Project Overview

Aerial photo of Tell Khirbat al Mudayna Khirbat al-Mudayna
Tell Khirbat al-Mudayna. Photo by D. Kennedy and R. Bewley / APAAME; used with permission.

Project Background

Khirbat al-Mudayna is a part of the Wadi ath-Thamad Project; an international archaeological research project working in northern Moab with a staff of senior scholars and advanced students from Canada, the United States, The Netherlands and Austria. The project is sponsored by and funded by Wilfrid Laurier University and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Research is an ongoing endeavor, and was supplemented with summer seasons of excavation, regional survey, and research. During most field seasons, students had the opportunity to complete their field school requirement as members of the excavation team. Pottery and samples are housed at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Near Eastern Archaeology lab and storage area.

Khirbat al-Mudayna is the northern most of six sites with this name (meaning, “ruin of the little city”), is located along the Wadi ath-Thamad in the northern region of Moab. The surface of the site was explored at the turn of the twentieth century. Nelson Glueck (1934) identified Mudayna Thamad as a Moabite site based on the pottery and figurines he collected at the site.

Excavations began in 1996 by the Wadi ath-Thamad Project under the direction of P. M. Michèle Daviau. Excavation on the oval mound (approximately 80 by 140 meters inside a casemate fortification wall visible on the surface) has revealed an Iron Age town with evidence for domestic, industrial and cultic activity.

Excavation was also undertaken in a Nabatean farming settlement located north of the mound which yielded evidence for extensive water management, consisting of a reservoir and water walls, and a large two-storey housing complex.

Tell Khirbat al Mudayna Khirbat al-Mudayna
Tell Khirbat al-Mudayna. Photo by D. Kennedy and R. Bewley / APAAME; used with permission.

Project History

2021    Field season cancelled – Publication Phase

2020    Field season cancelled – Publication Phase

2019    Publication Phase

2018    Water System survey; Dr. Noor Mulder-Hymans and Mr. Earl Dennis Murphy

2017    Prepared shipment of pottery and faunal remains to Waterloo, Dr. P. M. Michele Daviau and Heather-Jane Maurice

2016    Processing season in Jordan, Drs. P. M. Michele Daviau, Maria-Louise Sidoroff and Margaret Judd

2014    Processing season in Jordan, Dr. Robert Chadwick

2013    Processing season in Jordan, Dr. M. Weigl

2010–2012      Excavation: Full field seasons, 25–50 team members and 17 local workers

2009    Study season. 13 colleagues from the Wadi ath-Thamad Project come to Laurier in June and undertake one week of intensive processing of our field records and our finds and engage in future planning for the next three years. Dr. Maria-Louise Sidoroff, Noor Mulder Hymans and Mechthild Ladurner come to Waterloo in July–August to process Nabataean pottery from Khirbat al-Mudayna and the Regional Survey.

2008    Dr. Steiner comes to Waterloo to study ceramics; C. J. Gohm studies metal weapons from Tall Jawa and Khirbat al-Mudayna ath-Thamad in Near Eastern Archaeology lab in Waterloo

2005    Dr. Daviau receives SSHRC grant

2004‒2008 Field seasons

2003    Field season at WT-13. Dr. Michael Weigl (Catholic U., Washington, DC; currently, University of Vienna) joins team

2002    Study season. Dr. Margreet Steiner receives grant to study Khirbat al-Mudayna pottery in Waterloo, ON

2001    Field season. Dr. Margaret Judd, bioanthropologist (U of Pittsburgh) rejoins team

2000    Study season

1999    Dr. Daviau receives Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant. Dr. Margreet Steiner (Leiden), Dr. Noor Mulder-Hymans (U. of Maastricht) and Ms. Laura Foley join team

1998    Dr. C. M. Foley (U. of Saskatchewan) becomes Survey Director

1997   R. Chadwick (Cégep John Abbot College) becomes Assistant Director. Support from Prof. J. P. J. Olivier (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)

1996‒1999 Field seasons

1996    Wadi ath-Thamad International Project begins; Dr. P.M. Michele Daviau, Project director, J.A. Dearman, (Austin Theological Seminary, Austin, TX), Survey Director

1995    Surface survey at Khirbat al-Mudayna on Wadi ath-Thamad

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