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AILA QUAKE

1st half of 4th century CE

by Jefferson Williams









Introduction & Summary

Thomas et al (2007) uncovered earthquake damage to Late Roman/Early Byzantine structures in Aila which they dated between ca. 320 CE and 363 CE. There are no known textual accounts of an earthquake during this time although there is a mysterious and quite possibly false report of a tsunami in the Dead Sea in 315 CE (see Notes for details).

Textual Evidence

Ambraseys (1962) and Antonopolous (1979) report a tsunami in the Dead Sea in 315 AD based on reports in difficult to find sources. Ambraseys (1962) suspects the tsunami was actually in Lake Van in Armenian Turkey in 344 or 345 AD and he is probably correct (see Notes for details). Both authors assign a Tsunami Intensity of III.

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Archeoseismic evidence is summarized below

Location Status Intensity Comments
Aqaba/Eilat - Introduction n/a n/a
Aqaba - Aila definitive ≥ 8
Masada possible ≥ 8 Damaging Earthquake dated to 2nd-4th centuries. Masada may be subject to seismic amplification due to a topographic or ridge effect as well as a slope effect for those structures built adjacent to the site's steep cliffs.
Petra - Introduction n/a n/a
Petra - Petra Theater possible ≥ 8 Major Collapse - high levels of local intensity indicated - likely due to southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE
Petra - Khubtha Cliff possible based on abandonment - archeoseismic evidence not presented
Petra - Wadi Sabra Theater possible ≥ 8 dated to 2nd to 3rd century and no later than the 3rd century
Petra - Jabal Khubthah possible ≥ 8 difficulties dating
Petra - Qasr Bint possible ≥ 8 dated to 3rd-4th centuries CE. Excavators think it was probably caused by southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE.
Petra - Jabal Harun possible ≥ 8
Haluza possible ≥ 8
Mampsis possible ≥ 8 Korzhenkov and Mazor (2003) characterized this as a strong earthquake with an epicenter at the north, and an EMS-98 scale intensity of IX or more with an epicenter some distance away

Kamai and Hatzor and Kamai and Hatzor (2007) estimate Intensity of ~7 - 8 based on DDA of a dropped keystone in an arch in Mampsis.
Khirbet Tannur possible 5-8 Seismic damage due to the "further" earthquake of McKenzie et al (2013) could have been caused by the Aila Quake
el-Lejjun possible ≥ 7 based on one room (A.13) chock-full of tile fragments


Aqaba/Eilat

Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Aqaba Arabic العقبة
al-ʿAqaba Arabic variant
al-ʿAgaba Arabic variant
ʿaqabat Aylah 12th century Arabic عقبة آيلة
Ayla Arabic آيلا
Aela Latin
Aila Latin
Ailana Latin
Haila Latin
Aila Byzantine Greek Άιλα
Berenice Ancient Greek Βερενίκη
Elath Ancient Semitic
Ailath Ancient Semitic
Ezion-Geber Hebrew עֶצְיֹן גֶּבֶר
Transliterated Name Source Name
Eilat Hebrew אֵילַת
Ilat Arabic إِيلَات
Umm al-Rashrāsh Arabic أم الرشراش
Introduction

Aqaba, located at the northern terminus of the Gulf of Aqaba has a long history of habitation punctuated by episodes of abandonment and decline. It's strategic location as the nearest port town to the copper mines of the Araba Valley made it a regional hub for copper production (smelting) and trade as evidenced at the Chalcolithic sites of Tall Hujayrat Al-Ghuzlan and Tall Al-Magass Klimscha (2011). The Hebrew Bible (e.g. 1 Kings 9:26-28 and 2 Chronicles 8:17-18) mentions nearby Elath and Ezion Geber as ports of departure for Solomon's merchant fleet to Ophir ( S. Thomas Parker and Donald S. Whitcomb in Meyers et al, 1997). According to the same Hebrew Bible, Eilat was later conquered by the Edomites in the late eighth century BCE (2 Kings 16:6). Nelson Glueck excavated the site of Tell el-Kheleifeh thinking it was Solomon's port city but subsequent work on the site suggests that this is not the case. Before the Roman annexation in 106 CE, Aqaba was a Nabatean port. In Roman and Byzantine times, the port was known as Aila. The town surrendered to the Muslims during the Muslim conquest of the Levant, and eventually a new Muslim town (Ayla) was built just outside the city walls of Byzantine Aila (aka Ailana) (Whitcomb, 1994).

The modern Israeli city of Eilat, named for ancient Elath, lies across the border from the Jordanian city of Aqaba.

Aila

Tilted Walls at Aila Jordan (southern Cyril Quake) Wall Collapse at Aila Jordan (southern Cyril Quake) Left - Tilted South Wall of Room 2 at Aila J-East

Right - Normal Faulting of a wall at Aila J-East

photos by Jefferson Williams


Introduction

Aila (aka Ailana) was the name of the Roman Byzantine town in Aqaba .

Chronology

Thomas et al (2007) excavated and examined area J-east between 1994 and 2003. The J-East area is a multiphase site incorporating Early Islamic to Byzantine domestic occupation and a late third to fourth-century monumental mudbrick structure that has been interpreted as a church (Parker 1998a; 1999a; Mussell 2001; Rose 1998; Weintraub 1999) ( Thomas et al, 2007). This site, in the Roman-Byzantine town of Aila, is located ~500 m north of the modern shoreline of Aqaba and ~500 m NW of the Islamic town of Ayla . Thomas et al (2007) identified 6 or 7 earthquakes from the 2nd century CE onward in J-east and divided up the timing as follows:



Earthquake I - after mid to late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. They described Earthquake II as follows:
The youngest earthquake (Earthquake I) recorded at this site ruptured faults very close to the modern ground surface.

...

The fault rupture of Earthquake I was capped by sand and disturbed modern car park construction deposits, thus preventing finer dating than post—mid to late eighth century.

Earthquake II - Abbasid - after mid to late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. They described Earthquake II as follows:
These deposits were ruptured and the buildings collapsed.

...

The pottery within layers capping Earthquake II is earlier than that found in the occupation deposit beneath it. These data suggest that Earthquake II occurred after the mid to late eighth century A.D..

Earthquake III - Umayyad/Abassid - mid 7th - late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

and described chronology as follows:
The fault rupture was capped by a later occupation dating to the mid to late eighth century. This dates Earthquake III between the mid seventh to mid, or possibly late, eighth century.
Since Earthquake IV was dated to the 7th and possibly 8th century and was likely due to one of the 7th century earthquakes (e.g. Sign of the Prophet Quake (613-624 CE), Sword in the Sky Quake (634 CE), or Jordan Valley Quake (659/660 CE) ), this suggests that Earthquake III was caused by one of the mid 8th century CE earthquakes.

Earthquake IV - Umayyad - 7th - 8th centuries CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. They identified earthquake destruction (Earthquake IV) in a collapse layer which they suggested struck in the early to middle 7th century CE.
The pottery constrains the date of Earthquake IV to sometime between the seventh century and the mid seventh to eighth century. In this case, an early to middle seventh-century date would best fit the dating evidence.

Earthquake V - Early Byzantine - 363 CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. They identified earthquake destruction (Earthquake V) in a collapse layer which they dated to the southern Cyril Quake. A terminus post quem of 360 CE for Earthquake V was established with coins and pottery.
Thin wall construction and surface layers produced pottery from the mid to late fourth century A.D. (similar types to Phase 2 described earlier). The latest pottery dates from about A.D. 360 onward (based on several examples of African Red Slip form 67, introduced ca. A.D. 360; Hayes 1972). However, over 100 coins were found on the final floor of this phase. The majority of these coins were found associated with the remains of a broken box in Room 2. The latest coins date to the reign of Constantius II who reigned from A.D. 337 to 361 (Parker 1999a) and provide a terminus post quem for this building phase.
They added
The very refined pottery and coin dates give a secure post A.D. 360 date for the Earthquake V event. The scarcity of post A.D. 360 pottery and the location of the coin hoard at the interface between occupation surface and collapse horizon indicate that this event cannot have occurred long after A.D. 360. We have interpreted this earthquake to be the historically attested earthquake of May 19, A.D. 363 (Russell 1980; Guidoboni 1994: 264-67).

Earthquake VI - 1st half of 4th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. They identified earthquake destruction (Earthquake VI) in a collapse layer which they dated to the 4th century but before the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE. In describing the Phase 2 layer below the collapse layer they provided a terminus post quem of ca. 320 CE
During the early fourth century, the monumental building was expanded and concluded with the final addition of Rooms 11 and 12 constructed after ca. A.D. 320. The upper sequences of floors contained Early Byzantine pottery of the mid to late fourth century.
The terminus ante quem is 363 CE when the southern Cyril Quake is presumed to have created the damage observed in Earthquake V.
This seismic event must have occurred at some point in the mid to late fourth century A.D. but before the final extensive collapse of the complex in Earthquake V [363 CE].

Earthquake VII - Nabatean/Early Roman - Early 2nd century CE

Thomas et al (2007) produced a schematic of a composite columnar stratigraphic section for the deposits of the J-east site in Figure 3

. Earthquake VII was dated to the second century CE from Nabatean pottery found in the collapse layer and the layer below. There is a question whether the collapse layer was caused by human agency or earthquake destruction. The Romans annexed Nabatea in 106 CE and the authors noted that there is debate about the degree of Nabataean resistance to the annexation that might have resulted in destruction by human agency in this period (Bowersock 1983: 78-82; Parker 1986: 123-24; Fiema 1987; Freeman 1996). Nonetheless, Thomas et al (2007) noted that a complete section of collapsed wall might suggest earthquake destruction.

Seismic Effects

Earthquake I - after mid to late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) described archeoseismic evidence in Area J-east as follows:

The youngest earthquake (Earthquake I) recorded at this site ruptured faults very close to the modern ground surface.

...

Earthquake I ruptured Faults F and H. We measured a total displacement of 35 cm southwest dip-slip in figure 5C, with little or no apparent strike-slip. These faults trend more toward the west (N12°W and N34°W) than the fault rupture in previous earthquakes (ca. 10° more than II to III, and ca. 20° more than the Byzantine Earthquakes V to VI).
Plan of Area J-east
Figure 5C

Earthquake II - Abbasid - after mid to late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) described archeoseismic evidence in Area J-east as follows:

These deposits were ruptured and the buildings collapsed. Slip on Fault A produced a left-lateral strike-slip of 5 cm on Wall J.1:26, and Faults A and E caused an accumulated southwest dip-slip of 42 cm (measured in fig. 5C). Wall collapse was minor despite the obvious energy of the earthquake.
Plan of Area J-east
Figure 5C

Earthquake III - Umayyad/Abassid - mid 7th - late 8th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) described archeoseismic evidence in Area J-east as follows:

This major event shows rupture along four fault strands (B, C, F, and G), all within the same fault corridor. Faults G and F were clearly visible cutting post monumental building tumble in the [Roman Aqaba Project] RAP 2002 excavations of J.29 in Room 13.
Fault B caused left-lateral slip on Wall J.1:26 of only 4 cm . However, the dip-slip for all four faults measured in Section 3 was 54 cm, suggesting a major event.
Earthquake III can also be seen in Section C of the south baulk of J-1 in Figure 5 (Faults B, C, F and G).

Plan of Area J-east
Figure 5C

Earthquake IV - Umayyad - 7th - 8th centuries CE

Thomas et al (2007) described archeoseismic evidence in Area J-east as follows:

Measured in Section C (fig. 5), Earthquake IV caused 12 cm of dip-slip across Fault D and up to 30 cm of lateral motion on Wall J.1.53. However, since Fault D also slipped in Earthquakes V and VI and appears to have caused more severe structural damage, strike-slip is probably minimal in this event.

...

Earthquake IV probably caused the collapse of the long-abandoned domestic structures.
Plan of Area J-east
Figure 5 Section C

Earthquake V - Early Byzantine - 363 CE

Thomas et al (2007) described seismic effects from Earthquake V in J-East as follows:

The monumental building appears to have been violently shaken in Earthquake V. This is a more severe reactivation of Faults C and D but occurs along a slightly different rupture plane (through the Room 20 north wall - see Fig. 4) than during EQ VI. The amount of fault slip in this earthquake must exceed 23 cm of dip-slip (measured in sections A and B, fig. 5). Where Fault D shifted Wall J.1:53, a maximum of 30 cm of left-lateral strike-slip was measured. This slip is shared by reactivation in Earthquake IV and the previous Earthquake VI (discussed above). The collapse layer for Earthquake V exceeds 90 cm in places. The tumble is more evenly distributed throughout the site than was the case for the earlier Earthquake VI, with a bias to the north side of collapsing walls. This thick collapse horizon across the site suggests Earthquake V was stronger in intensity compared with Earthquake VI. The majority of the lateral slip across Fault D is likely to have occurred predominantly in Earthquake V (but also moves in Earthquakes VI and IV).
Plan of Area J-east
Figure 4
Figure 5 - Sections A and B

Earthquake VI - 1st half of 4th century CE

Thomas et al (2007) described seismic effects from Earthquake VI in J-East as follows:

The monumental mudbrick structure experienced fault rupture and collapse of some walls, producing a tumble horizon. The southern wall of Room 13 was ruptured by Fault D and the northern wall of Room 21 by Fault C. This tectonic shift caused substantial localized damage. Earthquake VI produced a total of 10 cm of left-lateral strike-slip measured across Fault C on Wall J.1:26, north of Room 21. This damage from the fault was repaired after Earthquake VI. The strike-slip of Fault D in EQ VI could not be measured because Fault D reactivated in subsequent Earthquakes V and IV. The total strike-slip measured along Wall J.1:53 is 30 cm. Since there was no repair to the wall, this suggests that the majority of the slip was caused by EQ VI. Similarly, the dip-slip could not be directly measured, but later releveling of the southwest corner of the monumental building indicates subsidence did occur. Elsewhere on the site, damage appears not to have been quite as severe, but seismically induced wall failures were repaired in the subsequent occupation phase.
Plan of Area J-east

Earthquake VII - Nabatean/Early Roman - Early 2nd century CE

Thomas et al (2007) described seismic effects of Earthquake VII as follows:

These occupation deposits [Phase 0] were subsequently covered by a very thick layer of mudbrick collapse which contained whole or partial bricks visible in the section. The collapse dents the surfaces beneath, indicating a violent fall of the structures. Excavated in the RAP 2002 season, these layers were found to be in excess of 1 m in thickness.
...
No rupture for this possible earthquake (EQ VII) was documented in the present study because of the limited areas excavated to this depth (about 2 mast). Furthermore, subsequent building and reuse of the surviving walls have appreciably masked the original geometry.
Plan of Area J-east

At another site in Aila ( Area B ), Dolinka (2003:32) found that some structures exhibited inwardly collapsed walls and/or tumbled-over mudbricks (Fig. 14 ) which was attributed to earthquake destruction. 89

Intensity Estimates

Earthquake I - after mid to late 8th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps 35 cm southwest dip-slip VII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence 35 cm southwest dip-slip VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VII (7) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) however as so many structures at the now long abandoned site had already collapsed, there is limited archaeoseismic evidence and this is likely an under estimate. A minimum Intensity of VIII (8) is more likely. On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312) and dip slip movement averaging 35 cm. also suggests a Moment Magnitude MW of 6.5 (see Calculator below).

Earthquake II - Abbasid - after mid to late 8th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps Faults A and E caused an accumulated southwest dip-slip of 42 cm. VII +
Displaced Walls Faults A and E caused an accumulated southwest dip-slip of 42 cm. VII +
Minor Wall Collapse VIII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence Faults A and E caused an accumulated southwest dip-slip of 42 cm. VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) . On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312) while dip slip movement averaging 42 cm. suggests a Moment Magnitude MW of 6.5 (see Calculator below). Strike-Slip movement of 5 cm. suggests a lower Moment Magnitude MW of 5.9 however given the obvious energy of the earthquake described by Thomas et al (2007), the 42 cm. of dip slip and the general rule of Mcalpin (2009:312), Moment Magnitude MW is likely at least 6.5. The limited strike-slip and significant dip slip may just suggests a different stress regime.

Earthquake III - Umayyad/Abassid - mid 7th - late 8th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps dip-slip for all four faults measured in Section 3 was 54 cm. VII +
Displaced Walls dip-slip for all four faults measured in Section 3 was 54 cm.
Figure 4 Walls J.1.26 Fault C and J.1.48 Fault F
VII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence dip-slip for all four faults measured in Section 3 was 54 cm. VI +
Conjugate Fractures in walls
made of either stucco or bricks
Figure 4 Wall J.1.26 Fault C
V +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VII (7) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) . However, since Thomas et al (2007) describe this as a major event and dip slip is 54 cm., I am going to upgrade minimum Intensity to VIII (8). On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312) while dip slip movement averaging 54 cm. suggests a Moment Magnitude MW of 6.6 (see Calculator below).

Earthquake IV - Umayyad - 7th - 8th centuries CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps dip-slip VII +
Displaced Walls VII +
Collapsed Walls VIII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) however since the site was abandoned at the time, the walls may have been weakened. Since Thomas et al (2007) estimated that earthquakes V (S. Cyril Quake) and VI (Aila Quake) were more energetic at the site and an Intensity of VIII (8) was estimated for these earthquakes, it seems prudent to downgrade the intensity estimate one count to VII (7). On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312). 12 cm. of dip-slip movement suggests a Moment Magnitude Mw between 6.0 and 6.2. 10 cm. of strike-slip movement also suggests a Moment Magnitude Mw between 6.0 and 6.2. while the upper limit of 30 cm. of strike-slip movement suggests a maximum Moment Magnitude Mw between 6.4 and 6.6 (see Calculator below).

Earthquake V - Early Byzantine - 363 CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps dip-slip VII +
Tilted Walls VI +
Displaced Walls VII +
Collapsed Walls VIII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) . On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312) while dip slip movement greater than 23 cm. suggests a minimum Moment Magnitude MW of 6.4 and maximum strike-slip movement of 30 cm. suggests a Moment Magnitude MW of 6.4 (see Calculator below).

Earthquake VI - 1st half of 4th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fault Scarps dip-slip VII +
Displaced Walls VII +
Collapsed Walls VIII +
Seismic Uplift/Subsidence VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) . On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312). 10-30 cm. of strike-slip movement suggests a Moment Magnitude Mw between 6.0 and 6.6 (see Calculator below).

Earthquake VII - Nabatean/Early Roman - Early 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Impact Block Marks Area J-east V +
Collapsed Walls Complete section of collapsed wall in Area J-east
Inwardly collapsed walls and/or tumbled-over mudbricks in Area B
VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Calculators

Normal Fault Displacement

Source - Wells and Coppersmith (1994)

Variable Input Units Notes
cm.
cm.
m/s Enter a value of 655 for no site effect
Equation comes from Darvasi and Agnon (2019)
Variable Output - not considering a Site Effect Units Notes
unitless Moment Magnitude for Avg. Displacement
unitless Moment Magnitude for Max. Displacement
Variable Output - Site Effect Removal Units Notes
unitless Reduce Intensity Estimate by this amount
to get a pre-amplification value of Intensity
  

Strike-Slip Fault Displacement

Source - Wells and Coppersmith (1994)

Variable Input Units Notes
cm. Strike-Slip displacement
cm. Strike-Slip displacement
Variable Output - not considering a Site Effect Units Notes
unitless Moment Magnitude for Avg. Displacement
unitless Moment Magnitude for Max. Displacement
  

Site Effect Explanation

The value given for Intensity with site effect removed is how much you should subtract from your Intensity estimate to obtain a pre-amplification value for Intensity. For example if the output is 0.5 and you estimated an Intensity of 8, your pre-amplification Intensity is now 7.5. An Intensity estimate with the site effect removed is helpful in producing an Intensity Map that will do a better job of "triangulating" the epicentral area. If you enter a VS30 greater than 655 m/s you will get a positive number, indicating that the site amplifies seismic energy. If you enter a VS30 less than 655 m/s you will get a negative number, indicating that the site attenuates seismic energy rather than amplifying it. Intensity Reduction (Ireduction) is calculated based on Equation 6 from Darvasi and Agnon (2019).

VS30 Explanation

VS30 is the average seismic shear-wave velocity from the surface to a depth of 30 meters at earthquake frequencies (below ~5 Hz.). Darvasi and Agnon (2019) estimated VS30 for a number of sites in Israel. If you get VS30 from a well log, you will need to correct for intrinsic dispersion. There is a seperate geometric dispersion correction usually applied when processing the waveforms however geometric dispersion corrections are typically applied to a borehole Flexural mode generated from a Dipole source and for Dipole sources propagating in the first 30 meters of soft sediments, modal composition is typically dominated by the Stoneley wave. Shear from Stoneley estimates are approximate at best. This is a subject not well understood and widely ignored by the Geotechnical community and/or Civil Engineers but understood by a few specialists in borehole acoustics. Other considerations will apply if you get VS30 value from a cross well survey or a shallow seismic survey where the primary consideration is converting shear slowness from survey frequency to Earthquake frequency. There are also ways to estimate shear slowness from SPT & CPT tests.

