Hesban in Global History

Polity and
Epicenter Written Sources Archaeological Sources Hesban Architectural and Ceramic Evidence Hesban Iconographic and Epigraphic Evidence Relevant Hesban Strata and other Evidence


Late Bronze to Iron I-IIA (ca. 1500-900 BC)

Amun Temple at Karnak; Hasel 1998); Kitchen (1982; 1992); Redford (1982a; 1982b) Tale of Sinuhe

Arch. Evidence: None

Ceramic Evidence: None

Scarabs, Bes and Horus amulets found in late contexts Strata 21-18 (possible periods of Egyptian presence during the 18th, 19th and 22nd dynasties)


Late Bronze Age


Madaba Plains

Num 20:14-21: 30; 33:37-49; Dt 1-3, 29; Luke (1983); Jahn (2007) Unidentifiable

Arch. Evidence: None

Ceramic Evidence: None

None Stratum 21


Late Bronze Age

Hattusas Num 13:29; Josh 1:4; 11:3 Bones of Indo-Europeans at the Amman Airport Structure; see Herr (1983)

Arch. Evidence: None

Ceramic Evidence: None

None Stratum 21



Iron Age I-IIB

Jerusalem/ Shechem/
Num 32:37; 2 Sam. 8:2-12; 1 Chr 18:2-11; 2 Sam. 10:1-19; 1 Chr 19:1-19; 2 Chr 14:25; Mesha Stele Omride sites north of Arnon Gorge; Finkelstein (2000); Finkelstein and Lipschits  (2010)

Arch. Evidence: Reservoir, Segments of Walls, Podium?

Ceramic Evidence: Storage Jars and Iron II successors; see Herr (1999b)

Female Plaque Strata 21-17 (intermittent)


Iron Age IIB-C

Kir Hareseth/ Dibon Mesha Stele; 2 Kgs 1:1; 3:4-5; 13:20  Is 15:4; 16:8-9; Jer 48; Ray (2003) Dibon, Balu‘a, Khirbet el-Medeineh(s), al-Kerak, Madaba, Jalul

Arch. Evidence: Podium? Replastered reservoir

Ceramic Evidence: Moabite  ceramic forms

Possible Moabite figurine Stratum 17


Iron Age IIB

Damascus 2 Kgs 10:32-33 Tall al- Rumaith  N/A None Stratum 17


Iron Age IIB-C; ca. 733-625 BC

Nimrud, Khorsabad, Nineveh ANET: 282; Bennett (1978; 1982); Bienkowski (2000); Daviau (1997; 2001); Oded (1970); Salje (2009); Weippert (1987) Assyrian influenced building plans at various sites

Arch. Evidence: N/A

Ceramic Evidence:  Assyrian influenced local ware, figurines

None Strata 16-17


Iron Age IIB-C

Rabbath-Ammon Jer 49:1-6; Herr (1999a); Younker (1994; 1999; 2003) Amman Citadel, Tall al-‘Umayri, Tall Jawa

Arch. Evidence: Podium?

Ceramic Evidence: Ammonite ware and forms; Herr (2006)

Ammonite Ostraca and Graffito; Horse and Rider figurines Stratum 16


Iron Age III-Babylonian; ca. 604-540 BC

Babylon Josephus Ant. 10.9.7; Weippert (1987) Nabonidas Relief at Sela’; Herr (1995) N/A Stratum 16


Iron Age III-Persian; 539-333 BC

Persepolis, Susa with Amman as the provincial capital Neh 2:7-19; Ezra 4:10-20; 8:36; Bienkowski (2001; 2008); Ray (2006); Weippert (1987) See sites discussed in Ray (2006)

Arch. Evidence: N/A

Ceramic Evidence: Fish sauce plates

Aramaic Ostraca Stratum 16

Ptolemaic/ Seleucid

Hellenistic; 332-164 BC

Alexandria, Antioch Josephus Ant. 13.15.4 ‘Araq al-Amir, Amman

Arch. Evidence: Acropolis Fortress or Podium, Houses, silos

Ceramic Evidence: N/A

Ostracon, Rhodian Jar Date Stamp Stratum 15 Seleucid and Ptolemaic coins


Hellenistic; 129-63 BC

Jerusalem Josephus Ant.13.9.1, 13.15.5 1 Macc 5:26, 36 Machaerus N/A Hasmonean coins


ca. 4 BC-AD 106

Petra Is 11:14; Ezek 25:9 Petra city and Necropolis  N/A Safaitic burial inscription Nabataean coins


