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Incense Road Quake

Early 2nd century CE

by Jefferson Williams









Introduction & Summary

At the beginning of the second century AD, the Nabataeans controlled a profitable and likely somewhat secretive trade route. Frankincense and myrrh, harvested in South Arabia, and products from India and the Horn of Africa were transported by camel up the Arabian Peninsula to port cities such as Gaza where they were shipped and sold all over the Mediterranean. The transport route the camel caravans followed is known as the Incense Road . The way stations along that route were oases of prosperity in the middle of the harsh desert. Partly in order to control this trade, Rome annexed Nabataea in 106 AD. Around the same time, a powerful earthquake apparently struck their province. There is no clear mention of this earthquake in any known literary sources. The Nabataeans produced almost no surviving literature of their own. Rather, the evidence for this earthquake was discovered by a young Archaeologist named Ken Russell by examining excavation reports for the way station towns and cities that were along the Incense Road.

Textual Evidence

Section
Chronicon by Eusebius
Babylonian Talmud
Silence of the Sources

Chronicon by Eusebius

Eusebius wrote Chronicon in two parts in the early 4th century AD. Although the original Greek text has been lost, later Chroniclers preserved significant parts of the manuscript. Jerome translated all of the second part (Book 2) into Latin. In this translation (Eusebius Chronicon Book Two, page 282, 227th Olympiad), we read that in the 227th Olympiad
Nicopolis and Caesarea were ruined in an earthquake.
Eusebius dates this to the first year of the 227th Olympiad which corresponds to July 1, 130 AD – June 3- 131 AD
noteSee Finegan (1998) Sections 185 – 187 for a discussion of the Olympiad calendar system.
. The problem with this date is that there is little paleoseismic or archeoseismic evidence to corroborate it. As a result, two schools of thought have developed in explained what appears to be a mistake by Eusebius.Russell (1985) has suggested that this terse entry from Eusebius, a native of Caesarea who should have been aware of earthquakes that struck the area, may describe the Incense Road Earthquake (110-114 AD) and that Eusebius, using unknown sources and writing 200 + years after the event, merely got his date wrong. Although Russell (1985) does not propose a reason why Eusebius’ sources may have gotten the date wrong, one possibility is that his sources may have reported an earthquake that occurred during Hadrian's rule when in fact the earthquake occurred during the rule of Trajan ; Hadrian's predecessor. If one changes Eusebius' date for the earthquake from Hadrian's 13th – 14th year (130/131 AD) to Trajan's 13th – 14th year (111/112 AD) , one arrives at a date which is within the 4 year time span (110 – 114 AD) when the archeoseismic evidence constrains the timing of the Incense Road Earthquake. Ambraseys (2009) suggests that Eusebius was not referring to Nicopolis and Caesarea of the Palestinian coast but rather to two like named cities in the northeastern Anatolian province of Pontus and that his 130/131 AD date was approximately correct.

Babylonian Talmud

(Salamon et al, 2010) noted that Shalem (1956), using Judaic sources, suggested that the coast between Caesarea and Yavne was hit by a tsunami around 115 AD. Salamon et. al. (2011) offered a quote from Karcz et al (1987) regarding those Judaic sources as follows : “Talmudic references are not specific neither in time nor location, but Yavne may have been affected”. Karcz (personal communication, 2014) indicated that the Judaic sources come from the Babylonian Talmud and are located in

• Megilla 3a
• Baba Metzia 59 B
• Hullin 59 B
Megilla 3a
In Megilla 3a, the following passage describing an earthquake can be found
R. Jeremiah — or some say R. Hiyya b. Abba — also said: The Targum of the Pentateuch was composed by Onkelos the proselyte under the guidance of R. Eleazar and R. Joshua. The Targum of the Prophets was composed by Jonathan b. Uzziel under the guidance of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and the land of Israel [thereupon] quaked over an area of four hundred parasangs (1463 km.) by four hundred parasangs [1], and a Bath Kol came forth and exclaimed, Who is this that has revealed My secrets to mankind? Jonathan b. Uzziel thereupon arose and said, It is I who have revealed Thy secrets to mankind. It is fully known to Thee that I have not done this for my own honour or for the honour of my father's house, but for Thy honour l have done it, that dissension may not increase in Israel. He further sought to reveal [by] a targum [the inner meaning] of the Hagiographa, but a Bath Kol went forth and said, Enough! What was the reason? — Because the date of the Messiah is foretold in it.

But did Onkelos the proselyte compose the targum to the Pentateuch? Has not R. Ika said in the name of R. Hananel who had it from Rab: What is meant by the text, And they read in the book, in the law of God, with an interpretation. and they gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading? ‘And they read in the book, in the law of God’: this indicates the [Hebrew] text; ‘with an interpretation’: this indicates the targum, ‘and they gave the sense’: this indicates the verse stops; ‘and caused them to understand the reading’: this indicates the accentuation, or, according to another version, the masoretic notes? — These had been forgotten, and were now established again.

How was it that the land did not quake because of the [translation of the] Pentateuch, while it did quake because of that of the prophets?
Jonathan ben Uzziel was a Rabbinic sage who survived the Roman siege of Jerusalem and relocated to the town of Yavne where Yohanan ben Zakkai founded a school of halakha (Jewish religious law) in 70 AD. Jonathan wrote Targum of the Prophets in the second century AD while in Yavne. It is unclear if the passage above contains a memory of an earthquake but if it does, it’s date is not specific; occurring sometime early in the second century AD.
Baba Metzia 59 B
Baba Metzia 59 B may contain a description of a seismic sea wave or tsunami which if related to the earthquake of Megilla 3a, may provide some dating information.
A Tanna taught: Great was the calamity that befell that day, for everything at which R. Eliezer cast his eyes was burned up. R. Gamaliel too was travelling in a ship, when a huge wave arose to drown him. 'It appears to me,' he reflected, 'that this is on account of none other but R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus.' Thereupon he arose and exclaimed, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Thou knowest full well that I have not acted for my honour, nor for the honour of my paternal house, but for Thine, so that strife may not multiply in Israel! 'At that the raging sea subsided.

