and Genethlios, were active in the city in the Roman period. Both of them were from Petra. Finally, from Rome three Nabataean inscriptions were found in the excavations. At Puteoli the port of Rome, a Nabataean inscription is the dedication of two camels to Dushara (CIS II,175). Other Latin inscriptions on altars and cultic objects read: DUSARI SACRUM, to be translated: shrine of Dusares. A Nabataean colony was also active in the port of Puteoli.

II. Papers presented in Arabic

Adel Mohammad Abu ’Amsheh, The Nabataean Image in Pre-Islamic Poetry

This paper attempts to re-formulate the Nabataean image inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula in the Pre-Islamic era. It aims at illustrating aspects of the Nabataean social, economic and urban life through collecting and analyzing Pre-Islamic verses of poetry in which the Nabataeans were mentioned. The study shows that the mentioning of the Nabataeans is scattered as similes in the poetry as was not meant to be dedicated to them per se.

Khairieh ’Amr and Fawzi Zayadine, The Nabataean Pottery Workshops at az-Zurrabah

Pottery kilns were first discovered at az-Zurrabah, next to Petra, in 1979 during the construction of the road connecting Wadi Musa with Umm Sayhun. Since then, the Department of Antiquities of Jordan conducted four seasons of excavations at the site, which lead to the discovery of five pottery kilns dating to the first century AD through to the sixth, as well as parts of a large workshop dated to the fourth century AD. Seven other kilns and parts of several workshops were later discovered during construction projects.

The importance of az-Zurrabah lies in its being one of the largest and the longest operating industrial areas known in Jordan. It is also the only centre for the production of fine Nabataean wares known with certainty up until now. In addition to presenting az-Zurrabah, which is situated at the entrance to the Petra Archaeological Park and where most of the tourist facilities are currently located, this paper will explain the development of the kilns and the resulting products. It will also present experiments that lead to the reproduction of Nabataean fine wares, and the reintroduction of this craft for the benefit of the local community.

Khaled Hamouri, The Nabataean Cults: Presenting Oblations

The mentality of ancient peoples was primarily focused on sensory understanding. Therefore, religious rituals occupied the first concern in their cults. Hence giving oblations, being one of these rituals, played a key role in the religious life of the Nabataeans. One can say that giving oblations was a religious landmark of the Nabataeans.

The present paper will discuss the various forms of oblations presented to the Nabataean gods on different occasions, ranging from the religious festivals to naming persons. For example if a person was given a child, he would name his child ’Abda meaning „slave“ to that god believing that his god had blessed him with that son.

Jamal al-Haramy, Petra: A model of Cultural Interaction

This paper aims at discussing the cultural role played by Petra during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, through discussing the archaeological and artistic evidence found in Petra that combine local Nabataean elements with the Assyrian, Greek and Roman.

This paper tries to analyze these artistic elements that made Petra a model of a metropolis during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Petra represents the true image of the Hellenistic age which combined the civilisations of the ancient Near East with the Graeco-Roman, as a result of Alexarder the Great’s conquests and the establishment of the Seleucid kingdom in greater Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia, and the Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt.

The study reveals that the artistic and cultural role that gave Petra a prominent position among the cities of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, where Petra preserved its Oriental features without being overwhelmed by artistic elements from neigh boring civilizations. Petra also reflects the spirit of the Hellenistic and Roman periods where artists moved among different communities creating high artistic standards in sculpture, city planning, and architecture in cooperation with local artists.

Moulay Mhamed Janif, Syncretism, Acculturation, or Assimilation: Answers from Khirbat adh-Dharih

Questions over the cultural and religious identity of the Nabataeans have recently been raised. Amid the search of an explanatory model that can understand this identity and place it in its appropriate frame, some alien concepts and terms have emerged in Nabataean studies. These concepts and terms that have been borrowed from cultural anthropology can be represented in: syncretism, acculturation and assimilation

The study is divided into two parts. In the first part, the paper identifies these concepts theoretically and shows how they were utilized. The second part discusses the way by which these concepts were used to describe the Nabataean situation in the light of the findings at Khirbat adh-Dharih.

Mustafa Al-Khushman, Contemporary Nabataean Poetry: A Historical Heritage from the Nabataean Arabs

The present study discusses the relationship between the contemporary „Nabataean“ poetry and the cultural history of the Nabataean Arabs. The study proposes that the Nabataean poetry and the songs and dances that accompany it are a Nabataean Arab heritage that represents one of the continuous cultural aspects of the Nabataeans. The study surveys the classical Arab history in the Near East, and the social and cultural development of the early Arab tribes.