Roman; 63 BC-AD 330

Rome Pliny Natural Hist, Josephus Ant. 13.15.4; 15.8.5 Extremely rich architectural remains e.g.: the Decapolis cities and forts

Arch. Evidence: Temple, Inn with court-yard, Rolling Stone Tomb

Ceramic Evidence: Abundant ceramic evidence,  with Terra sigillata ware

Latin Seal Impression Esbus Coins; Roman Mile stones; stamped Terra sigillatas Strata 11-14
Roman coins
Intaglio depicting Zeus Triad
Fenestrated Bowl


Byzantine; AD 330-664

Constantinople Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum, epistola of Pope Martin, Eusebius, Onomasticon Rich remains: churches and mosaics at Madaba, Um- al Rasas, Amman, Jerash

Arch. Evidence: Basilica-churches, reservoir, mosaics, farm houses at base of tell, cisterns

Ceramic Evidence: Abundant ceramic evidence

Madaba Mosaic Map, Church entablature with Greek inscription, Ostracon Strata 7-11
Byzantine coins, Bronze Crosses
Prometheus bone carving


Early Islamic I; AD 661-750

Damascus Al-Tabari Desert “forts”, Amman

Arch. Evidence: Area N House, oven

Ceramic Evidence: “Palace Ware”

Mosaics at Umm al-Rasas and Ma’in, a possible Kufic inscription, Ostracon Stratum 6, coins, zoomorphic spout


Early Islamic II; ca. AD 750-1000

Baghdad Yaqut; Grabar (1964); Whitcomb (2000) Humayma

Arch. Evidence: Area N House

Ceramic Evidence: Red-painted and red clay cups and bowls and glazed ware

Stratum 5A, coin


Middle Islamic I; ca. AD 970-1200



 Arch. Evidence: N/A

Ceramic Evidence: Continuity of some forms

Stratum 5B


ca. AD 1071-1100

Isfahan  N/A Stratum 5B


AD 1099-1187

Jerusalem al Kerak, Oultrejourdain

Arch. Evidence: N/A

Ceramic Evidence:  Cookpots and glazed imports

Stratum 5B


Middle Islamic IIA; AD 1187-1260



Ibn Shaddad: campsite for Saladin ‘Ajlun Castle  N/A Stratum 4, coins

Early Mamluk

Middle Islamic IIB; AD 1260-1400

Abū al-Fidā’
Ibn Hijji; see also Walker (2001a; 2003; 2004; 2007; 2008; 2011) for entire period

Arch. Evidence: Vaulted building complex: residence and garrison of Balqa governor, medieval village at base of tell

Ceramic Evidence: Sugar pots; elephant ear handled cookpots; HMGP ware

Inscribed bronze bowl Stratum 3A-B, coin hoard, bird figurine

Late Mamluk

Late Islamic I; ca. AD 1400-1500



Ibn Qadi Shuhba al-Qalqashandi and Al-Zāhirī

Arch. Evidence: Gradual abatement of village

Ceramic Evidence: Glazed and painted ware

Stratum 2, coins


Late Islamic II-Modern;
AD 1517-1917

‘Ajarma, ‘Adwān and Beni Sakhr tribes and Ottoman tax registers (“defters”) al-Salt, forts,
Hejaz Railway and stations

Arch. Evidence: Village at base of tell, foundation of Nabulsi qasr; cemetery (see Walker 2001b)

Ceramic Evidence: Coarse wares; Walker (2009)

Stratum 1, clay pipes,  inscribed rings

British Mandate

AD 1917-1946

London British Mandate land registers Tegart Forts

Arch. Evidence: Nabulsi stables

Ceramic Evidence: N/A

Stratum 1



Ma’an, Amman

Arch. Evidence: Municipality development, post office, schools

Ceramic Evidence: N/A

Stratum 1


Column 1






Title or name of empire or power that either controlled or exerted influence over Hesban and the surrounding region

Approximate dates of polity’s presence in the Levant, particularly in Trans-Jordan

Column 2 Epicenter: Seat of power; the capital city or cities of polity
Column 3 Written Sources Relevant historical and epigraphic sources to polity’s control or influence over Hesban and the surrounding region
Column 4 Archaeological Sources Archaeological evidence of polity’s regional presence (attested sites in Trans-Jordan)

Column 5


Architectural Evidence:


Ceramic Evidence:

Archaeological remains relating to or contemporary with polity from Hisban or vicinity

Relevant ceramic evidence from Hisban or vicinity

Column 6 Iconographic Evidence Relevant iconographic and epigraphic evidence from Hisban or vicinity
Column 7 Other Evidence Relevant small finds from Hisban or vicinity


Bennett, Crystal- M.