Ima Shalom was R. Eliezer's wife, and sister to R. Gamaliel. From the time of this incident onwards she did not permit him to fall upon his face. Now a certain day happened to be New Moon, but she mistook a full month for a defective one. Others say, a poor man came and stood at the door, and she took out some bread to him.[On her return] she found him fallen on his face. 'Arise,' she cried out to him, 'thou hast slain my brother.' In the meanwhile an announcement was made from the house of Rabban Gamaliel that he had died.
Tana refers to the Tannaim ; Rabbinic sages working from approximately 10-220 AD whose views are recorded in the Mishnah. Included among the Tannaim were Rabbi Gamaleil or more specifically Gamaliel II who apparently died right before the Kitos War of 115-117 AD (Moed Kattan 27a; Yerushalmi Moed Kattan 82a - from Wikipedia) and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus who was Gamaliel II’s brother in law and also was one of the Tannaim. Gamaliel II’s and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus both resided in Yavne at the time of this account which appears to have occurred soon before Gamaliel II’s death. Thus, if the passage above does refer to an actual seismic sea wave, it’s date is sometime before 115 AD.
Hullin 59 B
In Hullin 59 B, one can read the following
The Emperor once said to R. Joshua b. Hananiah, 'Your God is likened to a lion, for it is written: The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? But what is the greatness of this? A horseman can kill the lion'! He replied: 'He has not been likened to the ordinary lion, but to the lion of Be-Ilai'i!' 'I desire', said the Emperor, 'that you show it to me'. He replied: 'You cannot behold it'. 'Indeed', said the Emperor, 'I will see it'. He [R. Joshua b. Hananiah] prayed and the lion set out from its place. When it was four hundred parasangs distant it roared once, and all pregnant women miscarried and the walls of Rome fell. When it was three hundred parasangs distant it roared again and all the molars and incisors of man fell out; even the Emperor himself fell from his throne to the ground. 'I beseech you', he implored, 'pray that it return to its place'. He prayed and it returned to its place.

Another time the Emperor said to R. Joshua b. Hananiah, 'I wish to see your God'. He replied: 'You cannot see him'. 'Indeed', said the Emperor.
Apparently the "lion hath roared" in the passage above alludes to the prophetic book of Amos which starts with reference to an earthquake perhaps likening it to a lion's roar and two chapters later continues with several lines of poetry again mentioning the lions roar. Nonetheless, it is unclear if this seismically enigmatic passage has any relationship to an actual earthquake.

Conclusion
Taken together, these three passages suggest that there may have been an earthquake and possible tsunami experienced in Yavne in the years before 115 AD. A seismic exegesis for some of these Talmudic references is apparently discussed in Krauss, S. (1914).

Silence of the Sources

It should be noted that the seismicity of the Arava and Negev is severely under reported during this time; presumably due to the low population density and nomadic lifestyles of many of its inhabitants. While the Nabataeans residents left inscriptions on buildings, there is very little extant written Nabataean literature. This has to be a consideration when confronting the lack of corroborating historical information about the Incense Road Quake and many other earthquakes with epicenters in the South Dead Sea or the Arava. It should also be noted that there is no equivalent source in the second century AD which provides such a wealth of information regarding events in Judea such as Josephus (37 AD - ~100 AD) provides for the first century AD. Russell (1985) further notes that Cassius Dio (155 – 235 AD), an important source for information in the Roman empire during this time, failed to record two significant earthquakes (in ~106 AD and ~122 AD) in Anatolia during the reigns of Trajan (98 – 117 AD) and Hadrian (117 -138 AD) and that the only earthquake he did record during their reigns was the Trajan Quake in Antioch in 115 AD possibly because Trajan was nearly killed by it.

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location Status Intensity Notes
Introduction n/a n/a
Jerash - Introduction n/a n/a
Jerash - North Gate unlikely
Heshbon possible ≥ 8 wide range of possible dates
Caesarea possible 6-7
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.
Khirbet Tannur possible ≥ 8 End of Period I Earthquake using McKenzie et al (2013)'s chronology.
Aqaba/Eilat - Introduction n/a n/a
Aqaba - Aila probable ≥ 8
Petra - Introduction n/a n/a
Petra - el-Katute possible ≥ 7
Petra - Temple of the Winged Lions possible ≥ 7 based on Area I near Temple of the Winged Lions
Petra - Near Temple of the Winged Lions possible ≥ 7 Using Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017)'s chronology, there is possible evidence from reused building elements used in the rebuild. Because reused building elements provides a limited view of seismic destruction, intensity is likely underestimated
Petra - The Great Temple possible ≥ 8
Petra - Pool Complex possible ≥ 8 Pre Phase III earthquake - possibility is based on re-use of damaged building elements in renovations
Petra - ez Zantur possible ≥ 7 debated chronology
Avdat/Oboda possible
Mampsis possible
Moje Awad possible ≥ 8 End of Early Roman Phase Earthquake
Sha'ar Ramon possible needs investigation
Ein Rahel probable ≥ 8 Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) estimated Intensity of 8-9, epicenter in vicinity of the site in WNW or ESE (~125 degrees) direction. The proximity of the Arava Fault led them to consider ESE more likely
Mezad Mahmal possible ≥ 8
'En Ziq needs investigation
Horbat Hazaza possible ≥ 6
'En Yotvata possible ≥ 8
Rujm Taba possible Surface Survey only. Site not excavated.
Horbat Dafit possible ≥ 8 End of Phase 1 earthquake
Other sites in the Negev needs investigation

Introduction

In 1985, Ken Russell, a promising relatively young archaeologist, presented the world with evidence for a historically unreported earthquake in the early 2nd century CE along the Incense Road. This earthquake, likely caused by a rupture along the Arabah fault, was the first "historical" earthquake in this part of the world discovered by scientific means. Although many of his assertions would prove to be wrong, the fundamental premise that an earthquake struck the Arabah in the early 2nd century CE has withstood the test of time. Paleoseismic and Archaeoseismic evidence uncovered since then has shown that there was an early 2nd century Incense Road Earthquake. This is important not just for this particular earthquake but for a number of historically unreported earthquakes in this part of the world in the first millennium CE. There has been a rush to judgment on the Arabah fault during this time period. Casual observations taken from incomplete and frequently inaccurate Earthquake catalogs have led many to beleive that the Arabah fault was inactive during the first millennium. Flawed geologic models were constructed to describe the Arabah's seeming inability to produce earthquakes when in fact it was quite active but it was under reported in the historical record. Far from a city that would produce extant historical reports, it's shaking was lost to time until the scientific method showed up - first in the personage of Ken Russell.