The study also reviews the cultural continuity of the Arab tribes of Southern Jordan and Palestine, and Northern Hijaz from the first half of the first century AD until the early beginnings of the Islamic state. Finally, the study discusses the origins of the Nabataean poetry and how it spread among contemporary Arab tribes.

Sultan al-Ma’ani, Dushara: The Nabataean Guardian God

The present paper deals with the most famous and greatest Nabataean god, namely Dushara. It will trace the historical background of Dushara and the tribes who worshiped him.

Abdel Aziz Mahmood, The Material Culture and its Manifestations in the Nabataean Society: An Ethnographic Study

The present study deals with the material culture and its reflections on the Nabataean daily life. Focus will be given to specific elements of the material culture because they clearly manifest the distinctive features of the lifestyle and the culture of the Nabataean community. In its early beginning, the Nabataean society was pastoral. Afterwards, it changed into an agricultural settled society. Finally, it changed into an artisan commercial society. Each one of the above-mentioned stages has its own characteristics. When the Nabataean society was pastoral, it did not experience settlement and they were moving from one place into another, living in caves and depending on breeding cattle and camels. When they turned to the settled agricultural life, the Nabataeans witnessed progress in the ways of housing system. From the settled life, the artisan-commercial society developed.

The study will discuss the elements the Nabataean material culture and lifestyle, and how they interacted to produce the special character of the Nabataean culture.

Iyad al-Masri, Styles of Nabataean Sculpture

The Nabataeans produced their sculptures in three styles: The first is total abstraction whereby the statue was devoid of any physical representation. The statues of the gods in this style were akin to the genuine Nabataean thought before being influenced by the religious and artistic ideas of the other cultural centers. The second is the local Hellenistic style whereby the gods where represented in human form with peculiar Nabataean features and proportions. This reflects common features with the sculpture of other contemporary Arab cultural centers at Hatra, Palmyra and Dura. The third is the classical style that reflects attention to proportions and anatomy, and details in the representation of features and attire. This style is akin to the traditions of the fourth century BC Greek sculpture. Most of the Nabataean statues were executed in the abstract and local Hellenistic styles.

Mohannad Mbaydeen, Generation Cultural Impacts and the Nabataean Cultural Constituent

The present paper deals with the Nabataean cultural constituent through the ages in order to present a picture of the Nabataean the cultural identity. It will present some comparisons that accompanied the historical formation of the Nabataean identity. The focus on the cultural aspect has been the main concern because it is the most influential factor in forming the social identity. The study will also deal with the other factors such as the social environment, epistemology, anthropology and so on. The study will also discus the daily discourse in terms of proverbs, anecdotes, narratives... In short, the paper will present a glimpse into the generations in their cultural contexts.

Salem al-Mu’awash, Freedom and the Unique Innovative Nabataean Active Zone

The present study discusses how the active Nabataean zone was formed amidst various activities that contributed to a better development. It also discusses the prerequisites that initiated setting up such a vital zone. Accordingly, the paper has focused attention on the concepts of forming this zone, inter-alia the concepts of „Nabt“, freedom, innovation, formation and the vital zone. The study has concluded that the Nabataeans adapted themselves to all various factors such as the will to live, the adaptation to the land, to the people, to the values and to the necessities of life. The study also concluded that the Nabataeans wanted to assert themselves in various forms of life activities ranging from cultural, economic to modernity, writing, communication, self-sufficiency, security and religion. The pivot of all this was freedom with all its different dimensions.

Mohammad Nasarat, The Policy of Aretas IV (8/9 BC–AD 40)

This paper discusses the reign of Aretas IV, the nature of his expansionist policy in Damascus, and his relations with Syllaios and Augustus. Fortunately, the sources about Aretas IV are more than those about the previous Nabataean kings. Aretas courageously stood against the Roman attempts to subjugate Nabataea. The paper also sheds light on the relations between Aretas and the Jewish king Herod Antipas who married Sa’dat – the daughter of Aretas. It also discusses the conflict between the Nabataeans and the Jews concerning the Jamala region, north of the Yarmuk River.

