Second to Fourth Century Structures from Hawara's Vicus: Interim Report on Field E121 at Humayma

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Babbitt, Ian
Classics , Archaeology , Roman
After over 20 years of excavation at Humayma, ancient Hawara, in southern Jordan, an immense spectrum of occupation has become evident, particularly from the Nabataean period in the first century BCE to the early Islamic period in the eighth century CE. This study of Field E121 focuses on three structures uncovered in the Roman period vicus, the civilian settlement adjacent to the Roman fort: a built platform, a stone structure and an animal pen. These structures suggest occupation from the second to fourth century CE, north of the known vicus center and west of the Roman fort. Prior to this study, E121 had not been published although excavation was conducted on it in 1995. As a result, this study is the presentation and interpretation of all material relating to the previous excavation as well as the recently conducted 2008 excavation season. This thesis is a discussion of the excavation, phasing and possible functions of each structure and of how they fit into the greater local vicus context. E121 was chosen for excavation after a 13 year hiatus because numismatic and ceramic evidence all pointed to a later construction in this northern sector of the vicus, which made it unique among the known vicus structures. The fourth century CE has been largely unrepresented in the vicus’ archaeological record making E121 important for gathering data concerning civilian and military interactions during the Early Byzantine period. Excavations at E121, despite heavy deterioration, reuse and robbing of its structures, have produced a wide array of cultural material relating to fourth century CE as well as the earlier vicus occupation. This evidence partially fills in the gap of fourth century CE occupation at the site and has provided new direction for future fourth century CE vicus excavation efforts. More specifically, E121 produced evidence for Roman construction in the vicus through the platform, stone architecture through the adjacent structure and a possible first indication of site orientation related to the Nabataean period.
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