Now that I have sung Ken's praises, I am going to explain what he got wrong because, despite his brilliance, Ken got plenty wrong. Russell (1985) started out by by making the case that there was abundant well dated archeoseismic evidence that there was an earthquake, likely along the Arabah fault, between 110 and 114 AD contending that the evidence was too wide widespread to support alternative explanations based on war or civil disturbance. Russell (1985:40-41) contended that the archaeological evidence suggested an early-second century destruction at Petra, Masada, Avdat and several other sites along the Petra - Gaza road. There were claims of further evidence from cities not along the Petra – Gaza Road - a number of which, upon close examination, seem dubious. Further inquiry also casts doubt on some of his evidence between Petra and Gaza. In making his case, Russell (1985) sought to constrain the date of the earthquake between 110 and 114 CE. A coin from ~110 CE found under earthquake debris in Masada provided the terminus post quem and a 114 CE inscription dedicated to Roman emperor Trajan associated with rebuilding in Petra provided the terminus ante quem. The ~110 CE Masada date was asserted by Yadin (1965) in a preliminary report but was not mentioned by Netzer (1991) in the final report. The 114 CE date came from the Trajan's dedicatory inscription at Petra. Although the inscription would seem to mark some building effort, the fragments recovered did not reveal the reason for the building. Russell (1985) assumed it was rebuilding after an earthquake. It's excavator Kirkbride (1960) thought it commemorated the completion of a road. Although Russell (1985) may be right that the Incense Road Earthquake struck between 110 and 114 CE, at this point all we can say is that it struck in the early 2nd century CE.

Jerash

Displaced Columns at Jerash Displaced Columns in the Oval Plaza at Jerash
Photo by Jefferson Williams


Names
Transliterated Name Language Name
Jerash English
Ǧaraš Arabic جرش‎
Gérasa Greek Γέρασα
Antioch on the Chrysorroas
Introduction

Jerash has a long history of habitation, flourished during Greco-Roman times, appears to have been mostly abandoned in the second half of the 8th century and was sporadically reoccupied and abandoned until Ottoman times when continuous habitation began anew. It is one of the world's best preserved Greco-Roman cities and has been studied by archeologists for over a century. Notes and Further Reading
References

Zayadine, F. (ed.) (1986) Jerash Archaeological Project, 1981-1983. 1. Department of Antiquities: Amman. page 19

Kraeling, C. (1938) Gerasa: City of the Decapolis, American Schools of Oriental Research. - Crowfoot's report on the churches is in this text

Kraeling, C. (1938) Gerasa: City of the Decapolis, American Schools of Oriental Research. - another online copy

Crowfoot, J. (1929). "The Church of S. Theodore at Jerash." Palestine exploration quarterly 61(1): 17-36.

Moralee, J. (2006). "The Stones of St. Theodore: Disfiguring the Pagan Past in Christian Gerasa." Journal of Early Christian Studies 14: 183-215.

Ostrasz, A. A. and I. Kehrberg-Ostrasz (2020). The Hippodrome of Gerasa: A Provincial Roman Circus, Archaeopress Publishing Limited.

A. A. Ostracz, ' The Hippodrome of Gerasa: a report on the excavations and research 1982-1987', Syria. Archéologie, Art et histoire Year 1989 66-1-4 pp. 51-77

Bitti M. C., 1986, The area of the Temple (Artemis/ stairway, Jerash Archaeological Project 1981-1983, I, Amman, pp. 191-192

Parapetti R., 1989b,Scavi e restauri italiani nel Santuario di Artemide 1984-1987, .’Jerash Archaeological Project vol.II,.

Parapetti R., Jerash, 1989a, (AJH 188). The sanctuary of Artemis, in Homès-Fredericq and J.B. Henessy (eds), Archaeology of Jordan II.1 Field Reports. II.1 Surveys and Sites.

Parapetti R., Jerash (AJH 188). The sanctuary of Artemis, in Homès-Fredericq and J.B. Henessy (eds), Archaeology of Jordan II.1 Field Reports. II.1 Surveys and Sites A-K

Jacques Seigne publications at www.persee.fr

Rasson, A.-M. and Seigne, J. 1989, ‘Une citerne byzanto-omeyyade sur le sanctuaire de Zeus.’Jerash Archaeological Project vol.II, 1984-1988, , SYRIA 66: 117-151.

Seigne J., 1989, Jérash. Sanctuaire de Zeus, in Homès-Fredericq and J.B. Henessy (eds), Archaeology of Jordan II.1 Field Reports. II.1 Surveys and Sites A-K.

Seigne, J. (1993). `Découvertes récentes sur le sanctuaire de Zeus à Jerash,' ADAJ 37: 341-58.

Seigne, J. (1992). `Jerash romaine et byzantine: développement urbain d'une ville provinciale orientale,' SHAJ 4: 331-43.

Seigne, J and T. Morin (1993). Preliminary Report on a Mausoleum at the turn of the BC/AD Century at Jerash,' ADAJ39: 175-92.

Seigne, J. et al. (1986). `Recherche sur le sanctuaire de Zeus à Jerash Octobre 1982- Décembre 1983,' in JAP I: 29-106.

Jacques Seigne (1997) De la grotte au périptère. Le sanctuaire de Zeus à Jerash Topoi. Orient-Occident Year 1997 7-2 pp. 993-1004

Jacques Seigne (1985) Sanctuaire de Zeus à Jerash (le) : éléments de chronologie Syria. Archéologie, Art et histoire Year 1985 62-3-4 pp. 287-295

Seigne, J. et al. (2011) Limites des espaces sacrés antiques : permanences et évolutions, quelques exemples orientaux

Rasson, A.M. and Seigne, J. et al. (1989), Une citerne byzantino-omeyyade sur le sanctuaire de Zeus Syria. Archéologie, Art et histoire Year 1989 66-1-4 pp. 117-151

Agusta-Boularot, J. et al. (2011), Un «nouveau» gouverneur d'Arabie sur un milliaire inédit de la voie Gerasa/Adraa, Mélanges de l'école française de Rome Year 1998 110-1 pp. 243-260

Gawlikowski, M. and A. Musa (1986). The Church of Bishop Marianos.

Lichtenberger, A. and R. Raja (2018). The Archaeology and History of Jerash 110 Years of Excavations.

Kehrberg, I. (2011). ROMAN GERASA SEEN FROM BELOW. An Alternative Study of Urban Landscape. ASCS 32 PROCEEDINGS.

Kehrberg-Ostrasz, I. and J. Manley (2019). The Jarash City Walls Project: Excavations 2001 – 2003: Final Report, University of Sydney.

Ina Kehrberg and John Manley, 2002, The Jerash City Walls Project (JCWP) 2001-2003 : report of preliminary findings of the second season 21st september - 14th october 2002, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 47

Savage, S., K. Zamora, and D. Keller (2003). "Archaeology in Jordan, 2002 Season." Am. J. Archaeol. 107: 449–475.

