Geoarchaeology of Jerash

Genevieve Holdridge works on a project examining the geoarchaeology of the large Greco-Roman city Jerash, ancient Gerasa, in the semi-arid environment of northern Jordan. The present city of Jerash is the location of one of the major Roman urban centres of the Syrian Decapolis. The city was continuously occupied from the Hellenistic period to the Umayyad period (2nd century BC to 8th century AD). The city is located along the Wadi- Dayr, which feeds into the Zarqa River. The area is affected by the tectonic activity of the Dead Sea Rift zone. During the city’s long occupation, various structures were built to manage surface water, and slopes were managed by constructing terraces on and off site. The long history of the city was partially enabled by food and water security, though more research is needed to understand land and water use. The urban and extraurban fluvial record along the Wadi Dayr has been studied in order to better understand urban adaptation and environmental impact of on- and off-site water and land management. By embracing an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates archaeological, paleoclimatic and geomorphological information, the aim is to discern natural and anthropogenic influences on land and water management.

PI: Professor Achim Lichtenberger (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Professor Rubina Raja (Aarhus University).  

Investigator: Postdoc Genevieve Holdridge