Notes and Further Reading

References

Masada

Aerial View of Masada Aerial View of Masada looking south. In the foreground is the northern section discussed by Netzer (1991)

Wikipedia - Andrew Shivta - SA 4.0


Names

Transliterated Name Language Name
Masada Hebrew מצדה
Hebrew מִדְבַּר יְהוּדָה
Arabic صحراء يهودا
Hamesad Aramaic
Marda Byzantine Greek
Masada Latin
Introduction

According to Josephus (in his book The Jewish War), the fortress at Masada was first built in Hasmonean times. Afterwards, King Herod built or rebuilt both a fortress and a refuge on the site. Masada's location, a veritable island atop steep walled cliffs, made it almost impregnable - until the Romans arrived. Again, according to Josephus, during the first Jewish war against Rome, the "Zealots" commandeered the fortress and were the last holdouts in that war when they collectively committed mass suicide rather than be taken captive in the spring of 74 CE. Afterwards, the Romans stationed a garrison on the site. The Romans eventually moved on and later a Byzantine Church and monastery were built there (Stern et al, 1993).
After that, it was left abandoned and desolate until modern times. . Masada may be subject to seismic amplification due to a topographic or ridge effect as well as a slope effect for those structures built adjacent to the site's steep cliffs.

Chronology

Netzer (1991:xv) supplied a list of the main periods of activity.
Period Start Date End Date Comments
Hasmonean The phase of Masada's existence about which very little is known as yet
Early Herodian building phase ca. 37 BCE ca. 30 BCE the proposed datessubdividing the Herodian period are tentative
Main Herodian building phase ca. 30 BCE ca. 20 BCE
Late Herodian building phase ca. 20 BCE ca. 4 BCE The reign of Archelaus (4 BCE -6 CE), Herod's son, should, for all practical purposes, be included in the Herodian period.
Procurators 6 CE 66 CE from the year 6 CE (the end of Archelaus' reign) to 66 CE, the year of Masada's occupation by the Zealots. This period includes the brief reign of Agrippa I in Judea from 41-44 CE.
Zealots 66 CE 73 CE from the arrival of the Zealots in 66 CE to the site's destruction ca. 73 CE
Post-Zealot 73 CE the occupation of Masada by the Roman garrison after it's destruction in ca. 73 CE
Byzantine during which Masada was occupied by a monastic community
Yadin (1965:30) indicates that the Byzantine occupation occurred after the earthquakes.
1st century BCE Earthquake

Although Karcz, Kafri, and Meshel (1977), listed Tilted walls, aligned fallen masonry, cracks, and collapse at Masada due to shocks in the 1st century BC and later, the 1st century BC part of this was rescinded in Karcz (2004) stating that the archeological evidence for the 31 BCE Josephus Quake is tenuous at best and Netzer (1991, 1997) in his detailed analysis of architectural complexes of Masada states that the signs of a possible seismic damage there are much later than 31 B.C.. Netzer (1991) only mentioned one earthquake between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE.

2nd - 4th century CE Earthquake

Netzer (1991:655) reports that a great earthquake [] destroyed most of the walls on Masada sometime during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE.

In an earlier publication, Yadin (1965:30) noted that the Caldarium was filled as a result of earthquakes by massive debris of stones. Yadin concluded that the finds on the floors of the bath-house represent the last stage in the stay of the Roman garrison at Masada. The stationing of a Roman Garrison after the conquest of Masada in 73 or 74 CE was reported by Josephus in his Book The Jewish War where he says in Book VII Chapter 10 Paragraph 1

WHEN Masada was thus taken, the general left a garrison in the fortress to keep it, and he himself went away to Caesarea; for there were now no enemies left in the country, but it was all overthrown by so long a war.
Yadin (1965:36)'s evidence for proof of the stationing of the Roman garrison follows:
We have clear proof that the bath-house was in use in the period of the Roman garrison - in particular, a number of "vouchers" written in Latin and coins which were found mainly in the ash waste of the furnace (locus 126, see p. 42). Of particular importance is a coin from the time of Trajan, found in the caldarium, which was struck at Tiberias towards the end of the first century C.E.*
The latest coin discovered from this occupation phase was found in one of the northern rooms of Building VII and dates to 110/111 CE (Yadin, 1965:119)**. Yadin (1965:119) interpreted this to mean that, this meant that the Roman garrison stayed at Masada at least till the year 111 and most probably several years later. Russell (1985) used this 110/111 coin as a terminus post quem for the Incense Road Earthquake while using a dedicatory inscription at Petra for a terminus ante quem of 114 CE.

*Yadin (1965:118) dated this coin to 99/100 CE - This would be coin #3808 - Plate 77 - Locus 104 - Caldrium 104 - Square 228/F/3

**perhaps this is coin #3786 which dates to 109/110 CE - Plate 77 - Locus 157 - Building 7 Room 157 - Square 208/A/10

Seismic Effects
2nd - 4th century CE Earthquake

Potential Seismic Effects

Location Source Date Effect(s)
Room 162 in the SW corner of Building No. 7 Netzer (1991:24)
  • The rock ceiling of a cisternpresumably collapsed in an earthquake pulling down much of the floor of the room above. The surviving features of the room probably date to the Zealot period
Storeroom Complex Netzer (1991:39)
  • The Storeroom Complex, more than any other part of Masada, [] provided the most graphic evidence - even before excavation had begun - of the earthquake that destroyed most of the walls of Masada.
  • In Storerooms 131 and 132, for example, one can actually count six or seven fallen courses
  • In Storeroom 131 on top of the debris one can discern some seven fallen courses, most probably collapsed from the western wall. The other unexcavated storerooms reveal a similar picture
Tepidarium 9 Netzer (1991:166)
  • The tepidarium was full of debris from the upper story, including fragments of a Corinthian capital painted in white and gilt. Owing to the pressure of the debris (perhaps also because of an earthquake), the eastern wall of the room was found leaning on its side
Caldarium Netzer (1991:88-89)
  • The caldarium was roofed over by a stone barrel-vaulted ceiling boasting the largest span of any vault or arch on Masada — 6.7 m. The remains of this vault were found mostly in the rubble cleared from the room; in a few cases whole courses of the vault fell en bloc, without disintegrating (see Ill. 145 ). The vault apparently collapsed during the violent earthquake that wreaked havoc with the buildings on Masada.
Columbarium Tower 725 Netzer (1991:372)
  • The tower was ruined either gradually or as a result of some catastrophe, such as an earthquake, with the beams of the ceilings falling to the floor.
Cistern 1063 - Northwestern section of casemate wall Netzer (1991:391)
  • After the ceiling had collapsed (presumably in an earthquake), debris and earth filled the entire cistern. In the debris the excavators found stones from the vault, as well as various architectural elements such as column drums and cornices. The debris also contained a large quantity of material finds. Altogether 15 coins were found in this cistern.
  • JW: Possible Slope effect as this is adjacent to a very steep slope
Room (Tower) 1260 - Southwestern section of casemate wall Netzer (1991:453-454)
  • The room contained an enormous amount of debris, consisting of large stones, up to a height of some 3.0 m above floor level. At a level of ca. 1.0 m above the floor parts of a human skeleton were uncovered, consisting mainly of the skull and legs. Theoretically speaking, these could be the remains of a person who happened to be on Masada during the earthquake that caused the most extensive destruction on the mount.
Walls of Masada Netzer (1991:655)
  • The great earthquake which destroyed most of the walls of Masada sometime during the second to fourth centuries.

Intensity Estimates
2nd - 4th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls
  • The Storeroom Complex, more than any other part of Masada, [] provided the most graphic evidence - even before excavation had begun - of the earthquake that destroyed most of the walls of Masada.
  • In Storerooms 131 and 132, for example, one can actually count six or seven fallen courses
  • In Storeroom 131 on top of the debris one can discern some seven fallen courses, most probably collapsed from the western wall. The other unexcavated storerooms reveal a similar picture
VIII +
Collapsed Walls The tepidarium was full of debris from the upper story, including fragments of a Corinthian capital painted in white and gilt. VIII +
Fallen columns The tepidarium was full of debris from the upper story, including fragments of a Corinthian capital painted in white and gilt. V +
Penetrative fractures in masonry blocks the eastern wall of the room [Tepidarium 9] was found leaning on its side VI +
Collapsed Vaults The caldarium was roofed over by a stone barrel-vaulted ceiling boasting the largest span of any vault or arch on Masada — 6.7 m. The remains of this vault were found mostly in the rubble cleared from the room; in a few cases whole courses of the vault fell en bloc, without disintegrating (see Ill. 145 ). The vault apparently collapsed during the violent earthquake that wreaked havoc with the buildings on Masada. VIII +
Collapsed Walls The room contained an enormous amount of debris, consisting of large stones, up to a height of some 3.0 m above floor level. At a level of ca. 1.0 m above the floor parts of a human skeleton were uncovered, consisting mainly of the skull and legs. Theoretically speaking, these could be the remains of a person who happened to be on Masada during the earthquake that caused the most extensive destruction on the mount. VIII +
Collapsed Walls The great earthquake which destroyed most of the walls of Masada sometime during the second to fourth centuries. VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) . Masada may be subject to seismic amplification due to a topographic or ridge effect as well as a slope effect for those structures built adjacent to the site's steep cliffs.

Notes and Further Reading
References

Masada I - The Aramaic and Hebrew Ostraca and Jar Inscriptions, The Coins of Masada, The Yigal Yadin Excavations 1963-1965 Final Reports, Israel Exploration Society. Yadin and Naveh (1989), Meshorer (1989)

Masada II - The Latin and Greek Documents, The Yigal Yadin Excavations 1963-1965 Final Reports, Israel Exploration Society. Cotton and Geiger (1989)

Masada III: The Buildings, Stratigraphy and Architecture, The Yigal Yadin Excavations 1963-1965 Final Reports, Israel Exploration Society. Netzer, E. (1991).

Masada IV Textiles, Lamps, Basketry and Cordage, Wood Remains, Ballista Balls, Appendum - Human Skeletal Remains The Yigal Yadin Excavations 1963-1965 Final Reports, Israel Exploration Society.

Masada V - Art and Architecture, The Yigal Yadin Excavations 1963-1965 Final Reports - Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem, Foerster, G. (1995)

Yadin, Y. (1965). "The excavation of Masada 1963-64,preliminary report." Israel Exploration J. 15(1-120).

Netzer, E. (1997). "Masada from Foundation to Destruction: an Architectural History,”." Hurvitz, G.(szerk.): The Story of Masada. Discoveries from the Excavations. Provo, UT: BYU Studies: 33-50.

Magness, J. (2019). Masada From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, Princeton University Press.

Y. Yadin, Masada Herod's Fortress and the Zealouts Last Stand , London 1966

Masada and the world of the New Testament

Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in Eretz Israel, English edn (updated), vol 3 (Massada, Jerusalem, 1975).

Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in Eretz Israel, Hebrew edn, 2 vol (Massada, Jerusalem, 1970).

Petra

Names
Transliterated Name Language Name
Petra English
Al-Batrā Arabic ٱلْبَتْرَاء‎
Petra Ancient Greek Πέτρα‎
Rekeme Thamudic ?
Raqmu Arabic
Raqēmō Arabic
Introduction

Petra is traditionally accessed through a slot canyon known as the Siq. The site was initially inhabited at least as early as the Neolithic and has been settled sporadically ever since - for example in the Biblical Edomite, Hellenistic, Nabatean, Byzantine, and Crusader periods. After the Islamic conquest in the 7th century CE, Petra lost its strategic and commercial value and began to decline until it was "re-discovered" by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 (Meyers et al, 1997). It is currently a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been and continues to be extensively studied by archeologists.
Summary of Archeoseismic Evidence from the 4th-6th centuries in Petra - Jones (2021)

Jones (2021) provided a summary of archeoseismic evidence in Petra which is reproduced below.

Arcehoseismic Evidence in Petra Table 1

List of sites in and near Petra (other than al-Zantur) with destructions attributable to earthquakes in 363 AD and the 6th century

Jones (2021)

Map of Major Excavations in Petra - Jones (2021)

Jones (2021) provided a Map of Petra with major excavations which is reproduced below.

Major Excavations in Petra Figure 2

Map of Petra with the locations of major excavations marked

Jones (2021)

Basemap: Esri, Maxar, Earthstar Geographics, USDA FSA, USGS, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, and the GIS User Community

Petra Theater
Petra Main Theater The Petra Theater aka the Main Theater

Wikipedia - Douglas Perkins - CC-2.0


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Main Theater English
Petra Theater English
Masrah al-Batra Arabic مسرح البتراء
Introduction

As one enters Petra through the Siq, after passing "The "Treasury", the Main Theater is the first structure one encounters before entering the valley that comprises the central part of Petra. The seats are carved out of a cliff of Nubian Sandstone. Hammond (1964) excavated the Main Theater over two seasons in 1961 and 1962.

Chronology
Phasing

Hammond (1964) divided up the phasing into 8 periods from bedrock to modern surface. Initial construction and use appeared to occur during Nabatean times; likely soon after the reign of Aretas IV who ruled from 9 BCE to 40 CE(Hammond, 1962:105-106).



Mid 4th century CE Earthquake

Russell (1980) reports that during the 1961-1962 seasons,

Hammond (1965:13-17) found evidence of 4th century AD architectural collapse while excavating the Main Theater. From the stratigraphic evidence and the recovery of two coins of Constantine I (ruled 306 - 337 AD) and one of Constantius II (ruled 337-361 AD), he was able to date this event to the mid 4th century.
Hammond (1964) labeled the destruction period as Period IV noting that
In this period the scaena and its stories, blockade walls, the tribunalia(e), and other built parts of the Theater were all cataclysmically destroyed.

6th-8th century CE Earthquake

Jones (2021:3 Table 1) reports a second potential seismic destruction of the Theater in Phase VII.

The Phase VII destruction of the Main Theatre is difficult to date, as the structure had gone out of use long before. It may be the result of either the late 6th century earthquake or the mid-8th century earthquake.

Seismic Effects
Mid 4th century CE Earthquake

Intensity Estimates
Mid 4th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls the scaena and its stories, blockade walls, the tribunalia(e), and other built parts of the Theater were all cataclysmically destroyed VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Notes and Further Reading
References
Khubtha Cliff
The Royal Tombs of Petra The Royal Tombs of Petra

Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Carlalexanderlukas


Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Khubtha Arabic كهوبتها
The Royal Tombs of Petra English
Royal Nabataean Necropolis English
Introduction

The western slope of Khubtha Cliff has some of the largest tombs in Petra and is often referred to as the Royal Nabataean Necropolis ( Zayadine, F., 1973).

Chronology
4th century CE Earthquake (?)

Zayadine, F. (1973) excavated on the western slope of Khubta Cliff; uncovering a small dwelling in a cave in "Area A". Inside the cave, Zayadine (1973), found objects dated to the beginning of the 4th century AD noting that "it was tempting to consider that the cave was abandoned after an earthquake."

Notes and Further Reading
References
Wadi Sabra Theater
Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Wadi Sabra Arabic وادي سابرا
Introduction

The Wadi Sabra Theater is located ~6.5 km. south of Petra ( Tholbecq et al, 2019). Translation from French to English is by Google and Williams. Chronology

Tholbecq et al (2019) summarized general phasing of the Wadi Sabra Theater. There appears to be evidence for two earthquake destructions.
Phase Phase Label Date Comments
1 Digging and development of the cavea no later than the 2nd century CE
  • This phase corresponds to the rock development of the Sabra theater; no structure or occupation prior to the building has been observed, neither under the built parts of the monument nor in its immediate surroundings. The first available surveys made it possible to restore a Greek-type horseshoe theater
  • This phase must take place no later than the 2nd century CE, without further details for the moment.
2 Closure of the theatrical space and monumentalization of the facade 2nd century CE
  • This phase is better documented and corresponds to the monumentalization of the theater.
  • an elaborate and manicured building that was built during the 2nd century CE. This dating is relatively reliable on the basis of various surveys
3 Partial destruction and reassignment 2nd-3rd century CE
  • During this phase, the monument was transformed without knowing whether it completely lost its functionality as a spectacle building. Various clues suggest that the theater underwent violent destruction, at least on the north side: the upper parts of the walls seem to have been destroyed, then rebuilt by recycling collapsed bleacher seats. Another hypothesis would be to see it as an intermediate phase of abandonment of the theater, with a voluntary dismantling.
  • the chronology of this transformation [] happened no later than the 3rd century CE since the landfills were used in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE
4 Construction of a barrier wall to the south of the theater and new secondary facilities. Late Roman or Byzantine
  • This phase occurs at a date still undetermined (Late Roman period or Byzantine but not later)
  • We do not know when the destruction of the northern masonry of the orchestra occurred, at the level of the old corridor, rebuilt using the stone seats during the previous phase. However, this destruction is directly posed, both in hole 2 and in hole 7, on the embankments of the 3rd-4th centuries CE; we can therefore deduce that this event (earthquake?) occurs shortly after the late Roman period, or even during this period. The monument will no longer be occupied after this phase, being marked only by natural horizons of aeolian and alluvial sediments.
Phase 3 earthquake - 2nd - 3rd century CE

Tholbecq et al (2019) report that various clues suggest that the theater underwent violent destruction during this phase. This happened no later than the 3rd century CE.

Phase 4 earthquake - Late Roman/Early Byzantine

Tholbecq et al (2019) reports destruction of the northern masonry of the orchestra during this phase. They deduce that this event (earthquake?) occurs shortly after the late Roman period, or even during this period.

Seismic Effects
Phase 3 earthquake - 2nd - 3rd century CE

  • the upper parts of the walls seem to have been destroyed, then rebuilt by recycling collapsed bleacher seats

Phase 4 earthquake - Late Roman/Early Byzantine

  • destruction of the northern masonry of the orchestra

Intensity Estimates

Phase 3 earthquake - 2nd - 3rd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls the upper parts of the walls seem to have been destroyed VIII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Phase 4 earthquake - Late Roman/Early Byzantine

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls ? destruction of the northern masonry of the orchestra VIII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Notes and Further Reading
References

Tholbecq, L., et al. (2019). Mission archéologique française à Pétra. Rapport des campagnes archéologiques 2018-2019.

LINDNER 1982 M. Lindner, “An Archaeological Survey of the Theater Mount and Catchwater Regulation System at Sabra, South of Petra, 1980 ”, ADAJ 26, p. 231-242.

LINDNER 2005 M. Lindner, “Water Supply and Water Management at Ancient Sabra (Jordan)”, PEQ 137.1, p. 33-52.

LINDNER 2006A M. Lindner, "Theater, Theater, Theater ... Zu Forschungen der Naturhistorischen Gesellschaft in Sabra", Natur und Mensch. Jahresmitteilungen der Naturhistorischen Gesellschaft Nürnberg, 2006, p. 75-84.

THOLBECQ 2016 L. Tholbecq, “Petra. Wadi Sabra Archaeological Project ”, GJ Corbett et al. (Ed.), “Archeology in Jordan, 2014 - 2015 ”, AJA 120.4, p. 666-668.

THOLBECQ et al. 2015 L. Tholbecq, T. Fournet, N. Paridaens, S. Delcros, G. Dumont & C. Durand “The Nabateo-Roman site of Wadi Sabra: inventory, survey and working hypotheses”, L. Tholbecq (Ed. ), French archaeological mission of Pétra: Report of the archaeological campaigns 2014 - 2015, Brussels, p. 63-100.

THOLBECQ et al. 2016 L. Tholbecq, T. Fournet, N. Paridaens, S. Delcros, C. Durand, “Sabrah, a satellite hamlet of Petra, Jordan ”, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 46, p. 277-297.

Jabal Khubthah
Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Jabal Khubthah Arabic جابال كهوبتهاه
Jabal Umm al Amr Arabic جابال ومم ال امر
the "high place(s)"
Introduction

Jabal Khubthah also known as the "high place" in Petra has long been thought to have been associated with a religious "sacred space" - something common in "Semitic religions" ( Tholbecq et al, 2014). Excavations have indicated that it is a multi functional space that is not exclusively cultic ( Tholbecq et al, 2014). Chronology

In the east complex (Sector 6000 aka Secteur 6), Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) identified 3 main phases of construction and occupation, two main occupation periods (Nabatean and Late Roman/Early Byzantine - 3rd-5th century CE), and two destruction episodes, probably both seismic; the first ending Phase 2 and the second ending the occupation in Phase 3. Phasing is summarized below:
Phase Date Comments
1 Nabatean
  • construction and initial use of the building
  • it is reasonable to assume that the Phase 1 structure was constructed sometime in the later 1st c. AD and perhaps remained in a relation with the bath complex at the top of al-Khubthah.
2 Late Roman/
Early Byzantine
  • While it is not possible to fully assess the length of occupation in Phase 1 and the dating of Phase 2 is difficult (infra), apparently, major modifications took place at the excavated building resulting in a substantial expansion of its size
  • The dating of this phase is difficult. The post quem date for the beginning of this phase is the end of the lst c. AD
  • A 2nd-3rd century date is perhaps closer indicating the beginning of Phase 2
  • As for the end of this phase, its dating also depends on when the pavement was laid out - Phase 2 or 3 (vide infra pilasters 6014 and 6014); it could have happened sometime in the 4th century, presumably as the result of the 363 earthquake. All in all, Phase 2 may perhaps be dated to the 3rd-4th centuries AD
3 Byzantine
  • The last occupational phase in the building excavated in Sector 6000 also witnessed some significant changes. It is reasonable to assume that these changes were initiated as the result of a previous destruction. Such destruction could have been caused by the disastrous earthquake of May 19, 363, otherwise well documented to have affected Petra.
  • The structure had suffered a massive destruction at the end of Phase 3, which bears strong features of tectonic origins. Both arches collapsed on the floor, the eastern one preserving the original pattern of several voussoirs.
  • It is therefore reasonable to suggest that of the earthquake of AD 363 ended the duration of Phase 2, and Phase 3 began soon after that seismic event, with the reconstruction of the structure. It seems that not long afterwards, another earthquake was responsible for the final destruction and the subsequent abandonment of the structure excavated in Sector 6000. It is tempting to propose the enigmatic AD 419 tremor recognized on at least one site in the Petra Valley as responsible for that final destruction. However, other seismic events of the 5th or even early 6th century, which are not historically documented, might have also been responsible.
End of Phase 2 Earthquake - 4th century CE ?

Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) acknowledged difficulties in dating this presumed seismic destruction but suggested that the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE was responsible.

End of Phase 3 Earthquake - 5th or 6th centuries CE

Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) encountered difficulties in dating this presumed seismic destruction and suggested that the Monaxius and Plinta Quake of 419 CE or a later earthquake was responsible.

Seismic Effects
End of Phase 2 Earthquake - 4th century CE ?

Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) did not list much in the way of direct archaeoseismic evidence for the destruction at the end of Phase 2 and the destruction appears to be largely inferred from rebuilding evidence such as strengthening of walls and blocking of doors in Phase 3 construction.

The modifications in Phase 3 indicate that some parts of the enclosing walls might have collapsed and that the stability of reconstructed walls was of major concern. A new (?) system of roof support was also introduced. If pavement 6011 was already in situ (partially or in its entirety) during Phase 2, which is a distinct possibility, some of its flagstones appear to have been titled, caved in, cracked or replaced. Of course these phenomena might relate to the destruction at the end of Phase 2 and/or at the end of Phase 3.

While the spatial extent of the structure did not change, the door in wall 6002 was blocked, two arch-supporting pilasters were constructed on each side of the blocked door, the flagstone pavement was laid out (or partially re-laid or vide supra) inside and a small "banquette" 6015 was inserted in the corner space between wall 6000 and the eastern pilaster. The combined walls 6000 and 6001 were raised up by constructing a section 6027 on their preserved tops. Furthermore, a large support, locus 6007, was constructed on the exterior and abutting wall 6000. While being practical measures to strengthen the overall design of the structure, these changes also bear a somewhat haphazard, makeshift appearance; perhaps reflecting some kind of impoverishment of the site.
...
Pilasters for transversal arches running NW-SE were installed on each side of the blocked door. The NE pilaster, locus 6013, is 0.59 x 0.27 m and of the preserved height of 0.79 m (three courses high; masonry featuring stretcher, stretcher and 2 headers). It appears as if integrating with wall 6002 but in fact it is "pushed" into the southern face of this wall, perhaps indicating that wall 6002 was indeed damaged in the destruction ending Phase 2.
...
On the exterior, the combined line of walls 6000 and 6001 was reinforced by a very poorly constructed superstructure, locus 6027, which is currently the uppermost course (ca. 0.55-0.67 m wide and ca. 0.30-0.35 m high) for both walls in the outer face and 2-3 uppermost courses in the inner face (See Fig. 10). Very irregular and often broken stones of varying sizes were used for this purpose. Again, this indicates that these walls suffered at the end of Phase 2 but it is also possible, although much less likely, that the reinforcement took place after the final collapse (i.e., a casual re-occupation?).

End of Phase 3 Earthquake - 5th or 6th centuries CE

Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) described seismic effects as follows:

The structure had suffered a massive destruction at the end of Phase 3, which bears strong features of tectonic origins. Both arches collapsed on the floor, the eastern one preserving the original pattern of several voussoirs.
...
At locus 6004 was the main, very dense, stone tumble (Fig. 15 ), the other loci mentioned in this section were also parts of the overall collapse and differed from each other only by the intensity and the slightly varying color of soil matrix. There is no reason to suggest that there was more than just one collapse but the uppermost layers (6003, 6005) may also have resulted from the gradual decay and the further deterioration of the walls.
Fiema in Tholbecq et al (2019) described the collapsed arches as follows:
Of the two arches, the southern portion of the eastern one had collapsed in an uniform row at the end of Phase 3 and the remains of the western one were also evidenced on the southern side of the pavement (Fig. 11 )

Intensity Estimates
End of Phase 2 Earthquake - 4th century CE ?

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Collapsed Walls inferred from rebuilding evidence VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

End of Phase 3 Earthquake - 5th or 6th centuries CE

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Collapsed Arches Both arches collapsed on the floor VI+
Collapsed Walls At locus 6004 was the main, very dense, stone tumble (Fig. 15 ) VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Notes and Further Reading
References
Qasr al-Bint
Qasr Bint Qasr Bint

Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Dennis Jarvis


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Qasr al Bint Arabic قاسر ال بينت
Qasr al-Bint Fir’aun Arabic فرعون قاسر ال بينت
Introduction

Qasr al-Bint is one of the best preserved structures in Petra. It fronted the colonnaded street and was close to the monumental gate.

Chronology
3rd-4th century CE Earthquake

  • Figure 11 from Tholbecq et al (2019:36-37)
  • Figure 12 from Tholbecq et al (2019:36-37)
Tholbecq et al (2019:36-37) attributed a destruction layer (see Figures 11 and 12) to the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE based on excavations of the western Temple Staircase (peribola) in Zone F of Qasr al Bint. The dating is approximate - to the 3rd or 4th century CE - apparently based on pottery fragments (North African Sigillata) and oil lamps. Colluvium atop the destruction layer suggests partial abandonment of the site after the destructive earthquake.

6th century CE Earthquake ?

Jones(2021) speculated that Qasr al-Bint may have been damaged due to a 6th century CE earthquake.

Renel (2013: 349) has proposed that the post-363 occupation at Qasr al-Bint was abandoned in the early 5th century, possibly as a result of a major flood (Paradise, 2011). Nonetheless, it is possible that Qasr al-Bint was abandoned due to the 5th century flood but also damaged during the late 6th century earthquake.

Seismic Effects
3rd-4th century CE Earthquake

The destruction layer can be observed in the photographs below:

  • Figure 11 from Tholbecq et al (2019:36-37)
  • Figure 12 from Tholbecq et al (2019:36-37)

Intensity Estimates
3rd-4th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Collapse/Destruction Layer suggests wall collapse VIII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Notes and Further Reading
References
Jabal Harun
Jabal Harun after excavations Figure 1

The FJHP site following the end of excavations in 2007 (by Z. T. Fiema).

Fiema (2013)


Names

Transliterated Name Language Name
Jabal Harun Arabic جابال هارون‎
Introduction

Jabal Harun (Mount Harun) is located ~5 km. southwest of the main site (cardo) of Petra and has traditionally been recognized by Muslims, Christians, and Jews as the place where Moses' brother Aaron was buried (Frosen et al, 2002). As such, it may have remained as an ecclesiastical and pilgrimage site after Petra's decline in the 7th century CE. About 150 m from the peak of Jabal Harun lies the remains of what is thought to have been a Byzantine monastery/pilgrimage center dedicated to Aaron.

Chronology

Pre-Monastic Phasing Destruction Event (IV) - 363 CE or an earthquake from around that time

In Appendix C of the Petra - the mountain of Aaron : the Finnish archaeological project in Jordan., one can find Pre-Monastic Phasing. Phase IV is listed as a destruction layer attributed to the 363 CE earthquake. However, if one considers the dates for the phases before and after Phase IV in Appendix C, it appears that other earthquakes are also plausible candidates such as the Aila Quake of the 1st half of the 4th century and the Monaxius and Plinta Quake of 419 CE. Some of the reasoning behind assigning a 363 CE date to this presumed seismic destruction was based on the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE being assigned to seismic destruction at other sites in Petra.

Later Earthquakes

Mikkola et al (2008) discussed stratigraphy and potential seismic events in Chapter 6 of Petra - the mountain of Aaron : the Finnish archaeological project in Jordan.

Following seven field seasons of excavation (1998-2005), the obtained stratigraphic information and the associated finds allows for the recognition of fourteen consecutive phases of occupation, destruction, rebuilding and disuse in the area of the church and the chapel 1 Of these, Phase 1 represents the pre-ecclesiastical occupation of the high plateau, Phases 2-8, the period of continuous monastic occupation interspersed with episodes of destruction, and Phases 9-14, the later occupation for which the ecclesiastical function of the church can no longer be supported, as well as the eventual abandonment of the church and the chapel of Jabal Harun. Specifically, Phases 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 represent phases of destruction. The most likely explanation for most of these destructions is seismic events, and in some cases the evidence for an earthquake seems clear. However, in other cases, especially for Phase 6, alternative explanations will be considered as well. Notably, the multiple episodes of destruction and restoration seem well attested by the evidence of changes in the glass repertoire in the church and the chapel throughout the existence of these structures.

Stratigraphy from Mikkola et al (2008) is shown below:



Seismic Effects

Orientation of presumed seismic damage

Mikkola et al (2008) found a directional pattern to inferred archeoseismic damage

In general, the E-W running walls are better preserved than those running N-S. This fact is probably explained by the seismic characteristics prevalent in the Wadi Araba rift valley, which mainly result in earthquakes exhibiting E-W movement. These are likely to cause more damage to walls running in a N-S direction than to those running E-W.

Pre-Monastic Phasing IV Destruction Event - 363 CE or an earthquake from around that time

In Appendix C of the Petra - the mountain of Aaron : the Finnish archaeological project in Jordan., one can find Pre-Monastic Phasing. Phase IV is listed as a destruction layer attributed to the 363 CE earthquake. It is described in Appendix C:34

The structures and soundings made in Room 25 provided evidence of an early destruction and the following period of decay that apparently preceded the building of the monastery. A dramatic piece of evidence the shattered second story floor (O.41), some remains of which are still protruding from Wall (e.g. Fig. 8). The core of Western Building must have partially collapsed and the second story was entirely destroyed, as remains of its floor were incorporated in the Byzantine structures. The superstructure and arches of the southern cistern (Room 36) may also have collapsed. All of this may well be related to the famous earthquake of May 19, 363 CE [JW: The southern Cyril Quake struck on the night of May 18, 363 CE] which is archaeologically well-evidenced by excavations in central Petra at sites such the Temple of Winged lions, the Colonnaded Street, the so-called Great Temple, and the residential complex at es-Zantur. According to a contemporary literary source (Bishop, Cyril of Jerusalem), the earthquake destroyed more than half of Patna. Given the fact that the earthquake severely damaged a host of other cities as well, it stems very unlikely that Jabal Harun, located less than five kilometers from downtown Petra, was left unharmed.
Seismic Effects mentioned include:
  • a shattered floor
  • collapsed walls
  • collapsed arches

Phase 3 Destruction Event - mid to late 6th century CE

Mikkola et al (2008) produced the following observations:

This phase represents a catastrophic event that caused the first major destruction of the site. Judging by the totality of the damage, a major seismic event seems to be the most likely explanation for the destruction 102. It appears that the seismic shock caused the collapse of the upper parts of walls, and the burning oil lamps, falling on the floor, caused the conflagration. The destruction was severe. In many parts of the church, the arches, clerestory walls, columns and upper parts of the walls collapsed. That the roof support system was severely damaged is indicated, among other ways, by the fact that it was completely rearranged in the following phase. The falling stones shattered the marble floor and the furnishings of the church and the chapel, and while the floor was haphazardly repaired in the following phase, much of the furnishings were apparently damaged beyond repair. This is evidenced by the numerous fragments of marble colonnettes, chancel screens, etc., found in reused positions in the structures of Phase 4.

The intensity of the event is also indicated by the evidence of repairs to the upper portions of the walls of the church and the chapel. The repaired walls of Phase 4 feature numerous fragments of marble slabs from the floor of Phase 2, now used as chinking stones. Various kinds of debris ended up in the fills of the walls, especially in Wall I which was constructed in Phase 4. In fact, a large portion of the finds of broken marble furnishing, pottery, glass, nails and roof tiles, found in the late layers of stone tumble, derive from the interior of the repaired walls and therefore predate Phase 3.

...

The chapel was also heavily affected. This is indicated by the extent of the repairs made in Phase 4, particularly by the complete rearrangement of the roof supports. The system of pilasters now visible in the chapel is not original, as is evidenced by the presence of wall plaster behind the pilasters, the use of marble slab fragments as chinking stones (in loci Y17 and Y20), and the different construction techniques used. The Phase 4 columns of the chapel, moreover, seem to derive from the collapsed columns of Phase 2 structures, as some of the drums used in them are broken. The original western wall of the chapel also seems to have collapsed to the extent that it was deemed easier to build a new wall (Wall OO). Finally, parts of Wall H also appear to have been badly damaged, as its upper courses were rebuilt in the following phase, using large quantities of recycled material.

...

the walls of the structures [in the Church] did not entirely collapse in Phase 3.

...

The height of the columns [of the Church] can be estimated to have been at minimum 3.85 m, since both columns were found collapsed among the stone tumble of Phase 3 (Fig. 34 ).

...

The apse of the church appears to have survived the events of Phase 3 comparatively well.

...

It is impossible to assess the extent of the damage inflicted on the original marble furnishing of the bema [of the Church] in Phase 3. It must have been considerable, judging from the quantities of broken marble included as fill in both new walls (e.g., Wall I) and the old, reconstructed walls (e.g., Wall H). However, some elements must have survived either intact or in pieces, which could have been reused after necessary modifications.

...

The destruction of the fine marble pavement [of the Church] was amongst the more permanent damage caused by the event of Phase 3. The rebuilding in Phase 4 took great effort, using all resources available, and evidently the community of Jabal Harun could not afford to fully replace the broken marble floor with a new pavement. Instead, the broken pavers were painstakingly pieced together, like a huge jigsaw puzzle. The area of the nave (e.g., in locus E24) presents good examples of this (Fig. 44 ).

...

extensive damage suffered by the original western wall of the chapel.

...

Area West of the Chapel

Large quantities of debris, including charcoal, burnt tiles, glass and ceramic sherds broken and fire-damaged, pieces of marble and other stones, were found in the midden located outside the monastery enclosure, excavated in Trench R. Due to the uniformity of these deposits and the clear indication that they originated from a fire-related destruction, it is probable that these represent Phase 3 debris cleared out from the area of the church and the chapel at the beginning of Phase 4.

Phase 6 Destruction Event - 1st half of 7th century CE - inferred from rebuilding

Mikkola et al (2008) inferred possible seismic destruction in Phase 6 based on rebuilding that took place in Phase 7. No unambiguous and clearly dated evidence of seismic damage was found. Mikkola et al (2008) also noted a change in liturgy in Phase 7 which could have also been at least partly responsible for the rebuild. Fiema (2013:799), in referring to an iconoclastic edict by the Caliph Yazid II in 723/724 CE, states that Muslims initially used Christian edifices for prayer, with the result that these edifices had to conform to Islamic prescriptions (Bowersock 2006: 91-111). Such shared use of sites by Muslims and Christians can be seen, for example, in the Church of Kathisma between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Moses is mentioned more frequently in the Quran than any other personage (136 times) and his life is narrated more often than any other prophet. Aaron is also frequently mentioned. Thus, it could be expected that Aaron's supposed grave site would become a site for Muslim as well as Christian pilgrimage. In fact, the site currently houses a mosque dedicated to Aaron. Thus, the change in liturgy associated with the rebuild of Phase 7 could have been a reaction to increased Muslim visitation rather than seismic damage or some combination of structural damage and accommodation of Muslim pilgrims. Mikkola et al (2008) noted that, while difficult to date, it seems probable that the iconoclastic damage done to the narthex mosaic [of the Church] can be assigned to this phase where they date this iconoclastic damage to the end of Phase 7. Mikkola et al (2008) produced the following observations regarding the supposed destruction event in Phase 6:

Whereas the event of Phase 3 was almost certainly a massive earthquake coupled with a raging fire, it is much more difficult to interpret precisely what happened in Phase 6. The reason for distinguishing this phase at all is that something must have prompted the extensive rebuilding activities of Phase 7. However, whether it was an earthquake, a spontaneous collapse of the inside structures, or some less dramatic reason, is not immediately clear.

...

Perhaps the most important clue to the nature of the event is offered by the finds of glass and marble elements. The church of Phase 7 no longer featured a marble chancel screen or ambo, and it was lit with new types of glass lamps. It is not easy to see why the marble decorations and old glass lamps would have been discarded if the building was simply remodelled in an orderly manner. Therefore, one must assume that the roof supports and lamps fell as a result of some event, either an earthquake or a spontaneous collapse due to the structural instability of the building. Such an event might have wrecked most of the church furnishings beyond repair.

...

The chapel seems generally to have withstood seismic damage better than the church, as it is a smaller building and its arches are all supported by walls, i.e., the relatively unstable structural supports, such as freestanding pillars, were never installed there. In Phase 6, however, some of the arches appear to have collapsed, which would also have caused considerable damage to the floor and the furnishing of the chapel. Therefore, in Phase 7, some pilasters had to be reinforced and/or rebuilt, the floor repaired and much of the furnishing reinstalled.

Phase 8 Destruction Event - mid 8th century CE

Mikkola et al (2008) produced the following observations:

Phase 8 represents yet another calamity which befell the site, probably another earthquake. As noted before, continuous re-building and structural damage caused by earlier destructions had probably made the buildings weaker and thus more vulnerable to seismic events, even relatively minor ones. However, this event seems to have been a major one, causing the collapse of the church's semidome and the columns of the atrium.

In particular, the earthquake caused Wall J to severely tilt towards the south (Fig. 80 ), causing the collapse of the arches in the southern aisle. The wall was left leaning towards the south and it had to be supported by a buttress in the following phase. In addition to the arches of the southern aisle, those spanning the nave appear to have collapsed. Such a pattern of collapse would indeed be expected. With the mutual supporting arch and beam system introduced in Phase 7, the collapse of one N-S arch in the aisle would have seriously impaired the stability of the corresponding N-S arch across the nave. However, the northern part of the church survived the disaster better. For example, it seems that the arches covering the northern aisle survived in¬tact. The glass finds also support the idea that some walls survived Phase 8 comparatively well, as at least some windowpanes used in Phase 7 appear to have remained in use in Phase 9. All this may probably be explained by the fact that the northern part of the church, as abutted by the structure of the chapel, was firmly buttressed by its compact form and thus could better withstand the earth tremor.

The apse and bema also suffered heavy damage in Phase 8. The semidome covering the apse must have collapsed in the earthquake, destroying the floor of the apse beyond repair. The resulting tumble was cleared in the following phase, but the semidome and the apse floor were never repaired. The arch supporting the roof of the northern pastophorion probably fell too. In the southern pastophorion, falling stones caused severe damage to the floor due the presence of hollow compartments underneath. The part of floor that covered the southern compartment was destroyed and never repaired. It is uncertain if the arch there collapsed as well. It may have been left standing, but the roof was nonetheless severely damaged.

In the atrium, parts of the colonnades collapsed. The atrium floor shows damage, but it is again difficult to determine whether it was damaged in this phase. The square pilaster (locus L.14) or pedestal in the eastern part of the atrium was also probably destroyed then. The mosaic in the narthex shows damage, especially in the central medallion, which was never repaired. Dating of the damage is uncertain - it may have been caused by the events of either Phase 8 or 10.

...

The arch covering the southern pastophorion most likely collapsed in Phase 8, considering the fact that the entire southern wall of the basilica was severely affected by the destruction. Therefore, unlike the one in the northern pastophorion, the arch must have been rebuilt in Phase 9, as is evidenced by the discovery of the collapsed voussoirs of a fallen arch found among the stone tumble inside the room (locus M.04).

...

As the iconoclastic activities have been postulated to have taken place at Jabal Harun in the early 8th century, and still within the duration of Phase 7, the destruction in Phase 8 may, have occurred soon afterwards. The best candidate for such event is the major earthquake on January 18, 749. ... it's impact on the Petra area is historically unknown ... Some destruction layers found in Petra were associated with a major seismic event of roughly 8th century date, which, according to Peter Parr, effectively ended occupation in the city (Parr 1959:107-108). Furthermore, it has recently been claimed that one of the ecclesiastical edifices in Petra - the Blue Chapel - was destroyed in this earthquake (2002a:451, 2002b.2004:63).

Note by JW: See section(s) below Jabal Harun for other sites in Petra.

Phase 9 reconstruction

The fallen columns of the atrium were not re-erected, but were cleared away and used elsewhere. The damaged floor was repaired, and a section of Wall H in the atrium (loci V.06, X.13) was rebuilt.

...

The most significant element of Phase 9 in the atrium is, however, the construction of a massive platform or buttress (loci B.02, B.16 [fill], B.18 [facade], and L.02) in the southeastern corner of the atrium, against Wall I (Fig. 99, also Figs. 36 and 58).

...

A number of structures located outside the church were investigated in the course of excavation. The largest and perhaps most significant of these is the long buttress (locus T.31), built against Wall J (Fig. 103). The assignment of this buttress to Phase 9 is certain; it was clearly built after the wall tilted south in Phase 8. Therefore, it is likely that the buttress was built to support the wall against potential earth tremors. 219

...

The walls of the chapel seem to have withstood the event of Phase 8, in spite of the fact that it caused so much damage to the church. However, the walls probably suffered some structural damage. This is suggested by the construction of stone buttresses outside and against Wall GG.