Archeology in Jordan II, 2020

The Islamic Jerash Project

DAAHL Site Record for Jerash

Notes - mid 8th century CE Earthquake from Kraeling (1938) and others

  • Ecclesiastical complex at Jerash including the Church of St. Theodore from Moralee (2006)
Kraeling, C. (1938:173)
The transfer of the capital from Damascus to Baghdad, the growing insecurity of the country, and a series of disastrous earthquakes led ultimately to the desertion of the place. In the nature of the case we cannot say precisely when this happened. Fractured stones, tumbled columns and many signs of hastily interrupted activities are evidence of the earthquake shocks. Coins and other datable objects show that there was life here until the middle of the eighth century at least and probably longer. In 1122 A.D. William of Tyre mentions the city as having been long deserted, and though it was then reoccupied for a short time, Yaqut describes it as again deserted in the next century.
Kraeling, C. (1938:260)
Church of St. Theodore - Atrium

The west wall of the atrium was built of very massive stones, many of them dangerously dislocated by earthquake shocks. It ran alongside a small street which formed the western limit of the complex. A triple entrance only approximately in the center of this wall led into an entrance hall which was paved with mosaics, and from this three long steps descended into the open court. The court had porticoes on three sides only, the north, east and south: the columns in the porticoes had Ionic capitals. Some of the columns may have been moved here from the Fountain Court when it was reconstructed.
Kraeling, C. (1938:282)
Churches of St. John the Baptist, St. George and SS Cosmas and Damianus

2. The atrium. The atrium was rhomboidal in plan, much longer from north to south than from east to west. On the east side there was a colonnade of 14 Corinthian columns on a low stylobate. The columns, many of which were obviously displaced, vary in diameter, and the capitals found in this area are very miscellaneous in character (Plate XLVI, b). The colonnade apparently never reached beyond the central doors in the parecclesia, but the walk was continued as shown in the plan (Plan XX XVII). The walk was paved with red and white mosaics of which little remains; enough is preserved, however, to show that there were different patterns in front of each church. Before the final desertion of Gerasa the atrium and colonnade, like those in St. Theodore’s and St. Peter’s, were occupied by squatters who built walls in front of and between the columns; the pottery, glass and bronze articles found in their rooms suggest that the place was finally abandoned in haste, possibly after the earthquake in 746 A. D. This occupation explains the disappearance of the steps leading into the churches and the condition of the atrium mosaics
Russell (1985)
At Jerash, this earthquake apparently brought an end to the impoverished "squatter" occupation in the Church of St. Theodore (Crowfoot 1929: 25. 1938: 221) and parts of the churches of St. John the Baptist. St. George, and SS. Cosmas and Damianus (Crowfoot 1938: 242, 244).
Walmsley(2013:86-87) described seismic destruction in Jerash in the mid 8th century CE.
Its many churches continued in use right through the Umayyad period, only to be suddenly destroyed in the mid-eighth century by a violent act of nature — an earthquake — as graphically revealed during the excavation of the Church of St Theodore by the Yale Joint Mission in the 1930s (Crowfoot 1938: 223-4). The severity of this seismic event was recently confirmed by the discovery of a human victim entombed in a collapsed building along with his mule, some possessions and a hoard of 143 silver dirhams of mostly eastern origin, the last of which was minted in the year of the earthquake.
As Walmsley(2013:86-87) did not cite a source for the human victim and mule found inside a collapsed building, it is not known if this occurred in the Church of Saint Theodore.

Notes - Undated Archeoseismic evidence from El-Isa (1985)

El-Isa (1985) reported on archeoseismic evidence at Jerash including cracking and falling pillars, beams and walls, tilting of walls, and deformation of paved streets. He further reported that excavations in March 1983 revealed buried buildings which may indicate major subsidence of some ground blocks in the region brought about by earth faulting; at this stage, however, such phenomena cannot be confirmed and need more investigation. El-Isa (1985) noted that due to construction repair and continuous work at the site, it is difficult to extract quantitative archeoseismic information particularly regarding sense of motion. He added further that most of the fallen pillars were removed and many cracks and joints were cemented however standing pillars are sheared and slightly tilted. He stated that indications of motion along surface-shears seem to have a preferred direction of northwest and a secondary direction of south—west which may suggest that damaging earthquakes originated either from the southwest or north-west respectively.

Jerash - North Gate
Chronology
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

North Gate of Jerash Reconstructed North Gate of Jerash with dedicatory inscription

photo by Jefferson Williams


Russell (1985) speculated that a civic dedication found from the north gate of Jerash may reflect imperial aid Roman Emperor Trajan supplied to aid reconstruction after a disastrous earthquake. Kraeling (1938:47) dated construction of the new north gate of Jerash to 115 CE based on a dedicatory inscription. Kraeling (1938:424) discovered the inscription in 6 fragments which once reassembled referred to Trajan as the "savior and founder" of the city. However, Kraeling (1938:47) attributed the dedication to the improvement of the roads out of Jerash; in particular the Road to Pella which enabled direct connections to the coastal cities of Caesarea and Ptolemais (aka Acre). If the Incense Road Earthquake was caused by a fault break on the Arava fault, seismic damage at Jerash would have been light so I prefer Kraeling (1938:47)'s explanation.

Heshbon

Aerial view of Tall Heshbon Figure 3

Aerial photo of Tall Hisban a mediaeval village below (courtesy of Ivan LaBianca)

Walker et al (2017)


Names
Transliterated Name Language Name
Hesban
Heshbon Biblical Hebrew חשבון
Heshbon Arabic حشبون‎
Tell Hisban Arabic ‎تيلل هيسبان
Tell Ḥesbān Arabic تيلل هيسبان‎
Esebus Latin
Esbus Latin
Hesebon Ancient Greek Ἐσεβών
Esbous Ancient Greek Ἐσβούς
Exbous Ancient Greek Ἔξβους
Esbouta Ancient Greek Ἐσβούτα
Essebōn Ancient Greek Ἐσσεβών
Esb[untes]
Introduction

Heshbon has been sporadically occupied since at least the Iron Age ( Lawrence T. Geraty in Meyers et al, 1997). It is located on the Madaba Plains ~19 km. SW of Amman and ~6 km. NE of Mount Nebo.

Chronology and Seismic Effects

Dating earthquakes at this site before the 7th century CE is messy. Earlier publications provide contradictory earthquake assignments, possibly due to difficulties in assessing stratigraphy and phasing, but also due to uncritical use of older error prone earthquake catalogs. A number of earlier publications refer to earthquakes too far away to have damaged the site. Dates provided below are based on my best attempt to determine chronological constraints based on the excavator's assessment of primarily numismatic and ceramic evidence. Their earthquake date assignments, at the risk of being impolite, have been ignored.
Stratigraphy from Mitchel (1980)

Mitchel (1980:9) provided a list of 19 strata encountered over 5 seasons of excavations between 1968 and 1976. Mitchel (1980) wrote about Strata 11-15.