The paper argues that the reign of Aretas IV was the golden age of the Nabataean kingdom, due to the economic and political prosperity resulting from his policy that aimed at expanding the kingdom. During his reign, the Nabataeans became more civilized and stable, and concentrated on agriculture and hydrology. As a result, the Nabataean trade reached for Roman harbours, and many monuments were built in Petra including the theatre and Qasr al-Bint. As such, Aretas IV was known as „the King who loved his people“.

Daifallah Obeidat, Nabataean Presence in the Northern Badiya of Jordan

[no abstract received]

Nada Al-Rawabdah, Nabataean Religious Life

The present study starts with a brief historical survey of Nabataean history, with particular attention to the Nabataean religious, starting with the origins of the Nabataean gods, and then moving on to the religious rituals that develop along with the developments of the cults. The paper will also deal with the Nabataean temples that were influenced by the other cultures such the Hellenistic, while keeping their ancient Oriental traditions. Also important are Nabataean religious sculptures that help us understand the religion. Finally, a survey of religious symbols that appeared on Nabataean coins is presented.

The study concludes that the Nabataean were not isolated, but rather they interacted positively with the neighbouring nations.

Younis Shdeifat, Nabataean Tombs from Northeastern Jordan

The paper deals with a group of Nabataean tombs recently discovered in the Northeastern Jordan. These tombs are distinguished by being rock-carved in a unique Nabataean style. One of the tombs has a Nabataean inscription, while several others bear Safaitic inscriptions; thus shedding more light on the relationships between the Nabataeans and the Safaitic tribes. The study also includes a comparison between these tombes and other Nabataean tombs in Hawran, Petra, Mada’in Salih, and the Negeb.

Sahar al-Smadi, R W H ...

Theories regarding the Nabataean tribes vary. Some believe that the Nabataeans were several tribes who united to form a state of one people under the name „N B T.“ Others, however, say that the Nabataeans were a group of united tribes, yet each tribe kept its own tribal identity.

Inscriptions that were written in different forms by people who belong to „N B T“ indicate that they belonged to the Nabataean state, while mentioning one or several tribes with them. The present study discusses inscriptions written by persons who belong to the Rawh tribe (R W H). These inscriptions were written in various scripts: Nabataean, Thamudic, Safaitic, Palmyrene. The researcher will try to answer why these inscriptions are different and what they indicate.

Zeina Khalil al-Sultan, The Nabataean Religious Rituals

This paper presents an analytical study of the Nabataean religious rituals through the Nabataean inscriptions that determine the duties of the worshiper towards his god. These duties range from presenting oblations and feasts to showing homage, organizing festivals and carrying out services, in order to be accepted by the god and thus the worshiper would get self-satisfaction.

Mohammad Waheeb, Nabataean Architectural Remains at Babbat Hanut

Between 1995 and 1996, surveys and excavations were carried out in the area of Ras an-Naqab. These excavations were extended to include the town of Dabbat Hanut, known locally as „Qa’ an-Naqab“. The paper gives a full description of a Nabataean structure excavated at the site, which is similar to structures excavated at the nearby site of al-Humayma, thus indicating a widespread distribution of buildings to the northeast of the core site at al-Humayma.

Farajallah Ahmad Yousef, The Numismatics of the Nabataean Kingdom

This paper mainly presents Nabataean coinage: the denominations, local and official issues, as well as the developments through the reigns of the Nabataean kings, starting with Aretas II in 120–96 BC until the Roman annexation in AD 106.

The paper will also discuss the inscriptions from Hegra/Mada’in Salih that mentioned Nabataean currency, from the reign of Aretas IV until Rab’il II. Twelve Nabataean coins will be published in the paper in addition to a number of Roman coins issued after the annexation of the Nabataean Kingdom.

Hussein Zein Al-Din, The Safaitic-Nabataean Relations and Mention of King Malichus III, King of the Nabataeans

The present paper addresses the Safaitic-Nabataean relations through the Safaitic texts. It discusses also the Nabataean relations with the Romans through discussion of the wars between them. It also refers to the mentioning of the Nabataean king Malik (Malichus III) and how he could have killed 300 Romans in one battle. It also shows the Nabataean resistance to the Roman campaigns that attempted to occupy parts of the edges of the Nabataean kingdom. The paper finally calls for a Jordanian-Syrian cooperation in locating and documenting thousands of these inscriptions scattered along the Jordanian-Syrian border.