Phase 10 Destruction Event - late 8th or early 9th century CE

Mikkola et al (2008) produced the following observations:

A disaster in Phase 10, probably of seismic character, probably did end the continuous, sedentary occupation at least in the area of the church and the chapel.

...

Much of the stone tumble in the church and the chapel created by this event had been cleared in the following phase. This makes it difficult to securely associate any of the excavated strata with the collapse in Phase 10.

The most obvious evidence of this destruction consists of craters left in the church floor by tumbling stones. The marble floor was badly damaged in especially in the western part of the nave and the northern aisle, where much of the floor was removed in the following phase. It seems probable that the long N-S arch running between pilasters T.04 and G.06 collapsed in this phase. Several depressions left in the floor (locus T.29) of the nave mark the places hit by the falling stones. The stones that caused the depressions were, however, removed in Phase 11. Indirect evidence also exists for the collapse of the westernmost arch in the northern aisle and the one that spanned the eastern-most part of the nave, for in these areas the marble floor was removed in Phase 11. It seems reasonable to assume that the removal of the floors was related to the damage caused by stones falling from the arches and other structures of the roof, whereas the floor was left untouched in those parts of the church where the arches did not collapse.

As the walls and columns of the atrium and the narthex had been badly damaged and already partially removed in Phases 8 and 9, they probably were not heavily affected by the destruction of Phase 10. However, some of the stone tumble (lowest parts of locus H.02) in the area of the narthex may have been caused by this event.

...

It is impossible to provide any reasonably accurate date for this disaster. Considering the fact that the ceramic deposits associated with Phase 11 provide a very rough date of the 9th century for that phase, a prior destruction would have to have occurred sometime in the later 8th or early 9th century.

Phase 12 destruction event - not well dated

Mikkola et al (2008) produced the following observations:

All remaining roof structures now collapsed, forming the lowest layer of stone tumble. Several rows of the voussoirs from fallen arches were found among the tumble in both the church and the chapel. This lowest layer also includes remains of wooden roof beams, branches and clayey soil from the structures of the Phase 9 roofs. The thickness of the stone tumble varied significantly from one trench to another, but the average thickness of the layer in the church was ca. 1.5 m and in the chapel as much as 1.8 m. As a result of gradual decay and periodic earthquakes, stones continued to fall and soil continued to accumulate inside the ruins even after Phase 12, but this resulted in much less intensive layers of stone tumble.

...

Throughout the church interior, the floor was covered with a layer of hard-packed, clayey soil directly under the lowermost deposits of stone tumble. This layer, which contained relatively few finds, probably represents material fallen from the structures of the roof This is supported by the fact that in the soil were also found some remains of wooden roof beams and branches. The beams no doubt formed the main part of the roof construction while the branches, covered by a thick layer of clayey soil, filled the gaps and helped to create an even surface for the roof. Apparently, the branches, beams and clayey soil were the first part of the roof structure to fall in the earthquake of Phase 12, and were only then followed by the arches and other stone elements of the walls. The beams and branches were in a poor state of preservation and heavily carbonized, apparently because of natural decay rather than burning.

...

Remains of two fallen arches were found in the layer of stone tumble (loci F.04, F.09, F.10, F.ll) in the eastern part of the nave (Fig. 114 ), one running N-S between the pilasters loci F.07 and F.05d, and one apparently running E-W between the same pilaster (F.05d) to pilaster F.06 (Fig. 115 ). Clear remains of fallen arches were found in the stone tumble (loci T.05, T.08, T.10) in the western part of the aisle (Fig. 116 ), and in the central part were the ten drums and the capital of the collapsed Phase 4 column in locus T.14. Under the drums, furthermore, was found a fallen Phase 7 pilaster, originally a part of locus T.32, toppled over by the falling column.

...

In the eastern part of the nave, the stone tumble (loci G.03 [lower part], G.16, G.17, T.05, T.10, U.03 [lower part], U.10) included a row of voussoirs running from the southern column (locus T.14) towards a pilaster (locus G.06) in the north (Fig. 117). However, as the two supports are not in the same line, the arch cannot have sprung between them. It seems that the force of the earthquake had thrown the northernmost voussoirs towards the west, and that fallen arch originally sprang between the southern column and the pilaster (locus U.26) abutting the northern column. The tumble in the central part of the nave included some drums fallen from the northern column (locus U.25), but it is probable that the entire column did not collapse as some drums were found very close to the surface in the nave. 240

...

Northern Aisle of the Church

In the stone tumble (loci G.04, G.04a, G.10, G.11, G.14 [top], U.03 [lower part], U.09) above the clayey soil, two rows of voussoirs dearly resulting from fallen arches running N-S were discovered (Fig. 118, also Fig. 117). The first of these - between the column (locus U.25) and pilaster (locus U.17) — was scattered over a large area, testifying to the force of the earthquake. A second row of voussoirs was found between the pilasters (loci U.18 and U.39) in the eastern part of the nave. No remains of fallen arches were discovered in the western part of the northern aisle.

Apse and Bema of the Church

Inside the apse, the earthquake of Phase 12 created a layer of stone tumble consisting mainly of crushed, yellowish limestone (loci E.16, F.02, F.10 M.14, U.11).

...

The northern pastophorion [of the Church] was filled with a layer of stone tumble (locus E.08 and the lower part of locus E.05). This deposit did not contain any evidence of a fallen arch, only a couple of long voussoirs, which may have been part of the Phase 9 steps (locus E.12) leading up to Wall T. A thick layer of stone tumble (loci M.13, M.15) also fell inside the southern pastophorion where, however, the voussoirs of an arch running N-S were found among the tumble.

Atrium and Narthex of the Church

The stone tumble (loci B.07, L.05, L.06, L.06a, L.08, L.09, X.02, X.04, and X.05; Figs. 46, 58) resulting from Phase 12 destruction is concentrated along the edges of the walls and is not exceedingly heavy. The atrium walls were possibly already much reduced in height, following the previous earthquakes, and the resulting debris cleared in the meanwhile. In the northern part of the atrium, two fallen columns were found among the stone tumble (part of locus X.05). The column standing in the northeastern corner of the atrium has fallen towards the NW. Six drums originally part of this column were found in the tumble. The column to the west of this column had been taller when it collapsed; ten drums in a row running towards the NE were found among the tumble. It is possible that the latter column fell later, sometime in Phase 14, as it appears to have fallen on top of the first column. Most of the stone tumble (locus H.02) in the area of the narthex was caused by this destruction (Col. Fig. 30).

The Chapel

The Phase 12 destruction caused a major collapse in the chapel, resulting in a stone tumble (loci I.02, I.08, I.10, I.15, I.16, Y.05 [lower part], Y.08, Y.24) especially in the western and central parts of the chapel. The four central and western arches of the chapel fell, all the voussoirs belonging to these arches were found in neat rows, resting on the soil of loci Y.09 and I.10. The easternmost arch, however, apparently did not collapse at this point. In addition to the arches, the semidome of the chapel must also have collapsed now. The exterior of Wall S suffered extensive damage and much of the apse wall tumbled towards the east (loci C.3a, C.11). A tangible piece of evidence of collapsing stones in the apse area can be found in the northern cupboard, where the lower shelf (locus Y.10c) had been smashed into pieces. The stones that broke the shelf were removed in the following phase, but the pieces of the broken shelf was left in place.

Intensity Estimates

Pre-Monastic Phasing IV Destruction Event - 363 CE or an earthquake from around that time

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls A dramatic piece of evidence the shattered second story floor (O.41), some remains of which are still protruding from Wall (e.g. Fig. 8). The core of Western Building must have partially collapsed and the second story was entirely destroyed, as remains of its floor were incorporated in the Byzantine structures. VIII +
Collapsed Arches The superstructure and arches of the southern cistern (Room 36) may also have collapsed. VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Phase 3 Destruction Event - mid to late 6th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Upper Walls and Clestory Walls in Church
Original Western Wall in Chapel
VIII +
Folded Walls Badly damaged Wall H in Chapel VII +
Arch Collapse Church VI +
Fallen Columns Church and Chapel
VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Phase 6 Destruction Event - 1st half of 7th century CE - inferred from rebuilding

Effect Description Intensity
Arch Collapse Chapel VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VI (6) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Phase 8 Destruction Event - mid 8th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collpased Vaults Semidome covering Apse in Church VIII +
Arch Collapse Southern Aisle and Nave in Church
Roof of northern Pastophorion
Southern Pastophorion
VI +
Tilted Walls Wall J in Church VI +
Fallen Columns Atrium in Church VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archaeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Phase 10 Destruction Event - late 8th or early 9th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Arch Collapse It seems probable that the long N-S arch running between pilasters T.04 and G.06 collapsed in this phase.
Indirect evidence also exists for the collapse of the westernmost arch in the northern aisle and the one that spanned the eastern-most part of the nave, for in these areas the marble floor was removed in Phase 11
VI +
Displaced Walls Based on evidence of falling stones
The most obvious evidence of this destruction consists of craters left in the church floor by tumbling stones.
Several depressions left in the floor (locus T.29) of the nave mark the places hit by the falling stones.
VII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VII (7) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Phase 12 destruction event - not well dated

Effect Description Intensity
Arch Collapse Remains of two fallen arches were found in the layer of stone tumble (loci F.04, F.09, F.10, F.ll) in the eastern part of the nave (Fig. 114 ), one running N-S between the pilasters loci F.07 and F.05d, and one apparently running E-W between the same pilaster (F.05d) to pilaster F.06 (Fig. 115 ). Clear remains of fallen arches were found in the stone tumble (loci T.05, T.08, T.10) in the western part of the aisle (Fig. 116 )
The four central and western arches of the chapel fell, all the voussoirs belonging to these arches were found in neat rows
VI+
Fallen Column a fallen Phase 7 pilaster, originally a part of locus T.32, toppled over by the falling column.
In the northern part of the atrium, two fallen columns were found among the stone tumble (part of locus X.05). The column standing in the northeastern corner of the atrium has fallen towards the NW. Six drums originally part of this column were found in the tumble.
V+
Rotated and displaced masonry blocks in columns In the northern part of the atrium, two fallen columns were found among the stone tumble (part of locus X.05). The column standing in the northeastern corner of the atrium has fallen towards the NW. Six drums originally part of this column were found in the tumble. VIII+
Collapsed Walls The Phase 12 destruction caused a major collapse in the chapel, resulting in a stone tumble (loci I.02, I.08, I.10, I.15, I.16, Y.05 [lower part], Y.08, Y.24) especially in the western and central parts of the chapel. VIII+
Collapsed Vaults the semidome of the chapel must also have collapsed now. VIII+
Displaced Walls Chapel - The exterior of Wall S suffered extensive damage and much of the apse wall tumbled towards the east (loci C.3a, C.11). VII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Notes and Further Reading

References

Fiema, Z. T. and J. Frösén (2008). Petra - the mountain of Aaron : the Finnish archaeological project in Jordan. Helsinki, Societas Scientiarum Fennica.

Eklund, S. (2008). Stone Weathering in the Monastic Building Complex on Mountain of St Aaron in Petra, Jordan.

Frosen et al. (2000). "The 1999 Finnish Jabal Harun Project: A Preliminary Report " Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 44.

Fiema, Z. T. (2002). "The Byzantine monastic / pilgrimage center of St. Aaron near Petra, Jordan." Arkeologipäivät.

Fiema, Z. T. (2013). "Visiting the sacred : continuity and change at Jabal Hārūn " Studies in the history and archaeology of Jordan. Department of Antiquities, Amman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan-Amman. Vol. 4 11.

Finnish Jabal Harun Project

Bikai, P. M. 1996 Petra, Ridge Church. P. 531 in Archaeology in Jordan section. Patricia M. Bikai and Virginia Egan, eds. American Journal of Archaeology 100, no. 3, pp. 507-536.

Bikai, P. and M. Perry (2001). "Petra North Ridge Tombs 1 and 2: Preliminary Report." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 324: 59 - 78.

Bikai, P. M. 2002a Petra. North Ridge Project. Pp. 450-51 in Archaeology in Jordan section. St. H. Savage, K. Zamora and D. R. Keller, eds. American Journal of Archaeology 106: 435-458.

Bikai, P. M. 2002b North Ridge Project. ACOR Newsletter vol 14.1. Summer, pp. 1-3.

Bikai, P. M. (2002). The churches of Byzantine Petra, in Petra. Near Eastern Archeology, 116, 555-571

Bikai, P. M. 2004 Petra: North Ridge Project. Pp. 59-63 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VIII. F. al-Kraysheh ed. Amman. Bikai, Patricia M., and Megan Perry

Parr, Peter 1959 Rock Engravings from Petra. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 91, pp. 106-108.

Petra North Ridge Project

Fiema, Z. T., et al. (2001). The Petra Church, American Center of Oriental Research.

Bikai, P., et al. (2020). Petra: The North Ridge, American Center of Oriental Research.

Petra: The North Ridge at ACOR

Haluza

Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Haluza Hebrew חלוצה‎
Elusa Byzantine Greek - Madaba Map ΕΛΟΥϹΑ
Chellous Greek Χελλοὺς
Halasa
asal-Khalūṣ Arabic - Early Arab الخلصة
Al-Khalasa Modern Arabic الخلصة
Introduction

Haluza, ~20 km. southwest of Beersheba, was founded by the the Nabateans as a station along the Incense Road ( Avraham Negev in Meyers et al, 1997). The town reached a peak of prosperity in the Late Nabatean and Late Roman periods but continued as a major city of the Negev into the Byzantine period ( Avraham Negev in Meyers et al, 1997). Haluza remained inhabited after the Muslim conquest but eventually declined and was abandoned - like many other Byzantine cities in the Negev. These old cities preserve much archeoseismic evidence and have been rightly called fossil seismographs whose examination can help unravel the historically under reported seismic history of both sides of the Arava before ~1000 CE.

Chronology

Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) identified damage patterns from at least two heavy earthquakes.
1st Earthquake - late 3rd - mid 6th century CE - perhaps around 500 CE

Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) surmised that the first earthquake struck in the Byzantine period between the end of the 3rd and the mid-6th centuries A.D.. Citing Avraham Negev, they discussed this evidence further

Negev (1989) pointed out that one earthquake, or more, shattered the towns of central Negev between the end of the 3rd and mid-6th centuries A.D.. Literary evidence is scarce, but there is ample archeological evidence of these disasters. According to Negev a decisive factor is that the churches throughout the whole Negev were extensively restored later on. Negev found at the Haluza Cathedral indications of two constructional phases. One room of the Cathedral was even not cleaned after an event during which it was filled with fallen stones and debris from the collapsed upper portion of a wall. In the other room the original limestone slabs of the floor had been removed but the clear impression of slabs and ridges in the hard packed earth beneath suggests that they remained in place until the building went out of use (Negev, 1989:135).

The dating of the discussed ancient strong earthquake may be 363 A.D., as has been concluded for other ancient cities around Haluza, e.g. Avdat37, Shivta38, and Mamshit39. However, Negev (1989:129-142) noticed inscriptions on walls and artifacts.
The inscriptions Negev noticed were discovered at Shivta which Negev (1989) discussed as follows:
A severe earthquake afflicted Sobata [aka Shivta].
...
The epigraphic evidence of Sobata may help in attaining a close as possible date both for the earthquake and for the subsequent reconstruction of the North Church. One of these inscriptions, that of 506 A.D., is clearly a dedicatory inscription of a very important building, which justified the participation of a Vicarius, a man of the highest rank, in the dedication of this building. This inscription was not found in situ. However, there is no question about the inscription of A.D. 512, in which year the mosaic floor of one of the added chapels was dedicated by a bishop and the local clergy. It is thus safe to assume that the whole remodeling of the North Church began in the first decade of the sixth century.
Although Negev (1989) and Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) suggested the Fire in the Sky Earthquake of 502 CE as the most likely candidate, its epicenter was too far away to caused widespread damage throughout the region. This suggests that the causitive earthquake is unreported in the historical sources - an earthquake which likely struck at the end of the 5th or beginning of the 6th century CE. This hypothesized earthquake is listed in this catalog as the Negev Quake.

2nd Earthquake - Post Byzantine - 7th or 8th century CE ?

Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) also discussed chronology of the second earthquake.

The Early Arab – Second Ancient Earthquake

Negev (1976:92) suggested that a strong earthquake caused the final abandonment of Haluza. He summed up his observations at one of the excavated courtyards:
Voussoirs of the arches and extremely long roof slabs were discovered in the debris, just above the floor. It seems that either the destruction of the house occurred for a very short time after its abandonment or the house had to be abandoned because of its destruction by an earthquake.
Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) noted that while the Sword in the Sky Quake of 634 CE destroyed Avdat 44 and ruined other ancient towns of the Negev 45, archeological data demonstrate that occupation of the [Haluza] continued until at least the first half of the 8th cent. A.D.46. This led them to conclude that one of the mid 8th century CE earthquakes was a more likely candidate. Unfortunately, it appears that we don't have a reliable terminus ante quem for the second earthquake.

Seismic Effects

Korjenkov and and Mazor (2005) identified damage patterns in the ruins of Haluza which indicated previous devastation by at least two heavy earthquakes discussed above in Chronology. Damage patterns are summarized below:
Seismic Effects