Stratum Dates Comments
1 1870-1976 CE
2 1400-1456 CE
3 1260-1400 CE
4 1200-1260 CE
5 750-969 CE
6 661-750 CE
7 614-661 CE
8 551-614 CE
9 408-551 CE
10 365-408 CE
11 284-365 CE Stratum 11 is characterized by another building program.
On the temple grounds a new colonnade was built in front (east) of the temple, perhaps a result of Julian's efforts to revive the state cult.
12 193-384 CE Stratum 12 represents a continuation of the culture of Stratum 13.
On the summit of the tell a large public structure was built; partly following the lines of earlier walls. This structure is interpreted to be the temple shown on the reverse of the so—called "Esbus Coin", minted at Aurelia Esbus under Elagabalus (A.D. 218 — 222).
13 130-193 CE Stratum 13 began with a major building effort occasioned by extensive earthquake destruction [in Stratum 14]
The transition from Stratum 13 to Stratum 12 appears to nave been a gradual one.
14 63 BCE - 130 CE the overall size of the settlement seems to have grown somewhat. Apart from the continued use of the fort on the summit, no intact buildings have survived. A large number of underground (bedrock) installations were in use during Stratum 14
The stratum was closed out by what has been interpreted as a disastrous earthquake
15 198-63 BCE architecture interpreted to be primarily a military post or fort, around which a dependent community gathered
16 7th-6th century BCE
17 9th-8th century BCE
18 1150-10th century BCE
19 1200-1150 BCE

Stratigraphy from Walker and LaBianca (2003)

Walker and LaBianca (2003:448)'s Chronological Chart of the Strata at Tall Hisban (Table 1) is presented below:

Stratum Political periodization Cultural Period Absolute Dates
I Late Ottoman-modern ‎Late Islamic IIb-modern
Pioneer, Mandate, and Hashemite
‎1800 CE-today
II Middle Ottoman Late Islamic IIa
Pre-modern tribal‎
1600-1800 CE‎
IIIb Early Ottoman Late Islamic Ib
Post-Mamluk - Early Ottoman‎
1500-1600 CE‎
IIIa Late Mamluk (Burji) Late Islamic Ia‎ 1400-1500 CE‎
IVb Early Mamluk II (Bahri) Middle Islamic IIc‎ 1300-1400 CE‎
IVa Early Mamluk I (Bahri) Middle Islamic IIb‎ 1250-1300 CE‎
IVa Ayyubid/Crusader Middle Islamic IIa‎ 1200-1250 CE‎
V Fatimid Middle Islamic I 1000-1200 CE‎
VIb Abbasid Early Islamic II 800-1000 CE‎
VIa Umayyad Early Islamic I 600-800 CE‎
VII Byzantine Byzantine 300-600 CE‎
VIII Roman Roman 60 BCE - 300 CE‎
IX Hellenistic Hellenistic 300-60 BCE‎
X Persian Persian 500-300 BCE‎
XIb Iron II Iron II 900-500 BCE‎
XIa Iron I Iron I 1200-900 BCE‎

Stratum 15 Destruction Layer (Mitchel, 1980) - 2nd - 1st century BCE

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Mitchel (1980:21) noted chronological difficulties dating Stratum 15.
Though evidence for Stratum 15 occupation at Tell Hesban occurs in the form of ceramic remains found across the entire site, evidence of stratigraphic value is greatly limited in quantity and extent.
Mitchel (1980:47) noted that there was limited evidence for destruction and/or abandonment in Stratum 15 though most of the evidence was removed by subsequent building activities particularly in Stratum 13. Destruction layers were variously described as debris, a rubble layer, or tumble. Due to slim evidence, Mitchel (1980:70) did not form firm conclusions about the nature of the end of Stratum 15
The transition to Stratum 14 may be characterized as a smooth one, although the evidence is slim. There is currently no evidence of a destroying conflagration at the end of Stratum 15. In fact, I do not believe it is likely that we shall know whether Stratum 15 Heshbon was simply abandoned or destroyed by natural or human events.

Stratum 14 Earthquake (Mitchel, 1980) - 1st century BCE - 2nd century CE

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Mitchel (1980) identified a destruction layer in Stratum 14 which he attributed to an earthquake. Unfortunately, the destruction layer is not precisely dated. Using some assumptions, Mitchel (1980) dated the earthquake destruction to the 130 CE Eusebius Mystery Quake, apparently unaware at the time that this earthquake account may be either misdated as suggested by Russell (1985) or mislocated as suggested by Ambraseys (2009). Although Russell (1985) attributed the destruction layer in Stratum 14 to the early 2nd century CE Incense Road Quake, a number of earthquakes are possible candidates including the 31 BCE Josephus Quake.

Mitchel (1980:73) reports that a majority of caves used for dwelling collapsed at the top of Stratum 14 which could be noticed by:
bedrock surface channels, presumably for directing run-off water into storage facilities, which now are totally disrupted, and in many cases rest ten to twenty degrees from the horizontal; by caves with carefully cut steps leading down into them whose entrances are fully or largely collapsed and no longer usable; by passages from caves which can still be entered into formerly communicating caves which no longer exist, or are so low-ceilinged or clogged with debris as to make their use highly unlikely — at least as they stand now.
Mitchel (1980:73) also noticed that new buildings constructed in Stratum 13 were leveled over a jumble of broken-up bedrock. Mitchel (1980:95) reports that Areas B and D had the best evidence for the massive bedrock collapse - something he attributed to the "softer" strata in this area, more prone to karst features and thus easier to burrow into and develop underground dwelling structures. Mitchel (1980:96) reports discovery of a coin of Aretas IV (9 BC – 40 AD) in the fill of silo D.3:57 which he suggests was placed as part of reconstruction after the earthquake. Although Mitchel (1980:96) acknowledges that this suggests that the causitive earthquake was the 31 BCE Josephus Quake, Mitchel (1980:96) argued for a later earthquake based on the mistaken belief that the 31 BCE Josephus Quake had an epicenter in the Galilee. Paleoseismic evidence from the Dead Sea, however, indicates that the 31 BCE Josephus Quake had an epicenter in the vicinity of the Dead Sea relatively close to Tell Hesban. Mitchel (1980:96-98)'s argument follows:
The filling of the silos, caves, and other broken—up bedrock installations at the end of the Early Roman period was apparently carried out nearly immediately after the earthquake occurred. This conclusion is based on the absence of evidence for extended exposure before filling (silt, water—laid deposits, etc.), which in fact suggests that maybe not even one winter's rain can be accounted for between the earthquake and the Stratum 13 filling operation. If this conclusion is correct, then the Aretas IV coin had to have been introduced into silo D.3:57 fill soon after the earthquake. which consequently could not have been earlier than 9 B.C.

