Saturday, July 14, 2007

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site VIII, St. Stephen's Church and Kestron Mefaa

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site I~ Tell Al'Umeiri
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site II~ Ataroth
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site III~Machaerus
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site IV~ Khirbet Iskander
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site V~Dibon
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site VI~Aroer
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site VII~Um Ar Rasas, Burj Sa'man

Leaving Burj Sa'man, we traveled by car, through a "road" of fine, powder-like dust, to the entrance of St. Stephen's church. The short journey left our vehicles looking like they had just exited a dust car-wash.

Dated at 785 AD, St. Stephen's church, and the mosaic floor for which it is visited, was built after Islam was established in the region.

The center area of the mosaic floor boasts what were once lovely hunting, fishing and pastoral scenes. Unfortunately, the iconoclasts defaced many of the human and animal figures in the mosaic.



Left intact, however, were the frames bordering the center area, depicting the cities of the region. The south row, shown in part below, shows seven Jordanian cities: Kestron Mefaa (Um Ar Rasas), Philadephia (Amman), Madaba (still, Madaba, one of oldest cities mentioned in the Bible and still a thriving city), Esbounta (Hesban), Belemounta (Mai'in), Areopolis (Rabba), and CharachMouba (Kerak). Frames from other parts of the border depict cities of Palestine and Egypt.


From top: Kestron Mefaa (Um Ar Rasas), Philadelphia (Amman), and Madaba

Now mostly ancient rubble with a few intact arches, the ruins at Um Ar' Rasas were once part of the Roman garrison city of Kestron Meffa, city which continued to thrive in the Byzantine and Omayyad periods.



Ruins of Kestron Mefaa


Despite the long day and the warm temperatures, the kids are still smiling.

1 comment:

MagistraCarminae said...

Fascinating, M!

Chris in NM