Damage Type Location Figure Comments
Through-going Joints Station 6 (Fig. 4) 
3
4
Joints crossing adjacent stones (Fig. 3 a. b) are a substantial evidence of seismic origin of deformation, i.e. opening of joints as a result of seismic vibrations. Formation of such joints has been reported in many macroseismic studies. S. Stiros supposed that opening and closing of vertical joints take place according to the direction of the acting seismic forces. For example, such joints formed in modern buildings during the Tash-Pasha (northern Kyrgyzstan) 1989 earthquake of a magnitude Mpva = 5.1 (Fig. 3 c) and Suusamyr (northern Tien Shan) 1992 earthquake of the magnitude MS = 7.3 (Fig. 3 d). Such through-going joints are formed only as a result of a high-intensity earthquake, as high energy is necessary to overcome the stress shadow of the free surfaces at the stone margins (i.e. the free space between adjacent stones).
An example of such a joint is observable at Haluza at the lower part of the wall of the courtyard, west of the theater (Fig. 4). Here a subvertical joint passes two adjacent stones in the wall with a trend of 37º. The length of the joint is 25 cm. One can observe similar numerous joints in the ruins of all the ancient cities of the Negev: Avdat, Shivta, Mamshit and Rehobot-ba-Negev
Joints in a Staircase Theater
5 A subvertical joint, 58 cm long, maximal opening 1.5cm, and a strike of about 122°, crosses the staircase of the excavated theater (Fig. 5). It cuts through two adjacent staircase blocks that trend about 42°. It is important to note that all the staircase blocks are damaged to a certain degree – they are cracked.
The staircase was built close to a wall, the upper part of which is tilted toward NE (dip angle ~69°). The upper part of the staircase is also tilted, but less (dip angle ~83°), so there is a gap between the upper parts of the wall and the staircase. A similar joint in a staircase was also observed at Mamshit in a room near the Eastern Church and the Late Nabatean Building
Cracks Crossing Large Building Blocks Cathedral
6 Cracks crossing large building blocks can also be a result of a strong earthquake, but it is always complicated to prove their 100% seismic origin because the cracks can be also realization of the loading stress along the weak zone that existed in the rock. However, together with other »pure« seismic features, observed in the archaeological excavation area, these cracks can serve as an additional evidence of seismic damage. An example of such a crack was found at the marble column pedestal of the Cathedral. The pedestal of the northern column is broken by a sub vertical crack (Fig. 6). A seismic origin of this feature is supported by the left-lateral shift along the crack: it is hard to envisage that static loading can cause strike-slip movements. The left-lateral shift along the crack is 1 cm and the maximum crack opening is 1.5 cm. The crack is laterally widening toward NE (1.5cm) and narrowing toward SW (0.1 cm). The last phenomenon is difficult to explain just by loading from above. The strike azimuth of the crack is 35º and the length is 92 cm. A similar deformation can be observed at the pedestal of a column at the northern Church at Shivta
Cracked Doorsteps Station 28
7 Cracking of doorsteps is an important feature for the evaluation of a seismic damage. Their preferential occurrence in walls of the same trend can serve as a kinematic indicator of seismic motions that acted parallel to the trend of the doorstep stones.
Such features are abundant at the ruins Avdat, Shivta and Mamshit. At Haluza two vertical cracks can be seen in a long doorstep (strike azimuth 121º) in the excavated courtyard (Fig. 7). It is important to note that the doorstep and two stones standing on it (probably a fragment of a previous wall) are tilted toward NE (azimuth ~32º) at an angle of about 80º
Cracked Window Beams Cathedral
8 Cracked window beams are common features of seismic damage. Many of them were observed in ancient Negev cities. As in the case with doorsteps, their preferential occurrence in walls of the same trend can serve as a kinematic indicator of seismic motions acting parallel to the trends of window beams. Generally, these data are supportive material to ›strong‹ seismic deformations, but in some cases one can prove that the crack in a beam occurred because of static loading. For example, a crack in a beam above the window (in a room behind the Cathedral) can be explained by loading from above, but it is impossible to explain a crack in the window-sill (Fig. 8 a) in the same way. The strike azimuth of both broken beams is 126°. A model explaining this damage pattern is presented in Fig. 8 b.
Tilted Walls Theater (Fig. 10)
9
10
Tilting and (following) collapse of walls and columns are very common damage patterns described in many archeoseismological publications. However, tilting and collapse of buildings can be also caused by action of static loading or weathering in time, poor quality of a building or its design, consequences of military activity or deformation of building basement because of differential subsidence of the ground etc. However, a systematic pattern of the directional collapse of walls of the same trend proves a seismic origin of the damage. These patterns can be explained as an inertial response of buildings to propagation of seismic motions in the underlying grounds (Fig. 9).
For example the upper part of a wall of the Theater at Haluza is tilted toward NE43° at an angle of 69° (Fig. 10). Another wall of the same building was also tilted. It is preserved only up to its third row of stones (height is 83 cm above the ground), but the whole wall was tilted toward NE42° at an angle of 74°. Note an opening between stones of the tilted wall and the perpendicular one.
Perpendicular Trends of Collapsed and Preserved Arches Theater
11
12
At the ruins of ancient cities one can observe different types of arch deformations. In some cases the stones of a collapsed arch are found along a straight line on the ground, whereas in other cases arch stones are found in a crescent pattern. These cases provide indicators of the direction of the respective seismic wave propagation – at the first case the destructive seismic waves propagated parallel to the arch trend, whereas at the second case they propagated perpendicular to the arch trend. An arch at the Theater at Haluza collapsed in a crescent pattern (Fig. 11). Its trend was 130° and its stones collapsed toward 220°SW. The deviation of the collapsed stones from the straight line is 20.5 cm. This observation reveals that the propagation of the seismic waves was along a SW-NE axis. In contrast, an arch with a perpendicular strike (45°) in an adjacent room was preserved (Fig. 12).
Collapse of Columns Cathedral
13 Collapse of columns is a most spectacular feature of seismic destruction. A drum fragment is seen near the pedestal of a fallen eastern column in the Cathedral (Fig. 13). There are traces of lead on the surface of the pedestal, which was a binding matter between the pedestal and the upper column drum. Traces of lead were also preserved in the lower part of the column’s lower drum which collapsed toward NE45°. Thus, the seismic waves of an ancient earthquake propagated along the NE-SW axis.
Shift of Building Elements Theater (Fig. 15)
14
15
Horizontal shifts of the upper part of building constructions can be explained in the same way as tilting and collapse. The lower part of the structure moved together with ground onto direction of the seismic movements, but the upper part of the buildings stayed behind because of inertia (Fig. 14). Such displacements of building elements is a known phenomenon of earthquake deformation of ancient buildings and is used for determination of seismic motions’ direction, similar to the case of wall tilt and collapse.
At Haluza an external wall of the western part of the Theater has been shifted to SW 215º (Fig. 15). The upper row of stones was shifted by 7 cm, and it was also slightly tilted (dip angle is 81º) to the same direction.
Earthquake Damage Restorations Cathedral
16
17
18
Clustered repairs or changes of the building style of houses of the same age can serve as supportive evidence of a seismic origin of the deformation. These repairs and later rebuilding are usually of a lower quality than the original structures. Such poor rebuilding is typical for earthquake-prone regions in less-developed areas of the world even today.
The ruins of Haluza reveal features of later restoration, e. g. walls supporting Cathedral’s columns (Fig. 16) blocked former entrances (Fig. 17), secondary use of stones and column drums (Fig. 18), walls built later, features of repair of the water reservoir, the addition of the side apses to the original single-apse structure of the Cathedral etc. All these damage restorations provide solid evidence of a former strong earthquake.
Earthquake Debris Filling Part of a Corridor at the Theater Theater 19 Negev observed filling of part of a corridor at the Theater, and concluded »the bones and pottery vessels appear to be contemporary with the period of use of the theatre, and they may therefore represent the remains of meals taken during religious festivities conducted in the theatre. Similar filling of a corridor, surrounding a Buddhist temple, was found at the Medieval Koylyk archeological site (SE Kazakhstan) that was located along the Great Silk Route. In this case the researcher concluded that the filling of the corridor was to prevent future collapse of walls that were tilted during an earthquake (Fig. 19).
A Dump of Destructive Earthquake Debris Dumps located northwest of Haluza are another interesting feature. Excavation of one of the dumps revealed that it did not contain kitchen refuse, as was common, but mainly fine dust and some burnt bricks and clay pipes. It is also important to mention that the pottery, discovered by Colt’s expedition of 1938 in the city dumps, was not earlier than the late Roman period. Based on these data, Negev came to the conclusion that this garbage hill, as well as other huge dumps surrounding the city, was made by the local inhabitants that cleaned dust and threatening sand dunes, which finally doomed it.
Waelkens et al. (2000) described a large dump at ancient Sagalassos (SW Turkey), containing many coins, sherds, small stones and mortar fragments, including stucco, piled up against the fortification walls, so that the latter lost completely their defensive function. The authors concluded that the material inside this dump represents debris cleaned out from the city after a destructive earthquake. Existence of a significant quantity of burnt brick fragments and broken clay pipes at the Haluza dumps is an evidence of a strong earthquake, which partly or completely destroyed the city. As a result the city [was] abandoned for some time, and storms brought in dust from the desert. Later settlers cleaned the ruins from the dust, sand, broken pipes and bricks, which they could not use, but they reused sandstone and limestone blocks to restore the city. Similar dumps of garbage exist on the slopes of Avdat and the same interpretation was reached.

Intensity Estimates

1st earthquake

It is presumed that at least some of the Seismic Effects categorized as Earthquake Damage Restorations were a result of the 1st earthquake so these will be used to estimate Intensity for the 1st earthquake.

Effect Description Intensity
Rotated and displaced masonry blocks in walls and drums in columns 18 VIII +
Displaced Walls 17 VII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

2nd earthquake

Because the observations of Korjenkov and Mazor (1999a) are derived from what is presumed to be 2 separate earthquakes (Byzantine and post-Byzantine), it is not entirely clear which seismic effect should be assigned to which earthquake. However, as the second earthquake is thought to be associated with abandonment, it can be assumed that most seismic effects are associated with the second earthquake. The table below lists some of these seismic effects but should be considered tentative.

Effect Description Intensity
Tilted Walls Fig. 10 VI +
Penetrative fractures in masonry Blocks Fig. 4 VI +
Fallen Columns Fig. 13 V+
Collapsed arches Fig. 11 VI +
Displaced Masonry Blocks Fig. 15 VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Korjenkov and Mazor (1999)'s seismic characterization

Korjenkov and Mazor (1999a) estimated a minimum seismic intensity of VIII–IX (MSK Scale), an epicenter a few tens of kilometers away, and an epicentral direction to the NE or SW - most likely to the NE. Their discussion supporting these conclusions is repeated below:
Joints crossing several adjacent stones (e. g. Fig. 4 ) indicate destruction by a high-energy earthquake, as the energy was sufficient to overcome the stress-shadow of the empty space between the building stones. Tilts of the walls (Fig. 10 ), fallen columns (Fig. 13 ), shifted collapse of an arch (Fig. 11 ), shift of a stone row of the wall (Fig. 15 ) – all these observations disclose that the destructive seismic waves arrived along a NE-SW axis (~40º), most probably from NE. Although all of the buildings in the city were well built and had one or two floors, all of them were severely damaged by an earthquake. The significant seismic deformations observed in the buildings indicate a local seismic intensity of at least I = VIII–IX (MSK Scale). This requires a strong shock arriving from a nearby epicenter, most probably a few tens of kilometers from Haluza. This supposition is based on the fact that short-period seismic waves, which tend to be destructive to low structures (which have short-period harmonic frequencies), attenuate at short distances from the epicenter.

Notes and Further Reading

References

Mampsis

SE Mampsis Photo 2

Southeastern part of town [Mampsis] showing city-wall

Negev (1988)


Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Mamshit Hebrew ממשית‎
Kurnub Modern Arabic كورنوب
Kurnub Nabatean ?
Mampsis Byzantine Greek Μαμψις
Memphis Ancient Greek Μέμφις
Introduction

Mampsis was initially occupied at least as early as the 2nd century BCE when it was a station on a secondary part of the Incense Road (Avraham Negev in Stern et al, 1993). It appears on the Madaba Map as Μαμψις (Mampsis). It went into decline or was abandoned in the 7th century CE .

Chronology

Korzhenkov and Mazor (2003) analyzed damage patterns at Mampsis utilizing 250 cases of 12 different types of deformation patterns which they were able to resolve into two separate earthquake events on the basis of the age of the buildings which showed damage. The fact that the two different events showed distinct directional patterns - the first earthquake with an indicated epicenter to the north and the second with an epicenter to the SW - was taken as confirmation that they had successfully separated out archeoseismic measurements for each individual event. The first earthquake, according to Korzhenkov and Mazor (2003) struck around the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 4th century CE and the second struck in the 7th century CE - at the end of the Byzantine period. They provided the following comments regarding dating of the earthquakes
To determine exact ages of the destructive earthquakes, which destroyed the ancient Mamshit, was not possible by methods used in given study. It has to be a special pure archeological and historical research by specific methods related to that field. Age of the first earthquake was taken from a work of Negev (1974) who has conducted main excavation activity in the site. As concern to the second earthquake – the archeological study reveals that the seismically destroyed Byzantine cities were not restored. So, most probably, one of the strong earthquakes in VII Cent. A.D. caused abandonment.

Mamshit thrived, in spite of its location in a desert, thanks to runoff collecting dams, and storage of the precious rain water in public ponds and private cisterns. These installations were most probably severely damaged during the earthquake, cutting at once the daily water supply, forcing the inhabitants to seek refuge in the more fertile regions. This situation was most probably followed by looting by local nomads, turning a temporal seek of shelter into permanent abandonment.
Deciphering chronology at Mampsis has unfortunately been problematic.
First Earthquake - Early Byzantine ?

Negev (1974) dated the first earthquake to late 3rd/early 4th century via coins and church architectural styles however he dates construction of the East Church, where some archaeoseismic evidence for the first earthquake was found, to the 2nd half of the 4th century CE. Given this apparent contradiction, I am labeling the date of the first earthquake at Mamphis as "Early Byzantine ?".

Second Earthquake - 5th - 7th centuries CE ?

The date for the second earthquake also seems tenuous as Negev (1974:412) and Negev (1988) indicate that Mampsis suffered destruction by human agency long before the official Arab conquest of the Negev and the town ceased to exist as a factor of any importance after the middle of the 5th century. However, Magness (2003) pointed out that there is evidence for some type of occupation at Mampsis beyond the middle of the 5th century CE.

The small amount of Byzantine pottery published to date from Mamshit also indicates that occupation continued through the second half of the sixth and seventh centuries. There are examples of dipinti on amphoras of early fifth to mid seventh century date. Early Islamic presence is attested by Arabic graffiti on the stones of the apse of the East Church (Negev, 1988). More recently published evidence for sixth to seventh century occupation, as well as for early Islamic occupation, comes from a preliminary report on the 1990 excavations. The description of Building IV, which is located on the slope leading to the East Church, states that "the building continued to function in the Early Islamic period (7th century c.E.) with no architectural changes 122. The large residence, Building XII, contained mostly material dating to the fifth century, but pottery of the "Late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods" was also present 123. In 1993-94, T. Erickson-Gini conducted salvage excavations in several areas at Mamshit, under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The pottery she found includes Fine Byzantine Ware Form lA bowls, and examples of Late Roman "C" (Phocean Red Slip Ware) Form 3, African Red Slip Ware Form 105, and Cypriot Red Slip Ware Form 9 (Erickson-Gini, 2004). This evidence indicates that the occupation at Mamshit continued through the late sixth century and into the seventh century. The Arabic graffiti on the apse of the East Church reflect some sort of early Islamic presence at the site, the nature of which is unclear.
Considering this dating difficulty, I am labeling the date for the second earthquake as "5th -7th centuries CE ?".

Early 2nd century CE earthquake

Russell (1985) cited Negev (1971:166) for evidence of early second century earthquake destruction at Mamphis. Negev (1971) reports extensive building activity in Mamphis in the early second century AD obliterating much of the earlier and smaller infrastructure. However, neither a destruction layer nor an earthquake is mentioned. Citing Erickson-Gini (1999) and Erickson-Gini (2001), Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) cast doubt on Russell (1985)'s assertion of archeoseismic damage at Mamphis stating that recent research indicates a continuation of occupation throughout the 1st and 2nd cent. A.D.. Continuous occupation could indicate that seismic damage was limited rather than absent.

Seismic Effects

Seismic Effects - First Earthquake - Early Byzantine ? - Lower parts of buildings (built in Nabatean and Roman Periods)

Damage Type Location Figure Comments
Systematic Tilting of Walls E of West Church

Entire Site
3a
3b
3c
3d
Observed damage pattern: tilted walls or wall segments (Figs. 3 a. b). By convention, the direction of tilting is defined by the direction pointed by the upper part of the tilted segment. Only cases of tilting of most of the wall were included in this study.
Statistical observations: The data of surveyed cases of tilting are summed up in Tab. 1. 30 cases of tilting were observed at walls trending 55° to 105°, out of these 26 are tilted northward, and only 4 are tilted southward (Tab. 1 and Fig.3 c). In contrast, only 8 cases of tilting were observed in the perpendicular walls, with a 135° to 185° trend, and out of these the tilting is in 4 cases eastward and in 4 cases westward. Thus, a clear preference of northward tilting is observed at the Roman ruins of Mamshit.

Interpretation: Preferentially oriented tilts of the walls is becoming a common technique for recognition of a seismic nature of damage applied in archeoseimology ... An analysis of the seismic motions and resulting stresses in Mamshit is given in Fig. 3 d, leading to the conclusion that a seismic shocks arrived from north.
Lateral Shifting of Building Elements E of West Church
4 Observed damage pattern: northward shifting by 8 cm, as well as severe cracking of the lowest stone in a 175° trending arch (Fig.4). Thus, a large building element was shifted, and in addition slightly rotated clockwise. The location is at the eastern line of fodder-basins of a complex of stables, at a residential quarter east of the West Church.

Statistical observations: 14 cases of shifting were observed.

Interpretation: Displacement of the building elements is a known phenomenon of earthquake deformation in ancient buildings and was used for the determination of the seismic motions’ directions as wall tilt or collapse. The only process that could cause such shifting is an earthquake – no other mechanism is known. In Mamshit the seismic shocks arrived from north and the push movements were transmitted from the ground to the building foundations, causing the arch to move in an opposite direction, i e. towards the epicenter, due to inertia.
Rotation of Wall Fragments around a Vertical Axis ENE of West Church

Near Frescoes House

Entire Site
5a
5b
5c
5d
Observed damage pattern: 1. An example of clockwise rotation of stones within a wall trending 172°, in a room located ENE of the West Church (Fig. 5 a). Stone A was rotated 5° clockwise and stone B was rotated 10° clockwise, the horizontal displacement between these rotated stones being 21.5 cm.. An example of a counterclockwise rotation in the northern wall of the Frescoes House (Fig. 5 b); the trend of the wall was 59° and the azimuth of the rotated wall fragment is 57°.
Statistical observations: Walls trending 150° to 175° revealed 22 cases of rotation, and out of them 16 are clockwise and only 6 counterclockwise (Fig. 5 c). The perpendicular walls, trending 60° to 95° revealed 27 cases of rotation, out of which 24 cases are counterclockwise and only 3 cases are clockwise. Thus, a clearly systematic picture of rotations is seen: counterclockwise in ENE walls and clockwise in SSE walls (Fig. 5 c).

Interpretation: Rotation of individual stones, fragments of the walls, or whole walls around a vertical axis is common phenomenon during strong recent and ancient earthquakes. Pulling out of foundation stones accompanying by their rotation in spite of their solid cement testifies on just dynamic beating out of them in the process of sharp horizontal oscillations of the all wall (and not only of its upper part) relatively the foundation. Seismic ground motion is the only mechanism that can cause rotation of building elements, a conclusion well supported by the large number of observed rotation cases and the obvious directional systematics. The theoretical background of this phenomenon in the buildings was described in details by Korzhenkov and Mazor (1999a) and Korzhenkov and Mazor (1999b). In Mamshit an analysis of the direction of the seismic motion, as derived from the dominant rotation patterns is presented in Fig. 5 d, revealing that the epicenter was approximately at NNE.
Cracking of Door Steps, Staircases and Lintels Administrative Tower

E of West Church

Entire Site
6a
6b
6c
7a
7b
8
Observed damage pattern: A 175° trending doorstep of the entrance into one of the rooms of the Administrative Tower was cracked at its southern part (Fig. 6 a) and a similar damage pattern is seen in the doorstep of another room, located eastward within the same building (Fig. 6 b).
Cracks in a staircase of the Late Nabatean Building, located east of the West Church, is seen in Fig. 7 a. Double arrays there show direction of walls swinging. Because of pressure from tilting wall the doorstep got extra-loading which led to cracking of it.
Statistical observations: Fig. 8 reveals that out of 44 observed cases of distinct cracking in Roman buildings, 32 are in northward trending structures (mainly 180°), and only 12 cases are seen in structures included in the perpendicular walls (trending around 90°).

Interpretation: Cracks breaking special building elements, like doorsteps, staircases and lintels, are an important indicator for evaluation of the seismic damage. The cracking process of the doorsteps shown in Figs. 6 a. b are suggested in Fig. 6 c, and the damages seen in the staircase shown in Fig. 7 a is discussed in Fig. 7 b. The conclusion in each of these cases is that the southern wall was tilted northward by inertia in reaction to seismic shocks from the north, indicating the epicenter location was northward of Mamshit. The clear preferential occurrence of cracks in N-S trending walls is in agreement with this conclusion.
Slipped Keystones of Arches W of Eastern Church

Stables - E of West Church
9a
9b
9c
Observed damage pattern: A 174° trending arch, located in a room west of the Eastern Church, exhibits a keystone that slipped 6cm down of its original position, as can be seen in Fig. 9 a. A pair of keystones slipped 3cm down in a 175° trending arch located above the third fodder-basin in the Stables (Fig. 9 b). An important auxiliary observation is that in these cases the arches themselves were not deformed.

Statistical observations: Two cases of slipped keystones were observed, both in N-S trending arches.

Interpretation. Hanging keystones themselves are a strong evidence of seismic origin of such type of deformations, but they also can be used as a kinematic indicator telling about seismic motions direction of a historical earthquake. Displacement of an arch keystone reflects an event of brief extension, during which the keystone slipped, followed by rapid return to the regular state of compression that fixed the keystone in its present state. Such a brief state of extension discloses arrival of seismic shocks that was transmitted to the base of the arch, causing its upper part to be momentarily tilted in the direction of the epicenter, the part facing the epicenter being more effected, as depicted in Fig. 9 c. The observed slipping of the keystone could have occurred in a number of steps during a series of oscillations of the upper part of the arch. The observation that otherwise the arch remained in its original position indicates that the seismic push arrived from a direction parallel to the trend of the arch, as otherwise the arch would be tilted and collapse side wards. Thus, the described cases indicate that the seismic motions were parallel to the direction of the respective arches, i. e. along a N-S direction.
Jointing Administrative Tower
10a
10b
Observed damage pattern: At the western wall of the Administrative Tower, trending 178°, an 88cm long joint is seen crossing two stones (Fig.10 a). A 70cm long joint is seen at the lower support stone of a 178° trending arch, located in a room west of the Administrative Tower (Fig.10 b).

Statistical observations: 12 through-going joints were observed.

Interpretation: Joints crossing a few adjacent stones is one of the strong evidences of seismic origin of the deformations. Formation of such joints has been reported in many macroseismic studies. For example, Korjenkov and I. N. Lemzin described such joints formed in modern buildings during the Kochkor-Ata (Southern Kyrghyzstan) 1992 earthquake of a magnitude MLH = 6.2. Such through-going joints are formed only as a result of high intensity earthquake – high energy is necessary to overcome the stress shadow of free surfaces at the stone margins (i. e., the free space between adjacent stones). ... At Mamshit the joints occurred together with the other listed seismic damage patterns.
Pushing of Walls by Connected Perpendicular Walls Entire site 11 Observed damage pattern: Clockwise and counterclockwise rotations of adjacent stones in a wall, caused by a push of a connected perpendicular wall (Fig. 11).

Statistical observations: 6 cases of such pushes were observed in Mamshit ruins.

Interpretation: A strong seismic event pushed the perpendicular wall. Hence, the seismic motions came along an axis parallel to the pushed wall. In the case of Mamshit this was along a N-S direction.
Percentage of Heavily Damaged Buildings Entire site The destroyed Roman buildings were rebuilt and, thus, many of the destroyed building parts were cleared away. The large number of deformation patterns that seen in the remaining parts of the Roman period buildings makes room to the assessment that practically all houses were damaged. Thus, the intensity of the tremor was IX EMS-98 scale or more.

Seismic Effects - Second Earthquake - 5th -7th centuries CE ? - Upper parts of buildings (repaired and built in the Byzantine Period)

Damage Type Location Figure Comments
Tilting of Walls S of West Church

Entire Site
12a
12b
12c
12d
Observed damage pattern: The upper row of stones of a N-S (176°) trending wall, in a room south of the West Church, is tilted westward by an angle of 75° (Fig. 12 a). The upper stones of a wall trending N-S (174°), in a room south of the premises of the West Church, are also tilted westward, in an angle of 75° (Fig. 12 b).