The nature of the pottery preserved on the soft, deep fills overlying collapsed bedrock is also of significant importance to my argument in favor of the A.D. 130 earthquake as responsible for the final demise of underground (bedrock) installations in Areas B and D. Table 7 provides a systematic presentation of what I consider to be the critical ceramic evidence from loci in three adjacent squares, D.3, D.4, and B.7. The dates of the latest pottery uniformly carry us well beyond the date of the earthquake which damaged Qumran, down, in fact, closer to the end of the 1st century A.D. or the beginning of the 2nd.

In addition to these three fill loci, soil layer D.4:118A (inside collapsed cave D.4:116 + D.4:118) yielded Early Roman I-III sherds, as well as two Late Roman I sherds (Square D.4 pottery pails 265, 266). Contamination of these latter samples is possible, but not likely. I dug the locus myself.

Obviously, this post-31 B.C. pottery could have been deposited much later than 31 B.C.. closer, say, to the early 2nd century A.D., but the evidence seems to be against such a view. I personally excavated much of locus D.4:101 (Stratum 13). It was a relatively homogeneous, unstratified fill of loose soil that gave all the appearances of rapid deposition in one operation. From field descriptions of the apparently parallel loci in Squares D.3 and B.7. I would judge them to be roughly equivalent and subject to the same interpretation and date. And I repeat, the evidence for extended exposure to the elements (and a concomitant slow, stratified deposition) was either missed in excavation, not properly recorded, or did not exist.

This case is surely not incontrovertible but seems to me to carry the weight of the evidence which was excavated at Tell Hesban.
Mitchel (1980:100)'s 130 CE date for the causitive earthquake rests on the assumption that the "fills" were deposited soon after bedrock collapse. If one discards this assumption, numismatic evidence and ceramic evidence suggests that the "fill" was deposited over a longer period of time - perhaps even 200+ years - and the causitive earthquake was earlier. Unfortunately, it appears that the terminus ante quem for the bedrock collapse event is not well constrained. The terminus post quem appears to depend on the date for lower levels of Stratum 14 which seems to have been difficult to date precisely and underlying Stratum 15 which Mitchel (1980:21) characterized as chronologically difficult.

Stratum 11 Earthquake (Mitchel, 1980) - 4th century CE - possibly Cyril Quake

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Mitchel (1980:181) noted that a destruction of some sort tumbled the wall on the east side of the great stairway , signaling the end of the latter's useful life. The destruction was interpreted to be a result of one of the 363 CE Cyril Quakes. Mitchel (1980:193) suggested the source of the tumble was most probably the retaining wall at the east margin of the stairs (D.3:16A). Mitchel (1980:181) also suggests that this earthquake destroyed the Temple on the acropolis; noting that it was never rebuilt as a Temple. Numismatic evidence in support of a 363 CE earthquake destruction date was obtained from Locus C.5:219 where an Early Byzantine soil layer produced a coin of Constans I, A.D. 343 providing a closing date for Stratum 11 (Mitchel, 1980:195). However, Mitchel (1980:195) noted the presence of an alternative hypothesis where Sauer (1973a:46) noted that a 365/366 coin would suggest that the rock tumble and bricky rei soil of Stratum 6 should be associated with a 365 earthquake. Mitchel (1980:195) judged this hypothesis as untenable citing other numismatic and ceramic evidence. In a later publication, Sauer (1993:255-256) changed his dating assessment of the strata which appears to align with Mitchel (1980)'s original assessment.

Storfjell (1993:109-110) noted that damage appeared to be limited at Tall Hesban during this earthquake
Although evidence for the AD 363 earthquake was found at Hesban, it could only be identified in a few rock tumbles in various areas of the tell. Following the earthquake there was no large scale construction, neither domestic nor public. The earthquake, which was severe at other sites (Russell 1980) probably did little damage at Hesban.
That said, if Mitchel (1980:193) is correct that a retaining wall collapsed on the monumental stairway, unless it was tilted and at the point of collapse beforehand, it's collapse suggests high levels of local Intensity.

Stratum 9 Earthquake - ~6th century CE - debated

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Following the stratigraphy listed by Mitchel (1980:9), Storfjell (1993:113) noted archaeoseismic evidence which he dated to 500-525 CE.
There is scattered evidence for a destruction, probably caused by an earthquake. This evidence comes from Area C, and Probes G.11 and G.16. If there was evidence of destruction in Area A, it would have been removed in the subsequent reconstruction and enlargement of the church. The ceramic evidence suggests that the destruction occurred in the Late Byzantine period. Placement in the overall stratigraphic sequence would suggest a destruction date in the first quarter of the sixth century for Stratum 9.
Storfjell (1993:110) discussed dating of Stratum 9 as follows:
The evidence is not precise enough to specify with certainty the exact dates for Stratum 9, although the ceramic horizon is predominantly Early Byzantine (ca. AD 408-527). It is this period that first reveals the Christian presence at Tell Hesban.
The Christian presence was apparently the construction of a Christian church on the remains of the Roman Temple possibly damaged by an earthquake in the 4th century CE. This church was apparently rebuilt in Stratum 8 which has a terminus ante quem of 614 CE according to Storfjell (1993:113). Sauer (1993:259), in the same publication, disputes the early 6th century earthquake evidence at Tall Hisban stating that thus far, there is no earthquake evidence at Hesban in this period.

