The Archaeology and History of Jerash: 110 Years of Excavations
Achim Lichtenberger (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), Rubina Raja (Aarhus University)
Berichtszeitraum: Frühgeschichte / Antike
110 years ago, in 1907, the first excavations were undertaken in Jerash. It was the beginning of an intensive and continuous period of research in this major city of the Decapolis. Large-scale excavations were undertaken in the 1920s and 1930s after the institution of the mandate. These were followed by several international projects, most nameworthy the large initiative begun in the late 1970s, Jerash Archaeological Project. From the outset of excavations within the urban space of Jerash, the Greco-Roman city Gerasa with its public monuments along the cardo was one of the foci. Furthermore, Christian churches found special interest in the early years as well as in later periods. In the last decennia, research interests have shifted, moving away from the large public monuments to the areas beyond the city centre and chronological focus left behind the classical and early Christian periods and encompassed the later periods, in particular the Early and Middle Islamic periods. Also, the restoration and preservation of the monuments and the presentation to the public have become important issues but also challenges. These changed interests reflect current questions of archaeology, which have intensified the view of long-term transformations and the transitional periods as well as relations between city and hinterland. In order to move the understanding of the development of Jerash forward, it is necessary to bring together researchers who have worked in Jerash over the last decades. Such a communal effort will bring the contextualisation of this important site further within a local, regional as well as wider framework of the Hellenistic, Roman, Islamic and Medieval worlds. It is important to view Jerash as a case study of a major city in the Levant and to further understand its place in cultural history. Therefore, a programme reflecting the research undertaken in Jerash over the last decades has been put together by the organisers in order to facilitate fruitful dialogue between the various missions working in Jerash earlier and today.