Some Reflections on Neo-Assyrian Influence in Transjordan.  Pp. 164-71 in Archaeology in the Levant:  Essays for Kathleen Kenyon, eds. Roger Moorey and Peter Parr.  Warminster:  Aris and Phillips.
Neo-Assyrian Influence in Transjordan.  Pp. 181-87 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan I, ed. Adnan Hadidi.  Amman: Department of Antiquities, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Bienkowski, Piotr

Transjordan and Assyria.  Pp. 44-58 in The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond:  Essays in Honor of James A. Sauer, ed. Lawrence E. Stager, Joseph A. Greene, and Michael D. Coogan.  Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant 1.  Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns.
The Iron Age and Persian Periods in Jordan.  Pp. 265-74 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VII.  Amman:  Department of Antiquities, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Persian Period.  Pp. 335-62 in Jordan:  An Archaeological Reader, ed. Russell B. Adams.  London:  Equinox.

Daviau, P. M. Michèle

Technological Change and Assyrian Influence at Tall Jawa, Jordan.  Bulletin of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies 32: 23-32.
Assyrian Influence and Changing Technologies at Tall Jawa, Jordan.  Pp. 214-38 in The Land that I Will Show You:  Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of J. Maxwell Miller, eds. J. Andrew Dearman and M. Patrick Graham.  Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 343.  Sheffield: Sheffield Academic.

Finkelstein, Israel

Omride Architecture.  Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 116: 114-38.

Finkelstein, Israel, and Lipschits, Oded

Omride Architecture in Moab:  Jahaz and Ataroth.  Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 126: 29-42.

Gilmour, Garth, and Kitchen, Kenneth A.

Pharaoh Sety II and Egyptian Political Relations with Canaan at the End of the Late Bronze Age.  Israel Exploration Journal 62: 1-21.

Grabar, Oleg

A Small Episode of Early ‘Abbāsid Times and Some Consequences.  Eretz-Israel 7:  44*-47* (L. A. Mayer Memorial Volume), eds. Michael Avi-Yonah; H. Z. Hirschberg; Benjamin Mazar; and Yigael Yadin.  Jerusalem:  Israel Exploration Society.

Hasel, Michael

Domination and Resistance:  Egyptian Military Activity in the Southern Levant, ca. 1300-1185 B.C.  Probleme Der Agyptologie 11.  Leiden:  Brill.

Herr, Larry G.

The Amman Airport Structure and the Geopolitics of Ancient Transjordan.  Biblical Archaeologist 46: 223-29.
Wine Production in the Hills of Southern Ammon and the Founding of Tall al-‘Umayri in the Sixth Century BC.  Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 39: 121-25.
The Ammonites in the Late Iron Age and Persian Period.  Pp. 219-37 in Ancient Ammon, eds. Burton MacDonald and Randall W. Younker.  Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East 17.  Leiden:  Brill.
Tall al-‘Umayri and the Reubenite Hypothesis.  Eretz-Israel 26: 64*-77* (Frank Moore Cross Volume), eds. Baruch A. Levine; Philip J. King; Joseph Naveh and Ephraim Stern.  Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.
Black-Burnished Ammonite Bowls from Tall al’Umayri and Tall Hisban in Jordan.  Pp. 525-540 in “I Will Speak the Riddles of Ancient Times”:  Archaeological and Historical Studies in Honor of Amihai Mazar, eds. Aren M. Maeir and Pierre de Miroschedji.  Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns.

Jahn, Brit

The Migration and Sedentarization of the Amorites from the Point of View of the Settled Babylonian Population.  Pp. 193-209 in Representations of Political Power:  Case Histories from Times of Change and Dissolving Order in the Ancient Near East, eds. Marlies Heinz and Marian H. Feldman.  Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns.

Kitchen, Kenneth A.

Pharaoh Triumphant:  The Life and Times of Ramesses II, King of Egypt.  Warminster:  Aris & Phillips.
The Egyptian Evidence on Ancient Jordan.  Pp. 21-34 in Early Edom and Moab:  The Beginning of the Iron Age in Southern Jordan, ed. Piotr Bienkowski.  Sheffield Archaeological Monographs, 7.  Sheffield:  J. R. Collis.

Luke, J. Tracy

“Your Father Was an Amorite” (Ezek 16:3, 45):  An Essay on the Amorite Problem in OT Traditions.  Pp. 221-37 in The Quest for the Kingdom of God:  Studies in Honor of George E. Mendenhall, eds. Herbert B. Huffmon, Frank A. Spina, and Alberto R. W. Green.  Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns.