7th century CE Earthquake

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Walker and LaBianca (2003:453-454) uncovered 7th century CE archeoseismic evidence which they attributed to the Jordan Valley Quake of 659/660 CE from an excavation of an Umayyad-period building in Field N of Tall Hesban . They report a badly broken hard packed yellowish clay floor which was pocketed in places by wall collapse and accompanied by crushed storage jars, basins, and cookware. An excerpt from their article follows:
Two roughly square rooms, each approximately 4 x 4 meters wide and built against the inner face of the Hellenistic wall, occupied most of N.l and N.2. Masonry walls, four courses high, delineated the space. The original rooms were separated by what appears to have been an open air corridor; a door in the east wall of N. l and one in the west wall of N.2 allowed passage between the two rooms. The floors of these rooms (N.1: 18, N.2: 16) were made of a hard packed, yellowish clay, which was badly broken and pocketed in many places by wall collapse. Upper courses of the walls of the rooms had fallen onto the floor and crushed several large storage jars and basins and cookware (Fig. 16 ), dated in the field to the transitional Byzantine-Umayyad period. The only foundation trench identified (N.2: 25) yielded no pottery. The fill above these floors contained pottery that was late Umayyad and Abbasid in date. While it is not possible at this early stage of excavation to determine when this structure was first built, it was clearly occupied in the middle of the seventh century, suffered a catastrophic event, and was reoccupied (at some point) and used into the ninth century. Fallen architecture, crushed pottery, badly damaged floors that appeared to have "melted" around the fallen blocks, and wide and deep ash pits and lenses bare witness to a major conflagration. The most likely candidate for this is the recorded earthquake of 658/9, which was one of the most destructive in Jordan's history since the Roman period, rather than the Islamic conquests of the 630's ( El-Isa 1985: 233).

Mamluk Earthquake - late 14th - early 15th centuries CE

  • Areas of excavations at Tell Heshbon from Walker and LaBianca (2003)
Walker and LaBianca (2003:447-453) uncovered late 14th - early 15th century CE archaeoseismic evidence from excavations undertaken in 1998 and 2001 of Mamluk-period constructions in Field L. They identified a complex of rooms previously called the bathhouse complex as the residence of the Mamluk governor of the al-Balqa'. . Walker and LaBianca (2003:447) described and dated the storeroom complex (L.1 and L.2) as follows:
The storeroom complex of L.1 and L.2 was built in three phases, all dated to the fourteenth century (and assigned to Stratum IVb) on the basis of associated pottery. Architectural Phases I and II correspond, respectively, to the original construction (the narrow storeroom in L.1 and the rooms east of it in L.2) and an extension of the L.1 storeroom to the east that followed a short time later (Fig. 7). Phase III, on the other hand, represents a relatively brief reoccupation of the rooms associated with the storeroom's doorway (square L.2).
In L.1 and L.2, earthquake damage was discovered at the end of Phase II.
Phase II Excavations at tall Hisban, the 1998 and 2001 Seasons: The Islamic Periods (Strata I-VI)

...

Earthquake damage was everywhere evident in the L.2 part of the storeroom, with walls knocked out of alignment; collapsed vaults (Fig. 8 ); and extensive ash cover, the result of a large conflagration likely brought on by oil lamps that had fallen from the upper stories. Thousands of fragments of glazed pottery, crushed by the vault stones that fell on them; nearly complete sugar storage jars (Fig. 9); dozens of channel-nozzle and pinched lamps (Fig. 10), many interspersed among fallen vault stones; fragments of bronze weaponry; painted jars and jugs (Fig. 11); and occasional fragments of metal bowls were recovered from L.1:17 - L.2:12, the beaten earth floor of the Mamluk-period (Stratum IVb) storeroom. There is evidence that the earth floor was originally plastered, as traces of white plaster were noticeable in the corners of the room, along the base of the walls at some places, and at the doorway. Earthquake and fire damage was so severe, however, that most of the plaster was destroyed.
Overlying strata was described as follows:
A meter-thick fill of loess (L.1:3, L.2:7) covered the floor (L.1:17, L.2:12), bearing witness to centuries of abandonment after the partial collapse of the covering vaults. The uppermost levels of the storeroom (L.2:3) above this fill were largely disturbed by a Stratum I, Ottoman-period cemetery
Walker et al (2017) also noted archeoseismic evidence which appears to be from the same earthquake in field M (aka Area M) which is described below:
Middle Islamic 3/Post-Middle Islamic 3

...
earthquake (misaligned stones in architecture throughout field; collapse of vaulting and walls) destroys parallel chambers in M4, M5, M8 and M9; area abandoned.

Intensity Estimates
Stratum 14 Earthquake (Mitchel, 1980) - 1st century BCE - 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls entrances are fully or largely collapsed and no longer usable
passages ... into formerly communicating caves which no longer exist
clogged with debris
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)

Stratum 11 Earthquake (Mitchel, 1980) - 4th century CE - possibly Cyril Quake - debated

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls a destruction of some sort tumbled the wall on the east side of the great stairway 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)

7th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Broken pottery found in fallen position Upper courses of the walls of the rooms had fallen onto the floor and crushed several large storage jars and basins and cookware (Fig. 16 ) VII +
Collapsed Walls Upper courses of the walls of the rooms had fallen onto the floor
Fallen architecture
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)

Mamluk Earthquake - late 14th - early 15th centuries CE

Effect Description Intensity
Broken pottery found in fallen position L.2 & L.1 (?) - Thousands of fragments of glazed pottery, crushed by the vault stones that fell on them VII +
Displaced Walls L.2 - walls knocked out of alignment
Field M - misaligned stones in architecture throughout field
VII +
Collapsed Vaults L.2 - collapsed vaults (Fig. 8 )
Field M - collapse of vaulting and walls
VIII +
Collapsed Walls Field M - collapse of vaulting and walls
Field M - destroys parallel chambers in M4, M5, M8 and M9
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

Walker, B. J. and Øystein, S.L. (2003). "The Islamic Qusur of Tall Ḥisbān : preliminary report on the 1998 and 2001 seasons." Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 47: 443.

Mitchel, L. A. (1980). The Hellenistic and Roman Periods at Tell Hesban, Jordan, Andrews University. PhD.

Heshbon Expedition Symposium, Hesban after 25 years, Berrien Springs, Mich., Institute of Archaeology, Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum, Andrews University.

Boraas, Roger S., and S. H. Horn. Heshbon 1968: The First Campaign at Tell Hesban, a Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 2. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1969.

Boraas, Roger S., and S. H. Horn. Heshbon 1971: The Second Campaign at Tell Hesban, a Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 6. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1973.

Boraas, Roger S., and S. H. Horn. Heshbon 1973: The Third Campaign at Tell Hesban, a Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 8. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1975.

Boraas, Roger S., and Lawrence T . Geraty. Heshbon 1974: The Fourth Campaign at Tell Hesban, a Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 9. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1976.

Boraas, Roger S., and Lawrence T. Geraty. Heshbon 1976: The Fifth Campaign at Tell Hesban, a Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 10. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1978.

Boraas, Roger S., and Lawrence T. Geraty. "The Long Life of Tell Hesban, Jordan." Archaeology 32 (1979): 10-20.

