Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


26 May 2012

Exploring Pella’s Bronze Age Temple Complex

Stephen J. Bourke, Past Horizons, 22-05-2012

Pella is located in the eastern foothills of the north Jordan valley, around five kilometres east of the Jordan River in the modern-day Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It overlooks the north/south road that runs up the Jordan Valley, as well as the east/west trade route west down the Jezreel Valley to the coast at Haifa. Verdant agricultural flatlands stretch away to the north of the site, and broken uplands well suited to horticulture rise sharply to the east. The high cone-shaped largely natural hill of Tell Husn dominates the southern approaches to the site.

Lying at around 60 metres below sea level, the rectangular flat-topped 400 x 200m main mound of Pella (Khirbet Fahl) stands approximately 30 metres high, and occupies an area of around eight hectares at its greatest extent. The largely natural hill of Tell Husn overtops the main mound by more than 60 metres at its flattened summit, adding perhaps another hectare to the occupied area at various periods in history. A copious natural spring (the Ain al Jirm) empties into the Wadi Jirm at various places along the lower south side of the main mound. Roadways wind their way up from the Jordan Valley roads via the Wadi Jirm to the upland plateau, some running south around Husn to the spectacular Roman ruins of Jerash, and north west across the Jordan river via long-lived Beth Shan to the coast at modern-day Haifa. Pella is surrounded by rich, well-watered agricultural lands, strategically located at the crossroads of two major trade routes, and easily defended. Unsurprisingly, it has one of the longest unbroken sequences of occupation in the entire Jordan Valley.

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