Statistical observations: 50 cases of tilting have been found on 145° to 185° trending walls, out of which 47 are tilted WSW and only 3 cases are tilted ENE (Fig. 12 c). In contrast, 50° to 100° trending walls revealed only 14 cases of tilting and with no systematic direction.

Interpretation: The seismic pulses arrived from WSW.
Rotation of Wall Fragments around a Vertical Axis E of West Church

House of Frescoes

Entire Site
13a
13b
13c
13d
Observed damage pattern: A 4° clockwise rotation is seen in the upper part of a N-S (172°) trending wall, situated in a room of the Late Nabatean Building (Fig. 13 a). In contrast, a counterclockwise rotation of 5° is seen in part of an E-W (62°) trending wall in the House of Frescoes (Fig. 13 b).

Statistical observations: Walls trending 60° to 85° reveal 9 cases of counter-clockwise rotation versus just 1 case of clockwise rotation (Fig. 13 c). In contrast, out of 14 cases of rotation in 155° to 180° trending walls, 13 are rotated clockwise, and only 1 counterclockwise.

Interpretation: The seismic shocks arrived from SW, i.e. in the direction of the bisector to the trend of the walls (Fig. 13 d).

Seismic Effects - Additional Imprints of Severe Earthquakes

Damage Type Location Figure Comments
Blocking of Entrances West City Wall

XII quarter
14a
14b
Observation: Fig. 14 a depicts a gate in the western city wall, close to its SW corner, that was blocked by smaller stones. The wall edge is tilted towards the former entrance, disclosing that the latter was blocked in order to support the wall that was damaged, most probably by an earthquake. The blocking stones are tilted as well, possibly disclosing the impact of another earthquake. Fig. 14 b shows an entrance in the eastern wall of a room of the XII quarter that was blocked to support the lintel that was cracked (marked by arrows), most possibly during a former earthquake.

Statistical observations: 4 cases of blocked entrances one can observe in Mamshit ruins.

Interpretation: Earthquake(s) is one of possible reasons for such type of building activity. ... So, the entrances in some places at Mamshit were possibly blocked in a number of cases in order to repair observable seismic damage. In other instances damaged structures had to be turn down and occasionally rebuilt.
Mismatch of Lower Stone Rows and Upper Parts of Buildings E of East Church
15 Observation: The lower row of stones of the western wall of a room, east of the East Church, protrudes from the plane of the rest of the wall (Fig. 15).

Statistical observations: 12 cases of mismatching were observed in Mamshit.

Interpretation: Two stages of building are disclosed: the original structure was destroyed by an earthquake, dismantled, and a new wall was built, using the old foundation, but following a somewhat different direction. Such phenomenon was also observed in adjacent ruins of ancient Avdat and Shivta, which were damaged by strong historical earthquakes.
Supporting Walls South City Wall
16 Observation: Fig. 16 discloses a section of the southern city wall (trending 66°) that is tilted by 81° to SES (marked by a dashed line), and connected to it are seen the remains of a special support wall (shown by an arrow). Part of the support wall was dissembled during the archeological excavations, to expose the tilting of the original wall.

Statistical observations: One supporting wall was observed in Mamshit ruins.

Interpretation: Various segments of city wall were tilted at an earlier earthquake (most probably during the Roman period) and repaired later on (most probably during the Byzantine stage of rebuilding). Such supporting walls were observed in another cities in the Negev desert, like Avdat, Shivta, Rehovot-ba-Negev and Sa’adon. Together with another "pure" features of the seismic deformations, they can be used as additional supportive evidence of earthquake damage.
Secondary Use of Building Stones East Church
17a
17b
Observation: Fig. 17 a shows a secondary use of a segment of a column, western wall of the main hall of the East Church. Fig. 17 b displays the eastern wall of a room at the East Church quarter, disclosing a lower- right part that protrudes 7 to 12cm, as compared to the upper-left part that is built of reused smaller stones, disclosing a stage of repair and rebuilding.

Statistical observations: 9 walls with secondary use of building stones were found in Mamshit.

Interpretation: The rather common secondary use of building materials in the Byzantine buildings may well reflect the destruction of the Roman buildings that were severely damaged by the earthquake that is identified by the long list of damage patterns discussed so far.
Incorporation of Wooden Beams in Stone Buildings Administrative Tower
18a
18b
Observation: A high quality wooden beam is incorporated as a second lintel above a door in a room at the Administrative Tower (Fig. 18 a). Another beam is incorporated in the same building between two door steps (Fig. 18 b).

Statistical observations: 2 cases of wooden beams were found in Mamshit ruins.

Interpretation: The builders of Mamshit were aware of the seismic danger and incorporated wooden beams to absorb future seismic shocks. Horizontally placed beams lowered mainly the effect of the vertical component of seismic motions. Laying inside the walls of a regular longitudinal-diametrical framework from the wooden beams is a typical antiseismic method of Medieval Turkish construction noticed by A. A. Nikonov (1996) during his archeo-seismological study in Crimean Peninsular.
Bulging of Wall Parts West City Wall
19a
19b
Observation: The central part of the western city wall, trending SES (152°), is bulged westwards, as is seen in Fig. 19 in a photo and a sketch.

Statistical observations: 11 cases of bulging of central parts of the walls were observed in Mamshit.

Interpretation: The city wall is well built of massive stones and, thus, deformation due to poor building most probably can be ruled out. This seems to be the result of a strong earthquake.
Percentage of Heavily Damaged Buildings Entire Site Practically all the buildings of the Byzantine period were damaged, more that 50% are estimated to have been destroyed. Thus, the intensity of the tremor was IX at the EMS-98 scale or more.

Archaeoseismic Analysis

Archaeoseismic Analysis - First Earthquake - Early Byzantine ?

Korzhenkov and Mazor (2003) provided the following analysis for the first earthquake:

The Lower Parts of the Buildings, Reflecting Mainly the Earthquake of the End of the 3rd cent. or Beginning of the 4th cent.

The walls of the houses of Mamshit had a general orientation of around ENE (~ 75°) and SES (~165°). Hence, a quadrangle of these directions may serve as the basis for a general discussion of the observed damage patterns, in order to deduce the direction of arrival of the seismic movements.

Arrival of the seismic motions from north has been concluded for the 4th cent. event. Let us discuss in this context three possibilities:

  1. If the strong seismic pulses would have arrived from NWN, the walls perpendicular to this direction (ENE) would experience quantitative and systematic tilting (as well as collapse) toward the epicenter, whereas the perpendicular walls (SES) would have distinctly less cases of tilting and they would be in random to both NEN and NWN (Fig. 20 a ). Rotations would be scarce and at random directions. This is not the case of the lower parts of buildings (Roman period) at Mamshit.
  2. If the strong seismic shocks would have arrived along the bisector of the trend of the walls (i.e. from NEN), the walls trending ENE would have undergone both systematic tilting toward NWN and anticlockwise rotation, whereas the perpendicular walls (trending SES) would experience systematic tilting toward NEN and clockwise rotation (Fig. 20 b ), but this is not the case of the lower parts of buildings (Roman period) at Mamshit.
  3. If the epicenter was at the north, the ENE trending walls would undergo systematic tilting to the NWN and systematic counterclockwise rotations, whereas the SES trending walls would suffer of a few cases of random tilting but systematic clockwise rotations (Fig. 20 c ). This combination of damage pattern orientations fits the observations at the lower parts of the buildings at Mamshit, leading to the conclusion that the epicenter of the devastating earthquake at the end of the 3rd cent. or beginning of the 4th cent. was north of Mamshit.
The systematic directional deformation patterns disclose that the hypocenter was not beneath Mamshit, but to the north of it, and the concluded intensity of IX or more, suggests the epicenter was in several-first tens of km away. Future field investigations are recommended to check for evidence of recent tectonic activity in the Judean Desert.

Archaeoseismic Analysis - Second Earthquake - 5th -7th centuries CE ?

Korzhenkov and Mazor (2003) provided the following analysis for the first earthquake:

The Upper Parts of the Buildings, Reflecting Mainly the 7th cent. Earthquake

The direction of the epicenter of the 7th cent. strong earthquake has been concluded to have been SW of Mamshit. In this connection let us examine three possibilities, bearing in mind that the walls of the houses of Mamshit had a general orientation of around ENE (~ 75°) and SES (~165°):
  1. If the strong seismic shocks would have arrived from WSW, the walls perpendicular to this direction (SES) would experience quantitative and systematic tilting toward the epicenter, whereas the perpendicular walls (ENE) would have distinctly less cases of tilting and they would be in random directions and not to the epicenter (Fig. 21 a ). Rotations would be scarce and at random directions. This is not the case of the upper parts of buildings (Byzantine period) at Mamshit.
  2. If the strong seismic pulses would have arrived along the bisector of the trend of the walls (i.e. from SWS), the walls trending ENE would have under¬gone both systematic tilting toward NWN and counterclockwise rotation, whereas the perpendicular walls (trending SES) would experience systematic tilting toward NEN and clockwise rotation (Fig. 21 b ), but this is not the case of the upper parts of buildings (Byzantine period) at Mamshit.
  3. If the epicenter was at SW, the SES trending walls would undergo systematic tilting to the SW and systematic clockwise rotations, whereas the ENE trending walls would suffer of a few cases of random tilting but systematic counterclockwise rotations (Fig. 21 c ). This combination of damage pattern orientations fits the observations at the upper parts of the buildings at Mamshit, leading to the conclusion that the epicenter of the devastating seventh century earthquake was SW of Mamshit.
The systematic directional deformation patterns disclose that the hypocenter was not beneath Mamshit, but to the SW of it, and the concluded intensity of IX or more suggests the epicenter was in several-first tens of km away. Future field investigations are recommended to check for evidence of recent tectonic activity along E-W trending faults in the Negev Desert.

Intensity Estimates

First Earthquake - Early Byzantine ?

Effect Location Intensity
Tilted Walls E of West Church VI+
Displaced Masonry Blocks E of West Church
ENE of West Church
Near Frescoes House
VIII+
Folded Steps and Kerbs Administrative Tower VI+
Dropped Keystones in Arches W of Eastern Church
Stables - E of West Church
VI+
Penetrative fractues in Masonry Blocks Administrative Tower VI+
Displaced Walls Entire Site VII+
Collapsed Walls Entire Site VIII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Korjenkov and Mazor (2003)'s Seismic Characterization

This was a strong earthquake with an epicenter at the north, and an EMS-98 scale intensity of IX or more. This is a minimum value because the wrecks of the most badly struck buildings had most probably been completely removed, leaving no trace. Thus, our observations are biased toward the lower end of the intensity scale.
...
In the present study the two earthquakes were resolved by the archeological identification that the Roman town was rebuilt at the Byzantine period, and the latter fell into ruins as well. The archeoseismological resolution of the two earthquakes is validated in the present case by the observation that the epicenters were at different directions – north in the first event and SW in the second.
...
The percentage of collapsed buildings of the Roman town is hard to estimate as most of them have been cleared away and rebuilt. Yet, an estimate can be done by the extended rebuilding - most of the second floors or upper parts of high structures were rebuilt at the Byzantine stage, leading to an estimate that at lest 15% of the Roman period buildings were destroyed at the end of the 3rd cent. or beginning of the 4th cent. earthquake. Thus, according to the European Macroseismic Scale of 1998 (EMS-98) an earthquake intensity of IX or more is concluded.
...
Zero distance is ruled out in both studied earthquakes on the basis that most of the observed seismic deformations were caused by lateral movements. Hence, the hypocenter was not beneath Mamshit.
...
The observed dominance of lateral movements in both earthquakes indicates the epicenter was away at some distance from the epicenter. Future studies will have to address this point.
...
The large body of damage patterns surveyed at Mamshit provides a fairly simple picture: devastation was caused mainly by lateral movements that arrived from the fault rupture zone. These observations were made for both earthquakes – the one at the end of the 3rd cent. or beginning of the 4th cent. that had its epicenter at the north, and the second at the 7th cent. that had its epicenter at SW.

Discontinuous Deformation Analysis by Kamai and Hatzor (2005)

Kamai and Hatzor (2005) performed Discontinuous Deformation Analysis (DDA) on a model

for a dropped keystone in an arch near the Eastern Church in Mampsis. The optimal model , using a sinusoidal input with an amplitude of 0.5 g and a frequency of 1 Hz., produced 3.11 cm. of displacement vs. 4 cm. measured in the field. The conclusion was that the keystone dropped due an earthquake with a PGA of ~0.5 g and a center frequency of ~1 Hz.. 0.5 g translates to an Intensity of 8.2 using Equation 2 of Wald et al (1999). In their modeling, Kamai and Hatzor (2005) found that low frequencies (e.g. 0.5 Hz.) resulted in strong fluctuations and high frequencies (e.g. 5 and 10 Hz.) resulted in a "locking" of the structure and very little displacement. Accelerations between 0.32 and 0.8 g produced reasonable values of keystone displacement although 0.5 g produced the most amount of displacement and the closest amount of displacement to what is observed in the field.

Kamai and Hatzor (2007) reiterated the same study at Mampsis noting that keystone displacement only occurred in the frequency range of 1.0 - 1.5 Hz. and that seismic amplification might have been at play at the higher parts of the structure (i.e. the "Sky-scraper effect" mentioned by Korzhenkov), thus amplifying bedrock PGA by as much as 2.5. This led to a bracket of PGA values for the dropped keystone between 0.2 and 0.5 g. These PGA values convert to Intensities of 6.7 - 8.2 using Equation 2 of Wald et al (1999).
Variable Input Units Notes
g Peak Horizontal Ground Acceleration
Variable Output - Site Effect not considered Units Notes
unitless Conversion from PGA to Intensity using Wald et al (1999)
  

Model Values and Lab derived properties

Model Values

Property Value Units
Friction angle of arch 35 degrees
Friction angle of wall 40 degrees
Young's Modulus of arch 17 Gpa
Young's Modulus of wall 1 Mpa
Height of Wall above arch 0 m
Model was run in qk.mode. An unusually low model value of Young's Modulus for the wall (1 Mpa) was explained as reasonable when one considers the heterogeneity of the wall where spaces between the wall blocks are filled with soft filling materials.

Lab Measurements of original stones from Mampsis
Property Value Units
Density 1890 kg./m3
Porosity 30 - 38 %
Dynamic Young's Modulus 16.9 Gpa
Dynamic Shear Modulus 6.17 Gpa
Dynamic Poisson's Ratio 0.37 unitless
Interface friction angle 35 degrees

Second Earthquake - 5th -7th centuries CE ?

Effect Location Intensity
Tilted Walls S of West Church
Entire Site
VI+
Displaced Masonry Blocks E of West Church
House of Frescoes
VIII+
Collapsed Walls Entire Site VIII+
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) .

Korjenkov and Mazor (2003)'s Seismic Characterization

At the end of the Byzantine period a second earthquake hit the place, the epicenter being this time to the SW, and the intensity was IX or more.
...
The percentage of collapsed buildings of the Byzantine town can be well estimated as the ruins were left untouched. The survey disclosed that at least 15% of the well built stone buildings of Byzantine Mamshit collapsed – practically no second floor structures survived with no severe damage. Hence, according to the EMS-98 an earthquake intensity of IX or more is deduced as well.
...
Zero distance is ruled out in both studied earthquakes on the basis that most of the observed seismic deformations were caused by lateral movements. Hence, the hypocenter was not beneath Mamshit.
...
The observed dominance of lateral movements in both earthquakes indicates the epicenter was away at some distance from the epicenter. Future studies will have to address this point.
...
The large body of damage patterns surveyed at Mamshit provides a fairly simple picture: devastation was caused mainly by lateral movements that arrived from the fault rupture zone. These observations were made for both earthquakes – the one at the end of the 3rd cent. or beginning of the 4th cent. that had its epicenter at the north, and the second at the 7th cent. that had its epicenter at SW.

Notes and Further Reading

References

Korzhenkov, A. and E. Mazor (2003). "Archeoseismology in Mamshit (Southern Israel): Cracking a Millennia-old Code of Earthquakes Preserved in Ancient Ruins." Archäologischer Anzeiger: 51-82.

Negev, A. (1988). The architecture of Mampsis : final report. 1. The Middle and Late Nabatean periods, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Negev, A. (1988) The Architecture of Mampsis, Final Report, Vol. II: The Late Roman and Byzantine Period, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A. Negev (1971), The Nabatean Necropolis of Mamshit (Kurnub), IsrExplJ 21, 1971, 110–129

Negev, A. (1974). "THE CHURCHES OF THE CENTRAL NEGEV AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY." Revue Biblique (1946-) 81(3): 400-421.

Erickson-Gini T. 1999 Mampsis: A Nabataean Roman Settlement in the Central Negev Highlands in Light of the Ceramic and Architectural Evidence Found in Archaeological Excavations During 1993 1994, Unpublished M.A. dissertation, Tel Aviv University.

Erickson-Gini, T. (2004). Crisis and Renewal-settlement in the Central Negev in the Third and Fourth Centuries C. E.: With an Emphasis on the Finds from Recent Excavations in Mampsis, Oboda and Mezad 'En Hazeva, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Erickson-Gini, New Excavations in the Late Roman Quarter in Avdat, Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Archaeological Congress in Israel, Bar Ilan University April 2–3, 2001

Erickson-Gini, T. (2010:47). Nabataean settlement and self-organized economy in The Central Negev: crisis and renewal, Archaeopress.

Kamai, R. and Y. Hatzor (2005). Dynamic back analysis of structural failures in archeological sites to obtain paleo-seismic parameters using DDA. Proceedings of 7th International Conference on the Analysis of Discontinuous Deformation (ICADD-7).

Kamai, R. and Y. H. Hatzor (2008). "Numerical analysis of block stone displacements in ancient masonry structures: A new method to estimate historic ground motions." International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics 32(11): 1321-1340.

Khirbet Tannur

Khirbet Tannur Khirbet Tannur

photo by Jefferson Williams


Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Khirbet et-Tannur Arabic خربة التنور
Introduction

Khirbet Tannur, a Nabatean Temple located atop a flat desolate summit in southern Jordan, was excavated by Nelson Glueck in 1937. The Temple contains three central altars nested like Russian Nesting Dolls The smallest altar was built first in Period I after which a second altar was built around it during Period II. Finally, a third altar was built encompassing the first two.

Chronology

Phasing

As the Temple at Khirbet Tannur was built in a seismically active area, it is thought that most rebuilding episodes were initiated soon after earthquakes damaged parts of the Temple. Glueck (1965:128) and Glueck (1965:138) identified three separate building phases (Periods I, II, and III) and a post-Temple Byzantine squatter occupation. McKenzie et al (2013) redated Periods I, II, and III utilizing an improved understanding of the chronology that can be derived from pottery as well as comparison to other excavated sites in the region. Both Glueck (1965:138) and McKenzie et al (2013) anchored their chronology to the start of Period II which was then extrapolated to starting dates for Periods I and III. Glueck (1965:138) dated the start of Period II to the last quarter of the 1st century BCE based on a dedicatory inscription found during excavations. The inscription created a terminus ante quem of 8/7 BCE as it referred to the second year of a Nabatean King whose wife was named Huldu. This would refer to Aretas IV whose first wife was Huldu and whose reign began in 9 BCE. McKenzie et al (2002:50), however, noticed that the the inscription was not found in situ and that a bowl found underneath paving stones that were put in place soon before Period II construction dates to the late first century CE along with two other bowls which date to the first half of the second century CE. This pottery and comparison to other sites led them to date Period II construction to the first half of the second century CE. McKenzie et al (2013:72) considered it likely that the inscription with a 7/8 BCE date referred to the Period I Temple rather than the Period II Temple as was assumed by Glueck (1965:138). It is unclear why McKenzie et al (2013) date initial Nabatean worship at the site to the late 2nd century BCE if the inscription suggests that Period I construction began shortly before 8/7 BCE. Perhaps initial worship at the site preceded construction of surviving structures. McKenzie et al (2013)'s dates are used in the table below:

Period Start Date End Date Comments
I Late 2nd century BCE 1st half of 2nd century CE
  • Glueck (1965:138) describes the first altar as box-like and resting on top of a crude rubble platform.
II 1st half of 2nd century CE 3rd century CE
  • Glueck (1965:138) reports construction during this period of an inner Altar-Base with steps on its west side which was built around the previous altar.
  • Glueck (1965:106) was not entirely sure that Period II ended with an earthquake stating that earthquake tremors or age or both may have brought about the collapse of the Period II Altar-Base.
  • McKenzie et al (2013:62) suggests that Period III construction which would have occurred soon after the end of Period II probably began in the 3rd century CE in association with other repairs after an earthquake.
III 3rd century CE 363 CE
  • McKenzie et al (2013:62) suggests that Period III construction probably began in the 3rd century CE in association with other repairs after an earthquake
  • McKenzie et al (2013:47,62) dates the end of Period III to the middle of the 4th century CE attributing Period III destruction to the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE.
Byzantine 363 CE 634 CE ?
  • A squatter's house was later constructed on the site. Based on pottery finds, this construction was dated to the Byzantine period. (Glueck, 1965:140).

Dedicatory Inscription Earthquake - Late 1st century BCE

A dedicatory inscription dated to 8/7 BCE indicates building activity around this time which could have been a response to seismic damage.

