Lahun Back to the key sites map

Khirbat al-Lahun
Denyse Homès-Fredericq

The site of Lahun, 30 km SE of Madaba, has a privileged position on the southeastern plateau of Madaba, dominating the Wadi Mujib. Under the auspices of the Belgian Committee of Excavations in Jordan, excavations occurred periodically from 1977 until 2000. The site is well defined by four different sectors (A-D), inhabited during various periods by sedentary or nomadic families. These archaeological periods have produced the following major finds:

  • Prehistory – The oldest artifacts, from cave dwellers and dating back to 150,000-10,000 BC, including scrapers, chisels, and flakes to manufacture weapons and tools.
  • Early Bronze Age – Wall-fortified citadel of 6 hectare, enclosing a settlement with large olive presses, grinding stones, mortars, small discs for spinning wool, suggesting an agrarian economy.
  • Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age I – Transitional period with a well-planned village surrounded by a precinct wall.
  • Early Iron Age – Fortified settlement consisting of 60 to 100 houses, including the “the Pillar House,” the so-called “Scarab House,” and the “Palette House.”
  • Nabataean Period – Small temple, built of local limestone blocks, and now restored, and the tomb of a woman containing a collection of fine jewelry.
  • Islamic Periods – Early Islamic building with a residential function, later transformed into a caravanserai then a farmstead; also a mosque from Mamluk times.
  • Ottoman Period – Small village founded at the end of the 19 th century whose citizens were ancestors of the present inhabitants.