Oded, Bustenay

Observations on Methods of Assyrian Rule in Transjordania after the Palestinian Campaign of Tiglath-Pileser III.  Journal of Near Eastern Studies 29: 177-86.
The Historical Background of the Syro-Ephraimite War Reconsidered.  Catholic Biblical Quarterly 34: 153-165.

Ray, Paul J.

Hesban 6:  Tell Hesban and Vicinity in the Iron Age.  Berrien Springs:  Andrews University.
The Moabites at Tall Hisban.  Pp. 202-18 in Wort und Stein:  Studien zur Theologie und Archäologie Festschrift für Udo Worschech, ed. Friedbert Ninow.  Beiträge zur Erforschung der Antiken Moabitis (Ard El-Kerak) 4.  Frankfurt am Main:  Peter Lang.
Connectivity:  Transjordan during the Persian Period.  Pp. 75-92 in Connectivity in Antiquity:  Globalization as a Long-Term Historical Process, eds. Øystein S. LaBianca and Sandra Arnold Scham.  London:  Equinox.

Redford, Donald B.

Contact between Egypt and Jordan in the New Kingdom:  Some Comments on Sources.  Pp. 115-19 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan I, ed. Adnan Hadidi.  Amman:  Department of Antiquities.
A Bronze Age Itinerary in Transjordan (Nos. 89-101 of Thutmose III’s List of Asiatic Toponyms).  Journal for the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities 12: 55-74.

Salje, Beate

The Kingdoms of Transjordan and the Assyrian Expansion.  Pp. 737-43 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan X, ed. Fawwaz al-Khraysheh. Amman:  Department of Antiquities.

Strange, John

Jordan between Mesopotamia and Egypt in the Bronze and Iron Ages.  Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VIII, ed. Fawwaz al-Khraysheh.  Amman:  Department of Antiquities.

Walker, Bethany J.

Mamluk Administration of Transjordan: Recent Findings from Tall Hisban. al-‘Usur al-Wusta 13.2:  29-33.
The Late Ottoman Cemetery in Field L, Tall Hisban. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 322: 1-19.
Mamluk Investment in Southern Bilad al-Sham in the Fourteenth Century: The Case of Hisban. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 62:  241-61.
Mamluk Investment in the Transjordan: A ‘Boom and Bust’ Economy.  Mamluk Studies Review 8: 119-47.
Transformation of the Agricultural Economy of Late Mamluk Jordan. Mamluk Studies Review 11: 1-27.
The Role of Agriculture in Mamluk-Jordanian Power Relations. Pp. 19-30 in le pouvoir à l’âge des sultanats dans le Bilâd al-Shâm, eds. Bethany J. Walker and Jean-François Salles.  Bulletin d’Études Orientales 57 Supplement.
Identifying the Late Islamic Period Ceramically:  Preliminary Observations on Ottoman Wares from Central and Northern Jordan.  Pp. 37-65 in Reflections of Empire: Archaeological and Ethnographic Studies on the Pottery of the Ottoman Levant, ed. Bethany J. Walker. The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 64.  Boston:  American Schools of Oriental Research.
Jordan in the Late Middle Ages:  Transformation of the Mamluk Frontier.  Chicago:  Middle East Documentation Center.

Weippert, Manfred

The Relations of the States East of the Jordan with the Mesopotamian Powers during the First Millennium BC.  Pp. 97-105 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan III, ed. Adnan Hadidi.  Amman:  Department of Antiquities.

Whitcomb, Donald

Ḥesban, Amman, and Abbasid Archaeology in Jordan.  Pp. 505-15 in The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond:  Essays in Honor of James A. Sauer, ed. Lawrence E. Stager, Joseph A. Greene, and Michael D. Coogan.  Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant 1.  Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns.

Younker, Randall W.

Ammonites.  Pp. 293-316 in Peoples of the Old Testament World, eds. Alfred J. Hoerth, Gerald L. Mattingly and Edwin M. Yamauchi.  Grand Rapids:  Baker.
The Emergence of the Ammonites.  Pp. 189-218 in Ancient Ammon, eds. Burton MacDonald and Randall W. Younker.  Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East 17.  Leiden:  Brill.
The Emergence of Ammon:  A View of the Rise of Iron Age Polities from the Other Side of the Jordan.  Pp. 153-76 in The Near East in the Southwest:  Essays in Honor of William G. Dever, ed. Beth Alpert Nakhai.  The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 58.  Boston:  ASOR.

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