End of Period I Earthquake - 1st half of 2nd century CE

Glueck (1965:92) found Altar-Base I from Period I severely damaged probably by an earthquake which may have precipitated the rebuild that began Period II. McKenzie et al (2013:47) dated Period II construction, which would have occurred soon after the End of Period I earthquake, to the first half of the 2nd century CE. McKenzie et al (2002:50) noted that a bowl found underneath paving stones that were put in place soon before Period II construction dates to the late first century CE along with two other bowls which date to the first half of the second century CE. This pottery and comparison to other sites led them to date Period II construction to the first half of the second century CE.

End of Period II Earthquake (?) - 3rd century CE

The end of Period II would have occurred shortly before Period III construction which McKenzie et al (2013:62) suggests probably began in the 3rd century CE in association with other repairs after an earthquake. It appears that this date is extrapolated from the date for Period II construction which is chronologically anchored by pottery found in stratigraphic position. McKenzie et al (2002:73) noted similarities in the sculpture of Period III with late antique sculpture in Egypt which suggests the possibility of a date in the third century A.D.. Glueck (1965:106) was not entirely sure that Period II ended with an earthquake stating that earthquake tremors or age or both may have brought about the collapse of the Period II Altar-Base. Glueck (1965:106) characterized Altar-Base II as aesthetically attractive but architecturally weak noting shoddy internal construction particularly the bottom foundation stones (Glueck, 1965:107).

"Further" Earthquake of McKenzie et al (2013) - 3rd - 4th century CE

McKenzie et al (2013:62) reports a further earthquake after Period II construction damaged the colonnades of the Court and that the steps of the Altar Platform were repaired using column drums.

End of Period III Earthquake - 3rd-4th centuries CE

Period III ended when a violent earthquake undoubtedly destroyed [the] entire temple (Glueck, 1965:122). McKenzie et al (2013:47,62) date the end of Period III to the middle of the 4th century CE attributing Period III destruction to the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE. McKenzie et al (2013:159) used the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE as a terminus ante quem for some glassware that they concluded were of a 3rd or early to mid 4th century CE date indicating that they may have used the date of the 363 CE earthquake to refine dating of some artefactual remains rather than the other way around. Hence although they may be right that Period III ended in 363 CE, I am expanding the possible dates for this seismic destruction to the 3rd-4th centuries CE.

Seismic Effects
End of Period I Earthquake - 1st half of 2nd century CE

  • Plan of Khirbet Tannur from McKenzie et al (2013)
Seismic Effects
  • Glueck (1965:90) found that the entire eastern face facade of the Period I Altar had been destroyed, perhaps by an earthquake except for part of the molded angle block on the southeast corner.
  • Glueck (1965:142) reports that the eastern facade of the Period I Altar had been destroyed, down to the bases of three of it's columns
  • Glueck (1965:92) reports that the Period I Altar had to be rebuilt because it had been damaged severely, probably by an earthquake. In addition to the east face being almost completely destroyed, it's north side [was] leaning dangerously outward

End of Period II Earthquake (?) - 3rd century CE

  • Plan of Khirbet Tannur from McKenzie et al (2013)
Seismic Effects
  • The ornate pylon of the east facade of the raised inner temple enclosure collapsed at the end of Period II. (Glueck, 1965:156) - speculative
  • Near the northeast corner of the forecourt are the remains, now only one course high, of the outline of a 2 m square altar, seemingly originally to have belonged to Period II. Destroyed or badly damaged at the end of that period, it was repaired and enlarged in Period III. (Glueck, 1965:157)
Notes
  • Glueck (1965:106) characterized Altar-Base II as aesthetically attractive but architecturally weak noting shoddy internal construction particularly the bottom foundation stones. (Glueck, 1965:107)
  • Glueck (1965:106) states that earthquake tremors or age or both may have brought about the collapse of the Period II Altar-Base indicating that he was not entirely sure that the end of Period II coincides with earthquake destruction.

"Further" Earthquake of McKenzie et al (2013) - 3rd - 4th century CE

  • Plan of Khirbet Tannur from McKenzie et al (2013)
Seismic Effects
  • McKenzie et al (2013:62) reports a further earthquake after Period II construction damaged the colonnades of the Court and that the steps of the Altar Platform were repaired using column drums.

End of Period III Earthquake - 3rd-4th centuries CE

  • Plan of Khirbet Tannur from McKenzie et al (2013)
Seismic Effects
  • The violent earthquake that undoubtedly destroyed the entire Temple of Tannur in Period III, caused what was left of the south wall of Altar-Base III to bulge out and made its steps sag. (Glueck, 1965:122)

Intensity Estimates
End of Period I Earthquake - 1st half of 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Glueck (1965:90) found that the entire eastern face facade of the Period I Altar had been destroyed, perhaps by an earthquake except for part of the molded angle block on the southeast corner. VIII +
Tilted Walls Glueck (1965:92) reports that the walls of the Period I Altar was leaning dangerously outward on it's north side VI +
Fallen Columns Glueck (1965:142) reports that the eastern facade of the Period I Altar had been destroyed, down to the bases of three of it's columns V +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224)

End of Period II Earthquake (?) - 3rd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls The ornate pylon of the east facade of the raised inner temple enclosure collapsed at the end of Period II. (Glueck, 1965:156) - speculative VII +
Collapsed Walls Near the northeast corner of the forecourt are the remains, now only one course high, of the outline of a 2 m square altar, seemingly originally to have belonged to Period II. Destroyed or badly damaged at the end of that period, it was repaired and enlarged in Period III. (Glueck, 1965:157) VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) . However, there are indications that this may have been a weak structure. Glueck (1965:106) characterized Altar-Base II as aesthetically attractive but architecturally weak noting shoddy internal construction particularly the bottom foundation stones (Glueck, 1965:107). Glueck (1965:106) was also unsure that an earthquake damaged Period II structures stating that earthquake tremors or age or both may have brought about the collapse of the Period II Altar-Base. Considering this, the Intensity estimate is downgraded to VI-VII (6-7).

"Further" Earthquake of McKenzie et al (2013) - 3rd - 4th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fallen Columns McKenzie et al (2013:62) reports a further earthquake after Period II construction damaged the colonnades of the Court and that the steps of the Altar Platform were repaired using column drums. V +
Displaced Masonry Blocks in Columns McKenzie et al (2013:62) reports a further earthquake after Period II construction damaged the colonnades of the Court and that the steps of the Altar Platform were repaired using column drums. VIII +
This Intensity estimate should be considered tentative as it is based on secondary use of building stones making it difficult to know how those building stones were damaged and when they were damaged. Although the archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224) , the Earthquake Archeological Effects listed are speculative and beset with uncertainty. Because of this Intensity is bracketed to between V and VIII.

End of Period III Earthquake - 3rd-4th centuries CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Masonry Blocks The violent earthquake that undoubtedly destroyed the entire Temple of Tannur in Period III, caused what was left of the south wall of Altar-Base III to bulge out and made its steps sag. (Glueck, 1965:122) VIII +
Folded steps and kerbs The violent earthquake that undoubtedly destroyed the entire Temple of Tannur in Period III, caused what was left of the south wall of Altar-Base III to bulge out and made its steps sag. (Glueck, 1965:122) VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224)

Notes and Further Reading
References

el-Lejjun

Names

Transliterated Name Language Name
el-Lejjun Arabic يل ليججون
Legio Latin
Betthorus Greek ? bετθορuσ‎
Baetarus
Introduction

The Lejjun Legionary Fortress which was probably Betthorus, the base of Legio IV Martia as specified in the Notita Dignitatum however no proof of this has been found on the site (Parker, 2006).

Chronology

Ceramic evidence suggests that the fort was first built around 300 CE and occupied until the early 6th century CE with later limited occupation in the Ummayad and Late Islamic periods (Parker, 2006). Three "identifiable earthquakes" (Southern Cyril Quake - 363 CE, Fire in the Sky Quake - 502 CE, and the 551 CE Beirut Quake) were interpreted as providing breaks in the stratigraphic sequence which is listed below (JW: the earthquake assignments of 502 and 551 CE are incorrect). There is additional evidence on the site for one or two more earthquakes.

Stratum Period Approximate Dates (CE)
VI Late Roman IV 284-324
VB Early Byzantine I 324-363
VA Early Byzantine II 363-400
IV Early Byzantine III-IV 400-502
III Late Byzantine I-II 502-551
Post Stratum III Gap intermittent use of site for camping and as a cemetery 551-1900
II Ottoman 1900-1918
I Modern 1918-
The stratigraphic framework was based on numismatic and ceramic evidence. The details of the stratigraphy are fairly complex. There are a number of apparent dating contradictions in their report that were explained as intrusive and, while this appears to have been necessary to make sense of the phasing and deal with incidences of stone robbing, etc., it does add some additional uncertainty to the dating. The dates for the 2nd and 3rd earthquakes provided by Parker (2006) are incorrect and may have been relied on to sort through the difficult chronology. Both the Fire in the Sky Quake of 502 CE and the 551 CE Beirut Quake were too far away to have caused the type of devastation reported at el-Lejjun absent some sort of unusual site effect - which does not appear to be present. The dates provided below are based on information in their report rather than their earthquake date assignments.
Possible predecessor earthquake in the early 4th century CE

Lain and Parker (2006:144) report that a beaten earth floor and ash layer in Room A.13 which ante-dated the 1st earthquake (Stratum VI-VB) was chock-full of tile fragments suggesting an apparent roof collapse due to an unknown cause. Such "collapse" debris was not found in any other excavation areas. The floor would have been built after initial construction of the fort which Parker (2006) dates to around 300 CE based on ceramic evidence.

1st Earthquake - 355 CE - 384 CE

Lain and Parker (2006:130) established a terminus post quem of 355 CE in the aedes where architectural installations from a rebuild after the 1st earthquake included a new floor. Underneath the new floor was a layer which yielded Early Byzantine pottery and two coins dated to 330-340 CE and 355 - 385 CE. A terminus ante quem comes from Room A.13 where Lain and Parker (2006:149) report on a 0.25-0.33 m thick beaten earth floor which was constructed from fill and leveled after the first earthquake. In an intrusive pit (A.13.009), a coin hoard was discovered with 249 bronze coins all dated from 326 to 383-384. The latest coin (Coin #461) was an issue of Arcadius dated to 383-384 which provides a terminus ante quem of 384 CE. This earthquake appears to have struck between 355 and 384 CE indicating that it is probable that the southern Cyril Quake was responsible for the seismic damage.

2nd Earthquake - ~450 - ~530 CE

Parker (2006:120) dates underlying Stratum IV to the 5th century CE however noted a relative scarcity of 5th century coinage - something he characterized as a regional phenomenon. Only a few early 5th century coins were recovered and none dated from 450-491 CE. Thus, the terminus post quem for this earthquake is 450 CE. It appears that the legion was demobilized in ca. 530 CE - as suggested by Procopius - according to Parker (2006:121). The latest closely dateable Byzantine coins [in overlying Stratum III] [] are issues of Justinian I dated 534-565 (Parker, 2006:121). There were signs in Stratum III of demobilization and conversion to civilian use such as dumping of debris on the via praetoria which Lain and Parker (2006:157) characterizes as an absence of normal military discipline, the relative dearth of evidence underneath the earthquake debris of the 3rd earthquake in the principia suggesting an orderly and systematic evacuation of the headquarters complex (Lain and Parker, 2006:157) and a corpse interred in Room N.2 something Parker (2006:121) characterizes as a clear loss of military discipline. Thus, the terminus ante quem for this earthquake is ~530 CE. The earthquake struck between ~450 and ~530 CE.

3rd Earthquake - ~530 - ~750 CE

Parker (2006:121) describes the last phase of significant occupation as follows:

The later phase (ca. 530-51) of Stratum III began with the demobilization of the legion ca. 530, as suggested by a passage in Procopius (Anecdota 24.12-14). It is notable that the latest closely dateable Byzantine coins from el-Lejjun are issues of Justinian I, dated 534-65, exactly what one would expect if Procopius' assertion were true. Some structures like the principia, were completely abandoned. Others, like the church, were extensively robbed. Large amounts of trash were dumped in barrack alleyways and even in major thoroughfares, such as the via praetoria. In Area N the rooms rebuilt rebuilt after 502 afterward witnessed little actual occupation. It is especially telling that a human corpse was interred in one room (N.2) that opened directly onto the via principalis a clear sign of the absence of military discipline.

Some inhabitants, perhaps discharged soldiers and their families or civilians from the surrounding countryside, continued to live within the fortress, however. The discovery of a human infant within the northwest angle tower in the debris of the earthquake of July 9, 551, implies that families were now living in the fortifications. The earthquake of 551 was a major catastrophe.

The numismatic finds and demobilization evidence described above provide a terminus post quem of ~530 CE for seismic destruction and final abandonment of the fortress at el-Lejjun. A terminus ante quem is not so well defined because after the 3rd earthquake, there is a Post Stratum Gap that lasted until 1900 CE. Parker (2006:121) notes that there is some evidence of camping and limited reoccupation of the domestic complex near the north gate in the Umayyad period (661-750 CE). Sherds and coins of Ayyubid/Mamluk (1174-1516) and Ottoman periods [also] attest [to] occasional later use of the fortress. Because Groot et al (2006:183) report discovery of a nearly complete Umayyad Lamp in Square 4 of Area B (Barracks) in the Post Stratum Gap, the Umayyad period (661 - 750 CE) is the terminus ante quem for this earthquake and the date for this earthquake is constrained to ~530 - 750 CE. deVries et al (2006:196) also found Umayyad sherds in the Post Stratum Gap in Rooms C.3, C.4, C.6, and C.7 of the northwest Angle Tower along with an Umayyad coin dated to 700-750 CE in locus C.4.018.

Although Parker (2006) attributed the 3rd earthquake to the 551 CE Beirut Quake, this is highly unlikely as the epicenter was far away - near Beirut. One of the sources for the 551 CE Beirut Quake (The Life of Symeon of the Wondrous Mountain) states that damage was limited south of Tyre and there are no reports of earthquake destruction in Jerusalem which is 121 km. closer to the epicenter than el-Lejjun. The most likely candidate for this earthquake is the Inscription at Areopolis Quake which struck Aeropolis - a mere ~12 km. from el-Lejjun - in the late 6th century - before 597 CE.

4th Earthquake - ~600 CE - 1918 CE

Groot et al (2006:183) report discovery of a nearly complete Umayyad Lamp in Square 4 of Area B (Barracks - B.6.038) in the Post Stratum Gap - above and later than the 3rd earthquake layer. Above the Ummayyad lamp was a 0.7 m thick layer of tumble containing some roof beams and many wall blocks (Groot et al, 2006:183). They note that the basalt roof beams found embedded in the lowest tumble level (B.6.032) suggests initial massive destruction rather than gradual decay over time. The wall blocks, found in the upper layer of tumble, contained one late Islamic (1174-1918 CE) and one Ayyubid/Mamluk (1174-1516 CE) sherd indicating a significant amount of time may have passed between the possibly seismically induced roof collapse and the wall collapse which was not characterized as necessarily having a seismic origin. This opens up the possibility that one of the mid 8th century CE earthquakes or a later earthquake may have also caused damage at el-Lejjun. deVries et al (2006:196) suggests that Umayyad abandonment of the northwest tower was probably triggered by further major collapse. In the North Gate, deVries et al (2006:207) found evidence of full scale destruction in layers above 3rd earthquake debris and post-earthquake occupation layers which contained Late Byzantine/Umayyad and Umayyad sherds. Subsoil/tumble was found in C.9.008 (north room), C.9.009 (south room) and C.9.005 (stairwell) bear ample witness to the destruction of the rooms, perhaps in the Umayyad period. Although Late Byzantine sherds were found in Post Stratum layers in the North Gate, if one assumes that the 3rd earthquake was the Inscription at Aeropolis Quake which struck before 597 CE - probably within a decade of 597 CE, one can establish an approximate and fairly conservative terminus post quem for this earthquake of ~600 CE. While the terminus ante quem is the end of the post stratum III gap (1918 CE), it is probable that that the earthquake struck much earlier.

Seismic Effects

While there are many photos in the Final Report which suggest seismic effects (e.g. cracked lintels, tilted walls, secondary use of building elements, cracked staircases, displaced walls, etc.), only seismic effects described by the authors that appear to be reasonably well dated are listed in the sections below. That said, the many photos indicate that this site could produce a rich set of evidence from an archeoseismic survey of the site.
Possible predecessor earthquake in the early 4th century CE

Lain and Parker (2006:144) report that a beaten earth floor and ash layer in Room A.13 which ante-dated the 1st earthquake (Stratum VI-VB) was chock-full of tile fragments suggesting an apparent roof collapse due to an unknown cause. Such "collapse" debris was not found in any other excavation areas.

1st Earthquake - 355 CE - 384 CE

  • Plan of the Fort at El-Lejjun modified from Parker (2006)
Parker (2006:120) describes the seismic effects of this earthquake as follows:
At el-Lejjun, this earthquake had a profound impact on both the fortress and the vicus. The original limestone barracks in praetentura and possibly elsewhere in the fortress were leveled to their foundations. New chert barracks, only about half their former number, were erected along a slightly different alignment in both the praetentura and in the latera praetoria south of the principia. Rows of barrack-like rooms were erected on either side of the northern via principalis. The principia also seems to have suffered extensive damage, requiring some portions to be completely rebuilt, such as the interior of the aedes, the rooms in the official block north of the aedes, and the rooms north of the central courtyard [of the principia].

Reported seismic effects are summarized in the table below:
Location Source Description
praetentura Parker (2006:120) The original limestone barracks in praetentura and possibly elsewhere in the fortress were leveled to their foundations.
principia Parker (2006:120) The principia also seems to have suffered extensive damage, requiring some portions to be completely rebuilt, such as the interior of the aedes, the rooms in the official block north of the aedes, and the rooms north of the central courtyard [of the principia].
The mansio in the western vicus Parker (2006:120) The mansio in the western vicus was destroyed in 363 and never rebuilt.
principia Lain and Parker (2006:131) The earthquake brought down tile roofs throughout the principia
principia Lain and Parker (2006:131) The west arcade between the central courtyard and the cross hall of the principia fell while the major walls were left standing.
A.7 Lain and Parker (2006:133) Three engaged half and quarter columns with Nabatean style capitals were found in the earthquake debris
Wall A.8.003 in principia Lain and Parker (2006:151) The wall contains a substantial crack running through the center of its eastern end

2nd Earthquake - ~450 - ~530 CE

  • Plan of the Fort at El-Lejjun modified from Parker (2006)
Parker (2006:121) describes the seismic effects of the earthquake as follows:
At el-Lejjun, the earthquake is best attested stratigraphically in the Area B barracks. Some barrack rooms, such as B.4, collapsed and were permanently abandoned. Others, such as the B.1 storeroom in the centurion's quarters, partially collapsed but were reused.
Reported seismic effects are summarized in the table below:
Location Source Description
Area B Barracks Parker (2006:121) Some barrack rooms, such as B.4, collapsed and were permanently abandoned.
Area B Barracks Groot et al (2006:185) Room B.1 suffered collapse of two of it's three roofing arches
The B.1 room was backfilled to cover the collapsed roofing arches prior to laying a new floor and re-using the room for storage after the earthquake.
principia and other buildings in the fortress Parker (2006:121) The earthquake damaged the principia and many other buildings within the fortress.
Area N Schick (2006:233) Rooms severely damaged
Roofing system of rooms N.1 and N.3 collapsed completely

3rd Earthquake - ~530 - ~750 CE

  • Plan of the Fort at El-Lejjun modified from Parker (2006)
Parker (2006:121) describes seismic effects from this earthquake as follows:
At el-Lejjun, the seismic shock severely affected most parts of the fortress, including the principia, the barracks, the northwest angle tower, the church, and the rooms along the via principalis. Those structures attached to the deep foundations of the curtain wall, such as the horreum and the bath, seem to have better weathered the shock of 551, but even these structures partially collapsed. The fortress was apparently then almost completely abandoned.
Seismic effects are listed in the table below:
Location Source Description
principia Lain and Parker (2006:132) toppled original architecture which had survived the previous two earthquakes and created heavy architectural tumble from walls and installations.
principia Lain and Parker (2006:132) the direction of architectural collapse was from south to north and that much of the material fell in aligned patterns
groma - square A.7 Lain and Parker (2006:132) drums and capitals dislodged from half and quarter columns lay in aligned rows.
groma - square A.7 Lain and Parker (2006:132) ashlar limestone and chert blocks from adjacent walls tumbled into the groma's southwest corner
groma - square A.7 Lain and Parker (2006:132) The guardroom that adjoined the gate hall was filled with upended basalt roof beams
Square A.1 Lain and Parker (2006:132) arches of the south portico collapsed in aligned rows between piers of the colonnade
Square A.2 - officium Lain and Parker (2006:132) The entire south wall of the room had toppled northward to fill the officium with 18 rows of aligned wall blocks, representing collapsed courses of the wall. The fallen wall overlay roof tile debris that yielded Late Byzantine pottery.
aedes Lain and Parker (2006:132) first the roof tile caved in.
aedes Lain and Parker (2006:132) Next, the three sided podium collapsed, with blocks from its flagstone surface and barrel-vaulted substructures rolling down into the center of the shrine
aedes Lain and Parker (2006:132) Finally the aedes walls toppled, creating a sloping stratum of jumbled limestone wall blocks.
aedes Lain and Parker (2006:132) The debris from both the tumbled podium and the collapsed walls of the aedes yielded Late Byzantine pottery.
A.15 Lain and Parker (2006:134) A subsoil tumble layer in A.15.003 covered the entire square and exhibited marked declivity from south to north, contained ashlar limestone blocks, chert blocks, and basalt roof beams arrayed in patterns indicative of seismic collapse. The basalt beams were concentrated in the south end of the square above the sidewalk. The beams measured 1.75 m in length, and all lay with their short ends oriented north-south. The limestone and chert blocks lay in two fairly regular rows and extended east-west across the square, along the same line as the A.15.008 curb
A.13.007 Lain and Parker (2006:154) Collapsed Walls in tumble layer
Areas B and L Groot et al (2006:185) collapse of most of the remaining barrack rooms still standing in Areas B and L
Northwest Angle Tower - C.3 and C.7 deVries et al (2006:196) collapse of upper floors and ceilings
Northwest Angle Tower - C.3 and C.7 deVries et al (2006:196) destruction of all arches except the southern ones in Room C.3
Northwest Angle Tower - C.7 deVries et al (2006:192) collapsed ceiling caused by arch collapse- deVries et al (2006:192) notes that the earthquake which collapsed the ceiling must have been quite a force to destroy something so sturdy
Angle Tower - C.7 deVries et al (2006:193) The skeleton of an infant found in Angle Tower who apparently fell to his/her death from an upper story
Room N.2 Parker (2006) Collapsed Arches and Roofing slabs in room N.2 which probably fell during this earthquake
Horreum Crawford (2006:238) Stratum III occupation ended in all three rooms with massive wall collapse, perhaps resulting from the 551 earthquake

4th Earthquake - ~600 CE - 1918 CE

  • Plan of the Fort at El-Lejjun modified from Parker (2006)
Location Source Description
Barracks - Room B.6 Groot et al (2006:183) 0.7 m thick layer of tumble containing some roof beams and many wall blocks where the basalt roof beams found embedded in the lowest tumble level (B.6.032) suggests initial massive destruction rather than gradual decay over time
North Gate deVries et al (2006:207) full scale destruction in layers above 3rd earthquake debris and post-earthquake occupation layers which contained Late Byzantine/Umayyad and Umayyad sherds. Subsoil/tumble was found in C.9.008 (north room), C.9.009 (south room) and C.9.005 (stairwell) which bear ample witness to the destruction of the rooms, perhaps in the Umayyad period

Intensity Estimates

Possible predecessor earthquake in the early 4th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls Reported Roof collapse would be accompanied by wall displacement. VII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VII (7) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

1st Earthquake - 355 CE - 384 CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls The original limestone barracks in praetentura and possibly elsewhere in the fortress were leveled to their foundations. VIII +
Collapsed Walls The mansio in the western vicus was destroyed in 363 and never rebuilt. VIII +
Displaced Walls The earthquake brought down tile roofs throughout the principia
Roof collapse indicates displaced walls or arch damage
VII +
Arch damage The west arcade between the central courtyard and the cross hall of the principia fell VI +
Displaced masonry blocks in columns Three engaged half and quarter columns with Nabatean style capitals were found in the earthquake debris VIII +
Penetrative fractures in masonry blocks The wall contains a substantial crack running through the center of its eastern end VI +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

2nd Earthquake - ~450 - ~530 CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Some barrack rooms, such as B.4, collapsed and were permanently abandoned. VIII +
Collapsed Arches Room B.1 suffered collapse of two of it's three roofing arches VI +
Displaced Walls Roofing system of rooms N.1 and N.3 collapsed completely
Rooms [N.1 and N.2] severely damaged
Roof collapse implies Displaced Walls and/or Arch damage
VII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

3rd Earthquake - ~530 - ~750 CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls toppled original architecture which had survived the previous two earthquakes and created heavy architectural tumble from walls and installations VIII +
Displaced masonry blocks in columns drums and capitals dislodged from half and quarter columns lay in aligned rows VIII +
Collapsed Walls ashlar limestone and chert blocks from adjacent walls tumbled into the groma's southwest corner VIII +
Damaged Arches arches of the south portico collapsed in aligned rows between piers of the colonnade VI +
Collapsed Walls The entire south wall of the room had toppled northward to fill the officium with 18 rows of aligned wall blocks, representing collapsed courses of the wall. VIII +
Collapsed Vaults the three sided podium collapsed, with blocks from its flagstone surface and barrel-vaulted substructures rolling down into the center of the shrine VIII +
Collapsed Walls Finally the aedes walls toppled VIII +
Collapsed Walls A subsoil tumble layer in A.15.003 covered the entire square ...The limestone and chert blocks lay in two fairly regular rows and extended east-west across the square VIII +
Collapsed Walls A.13.007 - Collapsed Walls in tumble layer VIII +
Collapsed Walls collapse of most of the remaining barrack rooms still standing in Areas B and L VIII +
Collapsed Walls Northwest Tower - collapse of upper floors and ceilings VIII +
Arch Damage Northwest Tower - destruction of all arches except the southern ones in Room C.3 VI +
Arch Damage Northwest Tower - collapsed ceiling caused by arch collapse- deVries et al (2006:192) notes that the earthquake which collapsed the ceiling must have been quite a force to destroy something so sturdy IX + (upgraded to IX based on deVries et al (2006) observation
Arch Damage Room N.2 - Collapsed Arches and Roofing slabs in room N.2 which probably fell during this earthquake VI +
Collapsed Walls Horreum - Stratum III occupation ended in all three rooms with massive wall collapse VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of IX (9) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

4th Earthquake - ~600 CE - 1918 CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls Barracks Room B.6 - 0.7 m thick layer of tumble containing some roof beams and many wall blocks where the basalt roof beams found embedded in the lowest tumble level (B.6.032) suggests initial massive destruction rather than gradual decay over time
Roof collapse caused by either displaced walls or arch damage
Note: Wall block tumble interpreted as coming from a later time and not necessarily seismically induced
VII +
Displaced Walls North Gate - full scale destruction in layers above 3rd earthquake debris and post-earthquake occupation layers which contained Late Byzantine/Umayyad and Umayyad sherds. Subsoil/tumble was found in C.9.008 (north room), C.9.009 (south room) and C.9.005 (stairwell) which bear ample witness to the destruction of the rooms, perhaps in the Umayyad period VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224 big pdf) .

Notes and Further Reading

References

Parker, S.T. 2006: The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Final Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980–1989, Washington

Parker, S.T. (ed.) 1987: The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Interim Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980–1985, BAR International Series 340, Oxford

Note: The final report refers back to Interim Report on some issues of dating and phasing and suggests that a complete report is to be had from both the Interim and Final Report

Parker, S.T. 1991: ‘Preliminary Report on the 1989 Season of the Limes Arabicus Project’, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Supplementary Studies 27, 117–54

Parker, S.T. 1990: ‘Preliminary Report on the 1987 Season of the “Limes Arabicus” Project’, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Supplementary Studies 26, 89–136

Parker, S.T. 1988: ‘Preliminary Report on the 1985 Season of the Limes Arabicus Project’, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Supplementary Studies 25, 131–74

Parker, S. T. (1982). "Preliminary Report on the 1980 Season of the Central "Limes Arabicus" Project." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research(247): 1-26.

Lander, J. and Parker, S. T. 1982: ‘Legio IV Martia and the legionary camp at El-Lejjun’, Byzantinische Forschungen 8, 185–210

Parker, S.T. 1986: Romans and Saracens. A History of the Arabian Frontier, Winona Lake, 58–74

Kennedy, D.L. 2000: The Roman Army in Jordan, London, 146–50

Kennedy, D.L. and Riley, D.N. 1990: Rome’s Desert Frontier from the Air, London, 131

legionaryfortresses.info page for El-Lejjun

Limes Arabicus

Tsunamogenic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence is summarized below:

Location Status Intensity Notes
al-Harif Syria unlikely wide spread in ages - 4.3 m of slip (Mw = 7.3 - 7.6)
Qiryat-Shemona Rockfalls unlikely 9
Bet Zayda unlikely
ICDP Core 5017-1 possible but unlikely 7 11 cm. thick turbidite
En Feshka unlikely 8 1 cm. thick microbreccia (Type 4)
En Gedi no evidence
Nahal Ze 'elim (ZA-1) unlikely
Taybeh Trench possible Event E3 - 551 CE +/- 264
Qatar Trench possible wide spread in ages - 9 BC - 492 AD


Each site will now be discussed separately.

Displaced Aqueduct at al Harif, Syria

Sbeinati et. al. (2010) report a seismic event X which they dated to 335 AD +/- 175 years at a displaced aqueduct at al-Harif, Syria (close to Masyaf, Syria).

Al Harif Aqueduct Seismic Events Fig. Correlation of results among paleoseismic trenching, archaeoseismic excavations, and tufa analysis. In paleoseismic trenching, the youngest age for event X is not constrained, but it is, however, limited by event Y. In archaeoseismic excavations, the period of first damage overlaps with that of the second damage due to poor age control. In tufa analysis, the onset and restart of Br-3 and Br-4 mark the damage episodes to the aqueduct; the growth of Br-5 and Br-6 shows interruptions (I) indicating the occurrence of major events. Except for the 29 June 1170 event, previous events have been unknown in the historical seismicity catalogue. The synthesis of large earthquake events results from the timing correlation among the faulting events, building repair, and tufa interruptions (also summarized in Fig. 12 and text). Although visible in trenches (faulting event X), archaeoseismic excavations (first damage), and first interruption of tufa growth (in Br-5 and Br-6 cores), the A.D. 160–510 age of event X has a large bracket. In contrast, event Y is relatively well bracketed between A.D. 625 and 690, with the overlapped dating from trench results, the second damage of the aqueduct, and the interruption and restart of Br-3 and onset of Br-4. The occurrence of the A.D. 1170 earthquake correlates well with event Z from the trenches, the age of third damage to the aqueduct, and the age of interruption of Br-4, Br-5, and Br-6. Sbeinati et al (2010)


Al Harif Aqueduct Radiocarbon
Fig. 12 (A)

Calibrated dating of samples (with calibration curve INTCAL04 from Reimer et al. [2004] with 2σ age range and 95.4% probability) and sequential distribution from Oxcal pro-gram (see also Table 1; Bronk Ramsey, 2001). The Bayesian distribution computes the time range of large earthquakes (events W, X, Y, and Z) at the Al Harif aqueduct according to faulting events, construction and repair of walls, and starts and interruptions of the tufa deposits (see text for explanation). Number in brackets (in %) indicates how much the sample is in sequence; the number in % indicates an agreement index of overlap with prior distribution.

Sbeinati et al (2010)


Qiryat-Shemona Rockfalls

Kanari, M. (2008) examined rockfalls in Qiryat-Shemona which were attributed to earthquakes. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating was performed on soil samples beneath the fallen rocks. Kanari et al (2019) proposed that rockfalls QS-3 and QS-11 were most likely triggered by the northern Cyril Quake of 363 CE. Their discussion is quoted below:
QS-3 (1.6±0.1 ka) and QS-11 (1.7±0.2 ka) fit the historical earthquakes of 363 and 502 CE, and only lack 40 years in error margin to fit the one of 551 CE. Since the 502 CE earthquake was reported on shoreline localities only in the DST area, we find the 363 CE earthquake to be a better rockfall-triggering candidate. We suggest that the two ages are clustered around one of these earthquakes, hence suggesting they represent one rockfall event in the 363 CE earthquake. However, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that these were two separate rockfall events, both triggered by large earthquakes in 363 and 502/551 CE.
OSL dates Qiryat-Shemona
Fig. 10

Summary of OSL ages (black circles with error bars) plotted in chronological order and selected historical earthquakes suggested as rockfall triggers (shown as vertical gray lines, chronologically labeled at the top axis); see text for details.

Kanari et al (2019)


The criteria used by Kanari (2008) to identify historical earthquakes as triggering the observed rockfalls included:

(a) Estimated minimum MMI of IX
(b) Calculated Moment-Magnitude greater than or equal to 6.5
(c) distance to the site not exceeding 100 km.

Kanari (2008) surmised that these conditions satisfied Keefer (1984)'s upper limit for disrupted slides or falls triggered by earthquakes.

Bet Zayda

In paleoseismic trenches just north of the Sea of Galilee (aka Lake Kinneret), Events CH4-E1, CH4-E2, and CH4-E3 are all possible, but unlikely, candidates.

Bet Zeyda Earthquakes
Figure 9

Probability density functions for all paleoseismic events, based on the OxCal modeling. Historically known earthquakes are marked by gray lines. The age extent of each channel is marked by rectangles. There is an age uncertainty as to the age of the oldest units in channel 4 (units 490-499) marked by a dashed rectangle. Channel 1 refers to the channel complex studied by Marco et al. (2005).

Wechsler at al. (2014)


Dead Sea

ICDP Core 5017-1
Lu et al (2020) associated a turbidite deposit in the core to one of the Cyril Quakes. CalBP is reported as 1636 +/47. This works out to a date of 314 CE with a 1σ bound of 267-361 CE. Ages come from Kitagawa et al (2017). The deposit is described as a 11 cm. thick turbidite (MMD). Lu et al (2020) estimated local seismic intensity of VII which they converted to Peak Horizontal Ground Acceleration (PGA) of 0.18 g. Dr. Yin Lu relates that "this estimate was based on previous studies of turbidites around the world (thickness vs. MMI)" ( Moernaut et al (2014). The turbidite was identified in the depocenter composite core 5017-1 (Holes A-H).

See the following from Lu et al (2020b) regarding estimating intensity from turbidites:
Previous studies have revealed that the intensity threshold for triggering historic turbidites are variable in different regions and range from MMI V½ to VII½ (Howarth et al., 2014; Moernaut, 2020; Van Daele et al., 2015; Wilhelm et al., 2016). The intensity threshold constrained from the Dead Sea data (≥VI½) is situated in the middle of this range.

Previous studies in Chilean lakes have indicated that the (cumulative) thickness of historic turbidites across multiple cores correlates with seismic intensity, and can thus be used to infer paleo-intensities in this setting (Moernaut et al., 2014). However, in the case of the Dead Sea core 5017-1, there is a random relationship (a correlation factor of 0.04) between the thickness of prehistoric turbidites and seismic intensity (Figure 5a).
En Feshka
A 1 cm. thick microbreccia at 228 cm. is a possible candidate although one of the Cyril Quakes is a better candidate.

En Gedi
Migowski et. al. (2004) did not see any evidence for a 4th century CE seismite in En Gedi. See Paleoseismic Evidence Section for the Cyril Quakes for a more extensive discussion.

Nahal Ze 'elim (ZA1 and ZA2)
Ken-Tor et al. (2001a) assigned a seismite known as Event D in Nahal Ze 'elim (ZA-1) to the 363 AD Cyril Quake Seismite as did Williams (2004). It is possible but very unlikely that this seismite was caused by the Alia Quake.

At site ZA-2, Kagan et. al. (2011) saw no evidence of an earthquake in the 4th century CE.

.

Arava

Taybeh Trench, Jordan
LeFevre et al. (2018) might have seen evidence in the Taybeh Trench (Event E3).

Taybeh Trench Earthquakes
Figure S5

Computed age model from OxCal v4.26 for the seismic events recorded in the trench.

LeFevre et al. (2018)


Qatar, Jordan
Klinger et. al. (2015) identified a seismic event (E6) in a trench near Qatar, Jordan in the Arava which they modeled between 9 BCE and 492 CE. The large spread in age caused them to consider two possible earthquakes as the cause; the Incense Road Quake between 110 CE and 114 CE and the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE. They preferred the Cyril Quake of 363 CE based on weighing other evidence not related to their paleoseismic study and noted that further investigation was required.

Qatar Trench
Figure 6

Age model computed for the trench stratigraphy using OxCal v4.2 (Bronk-Ramsey et al. 2010) and IntCal13 calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2013). Light grey indicates raw calibration and dark grey indicates modelled ages including stratigraphic information. Phases indicate subsets of samples where no stratigraphic order is imposed.

Klinger et al (2015)


Notes

Mallet (1858, p. 5) lists an earthquake at "Areopolis on the Dead Sea" citing sources von Hoff, vol. ii p 174 and Ritter vol.2 p. 339

von Hoff, K. V. (1841). lists an earthquake in 315 AD with the description "Earthquake in Areopolis in Dead Sea (translated from Erdbeben in Areopolis am Totem Meere)". He cites Ritter (1847, p. 339) as his reference

Unfortunately, like Ambraseys(2009), I cannot find the reference by Ritter although it may be here

Ritter, K.W. (1847) "Erdbebenschreithung" vol. 2 p. 339 Breslan

Ambraseys (1962) provides the following

Footnote : ' Mallet (p. 5) gives an earthquake in the Dead Sea on the authority of Ritter, which we were unable to check. The same event is described by Moses Khoren (iii, 8), but only Acogh 'ig adds that this was followed by an inundation of the sea. From Acogh'ig's narration it appears that this event occurred in the lake Van rather than in the Dead Sea. Also, this event is usually dated in 344 or 345 A.D. The translators of Armenian texts have not perceived the chronological difficulties that occur in the MSS of Moses and Acogh'ig and have committed an anachronism of exactly 30 years; cf. 116.
The historical reference appears to come from E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text "Acogh 'ig's universal history" Publications de Ecole des Langues Orientates N.iivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.

Another copy of this book in English can be found here where the entry for the tsunami report may be on page 137.
Now when Sanatruk was king, he took possession of the city of P‘aytakaran and planned to rule the whole of Armenia.25 When the great prince Bakur realized this, who was bdeašx of Ałjnik‘, he conceived the same for himself and gave assistance to Ormizd, king of the Persians. The other nobles of Armenia assembled around the great Vrt‘anēs and dispatched two of the honourable princes to the emperor Constantius, son of Constantine,26 [asking] that he should send a force in assistance and make as king of Armenia Xosrov, son of Trdat. [66] On hearing this, he dispatched Antiochus with a huge force.27 And he came and made Xosrov king. And he sent Manačihr with his southern forces and a Cilician army [678] against Bakur the bdeašx. And Antiochus combined the other Armenian forces with his entire Greek army and moved against Sanatruk. Now he filled the city of P‘aytakaran with Persian troops and took flight to the king of Persia; he escaped with the nobles of Albania. And the Armenian forces ransacked their country and returned from there.

Now Manačihr travelled southwards; he overthrew the bdeašx Bakur and his forces and pursued those Persians who were assisting him. And he took many captives from the regions of Nisibis, including eight deacons of the great bishop Jacob; Jacob went after them and asked for these captives to be freed. And when Manačihr refused, Jacob resolved to go to the king. Antagonized by this, Manačihr ordered the eight deacons to be thrown into the lake. When the great Jacob heard this, he returned to his place angered, as Moses from the presence of Pharaoh. On reaching a certain mountain, from which the district derived, he cursed Manačihr and the district. And the judgement of God was not delayed, but Manačihr was slain soon after in the manner of Herod and the country became infertile, a sky of copper came over it and [67] the lake rebelled and extended over the boundaries of fields. When king Xosrov heard this, incensed, he ordered the captives to be freed. But after the passing of Jacob from the country, Manačihr’s son and heir, with sincere penitence, powerful tears and lamentation, through his intercession, gained healing for himself and the district.
This passage suggests that Ambraseys (1962) is correct that this supposed tsunami is likely both mis-dated and mis-located.

Stephanos Asoghik (aka Stepan Acogh 'ig) wrote Universal History in the 11th century AD and used Moses Khoren as one of his sources. Moses Khoren wrote The History of Armenia in the 5th century AD. French translations of The History of Armenia v.1 and The History of Armenia v.2 are both available online. A commentary on Moses Khoren's sources can be found here

Antonopoolos' (1979) entry reads as follows :
6. 315. Dead Sea (iii). 24 (p. 100). This indicates a tsunami intensity of 3. The reference (24, p.100) is the same one listed above by Ambraseys (1962) - STEPAN ACOGH'IG of DARON. - In E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text « Acogh'is universal history ». Publications de l'Ecole des langues Orientales Vivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.

Paleoclimate - Droughts

Footnotes

References

Ambraseys, N. N. (1962). "Data for the investigation of the seismic sea-waves in the Eastern Mediterranean." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 52(4): 895-913.

ANTONOPOULOS, J. "Catalogue of Tsunamis in the Eastern Mediterranean from Antiquity to Present Times." Annals of Geophysics 32(1): 113-130.

Hoff, K. V. (1841). Chronik der Erdbeben und Vulkan-Ausbrüche, mit vorausgehender Abhandlung über die Natur dieser Erscheinungen. Gesch. Ueberlieferung nachgew. natürl. Veränder. Erdoberfläche, Parts 4 and 5, Gotha.

Mallet, R., et al. (1858). The earthquake catalogue of the British Association: with the discussion, curves and maps, etc, Printed by Taylor and Francis.

Ritter, K.W. (1847) "Erdbebenschreithung" vol. 2 p. 339 Breslan

Ancient Texts Thomson, R. W. (2006). History of the Armenians by Moses Khoren, Caravan Books.(iii, 8)

in Armenian

in Russian

in Italian

in French

Stepan ,Acogh 'ig of Daron, in E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text "Acogh 'ig's universal history" Publications de Ecole des Langues Orientates N.iivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.