Bullard, Reuben G. "Geological Study of the Heshbon Area." Andrews University Seminary Studies 10 (1972): 129-141.

Cross, Frank Moore. "An Unpublished Ammonite Ostracon from Hesban." In The Archaeology of Jordan and Other Studies Presented to Siegfried H. Horn, edited by Lawrence T. Geraty and Larry G. Herr, pp. 475-489. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1986.

Geraty, Lawrence T., and Leona Glidden Running, eds. Hesban, vol. 3, Historical Foundations: Studies of Literary References to Heshbon and Vicinity. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1989.

Geraty, Lawrence T., and David Merling. Hesban after Twenty-Five Years. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1994. - Reviews the results of the excavations of the Heshbon expedition a quarter-century after its first field season; full bibliography.

Horn, S. H. "The 1968 Heshbon Expedition." Biblical Archaeologist 32 (1969): 26-41.

Ibach, Robert D., Jr. Hesban, vol. 5, Archaeological Survey of the Hesban Region. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1987.

LaBianca, Oystein S., and Larry Lacelle, eds. Hesban, vol. 2, Environmental Foundations: Studies of Climatical, Geological, Hydrological, and Phytological Conditions in Hesban and Vicinity. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1986.

LaBianca, 0ystein S. Hesban, vol. 1, Sedentarization and Nomadization: Food System Cycles at Hesban and Vicinity in Transjordan. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1990.

Lugenbeal, Edward N., and James A. Sauer. "Seventh-Sixth Century B.C. Pottery from Area B at Heshbon." Andrews University Seminary Studies 10 (1972); 21-69.

Mitchel, Larry A. Hesban, vol. 7, Hellenistic and Roman Strata. Berrien Springs, Mich., 1992.

Sauer, James A. Heshbon Pottery 1971: A Preliminary Report on the Pottery from the 1971 Excavations at Tell Hesban. Andrews University Monographs, vol. 7. Berrien Springs, Mich,, 1973.

Sauer, James A. "Area B. " Andrews University Seminary Studies 12 (1974): 35-71

Terian, Abraham, "Coins from the 1968 Excavations at Heshbon." Andrews University Seminary Studies 9 (1971): 147-160.

Vyhmeister, Werner. "The History of Heshbon from Literary Sources. "Andrews University Seminary Studies 6 (1968): 158-177

Caesarea

Names
Transliterated Name Language Name
Caesarea
Caesarea Maritima
Keysariya Hebrew ‎קֵיסָרְיָה
Qesarya Hebrew ‎קֵיסָרְיָה
Qisri Rabbinic Sources
Qisrin Rabbinic Sources
Qisarya Arabic قيسارية
Qaysariyah Early Islamic Arabic قايساريياه
Caesarea near Sebastos Greek and Latin sources
Caesarea of Straton Greek and Latin sources
Caesarea of Palestine Greek and Latin sources
Caesarea Ancient Greek ‎Καισάρεια
Straton's Tower
Strato's Tower
Stratonos pyrgos Ancient Greek
Straton's Caesarea
Introduction

King Herod built the town of Caesarea between 22 and 10/9 BCE, naming it for his patron - Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. The neighboring port was named Sebastos - Greek for Augustus (Stern et al, 1993). Straton's Tower, a Phoenician Port city, existed earlier on the site. When the Roman's annexed Judea in 6 CE, Caesarea became the headquarters for the provincial governor and his administration (Stern et al, 1993). During the first Jewish War, Roman General Vespasian wintered at Caesarea and used it as his support base (Stern et al, 1993). After he became Emperor, he refounded the city as a Roman colony. Caesarea is mentioned in the 10th chapter of the New Testament book of Acts as the location where, shortly after the crucifixion, Peter converted Roman centurion Cornelius - the first gentile convert to the faith. In Early Byzantine times, Caesarea was known for its library and as the birthplace of the Christian Church historian and Bishop Eusebius. After the Muslim conquest of the 7th century, the city began to decline but revived again in the 10th century (Stern et al, 1993). Crusaders ruled the city for most of the years between 1101 and 1265 CE (Stern et al, 1993). After the Crusaders were ousted, the town was eventually leveled in 1291 CE and remained mostly desolate after that (Stern et al, 1993).

Chronology
Stratigraphic Framework of Toombs (1978)

  • Sketch plan of Caesarea Maritima from Toombs (1978) .
Toombs (1978) developed a stratigraphic framework for Caesarea after 4 seasons of excavations using the destruction layers overlying the latest Byzantine occupation as the stratigraphic key. The framework was developed primarily on balk sections from four fields - A, B, C, and H. It is considered most accurate for the Byzantine and Arab phases and least accurate for Late Arab and Roman levels. It is reproduced as a summarized table below:
Phase Period Date Comments
I Modern
II Crusader 1200-1300 CE‎
III.1 Late Arab 900*-1200 CE
III.2 Middle Arab
Abbasid
750-900* CE
III.3 Early Arab
Umayyad
640-750 CE
IV Byzantine/Arab 640 CE In A.D. 640 Caesarea fell to Arab invaders. This time the destruction was complete and irretrievable. Battered columns and the empty shells of buildings stood nakedly above heaps of tangled debris.
V Final Byzantine 614-640 CE In A.D. 614 Persian armies captured Caesarea, but withdrew by A.D. 629. This invasion caused widespread destruction and brought the Main Byzantine Period to a close, but recovery was rapid and the city was restored
VI.1 Main Byzantine 450/550*-614 CE
VI.2 Main Byzantine 330 - 450/550* CE
VII.1 Roman 200*-330 CE It seems probable that during the Late Roman Period a major catastrophe befell the city, causing a partial collapse of the vaulted warehouses along the waterfront, and the destruction of major buildings within the city. Such a city-wide disaster alone would account for the rebuilding of the warehouse vaulting and the buildings above it, as well as the virtual absence of intact Roman structures in the city proper.
VII.2 Roman 100*-200* CE
VII.3 Roman 10 BCE - 100* CE
Dates with an asterisk (*) were derived from Note 4 in Toombs (1978:232)

Toombs (1978)'s Stratigraphic framework with comparison between areas is shown below:

Stratigraphic Framework for Caesarea by Toombs (1978) Figure 4

Stratigraphic analysis of the results of the first four seasons at Caesarea, tabulated by Field.

Toombs (1978)

Stratigraphy in Ad et al (2017)

Ad et al (2017) excavated the Crusader Market and presented the following stratigraphy:

Stratum Period
I Modern
II Late Ottoman (Bosnian)
IIIa Crusader (Louis IX)
IIIb Crusader (pre-Louis IX)
IV Fatimid
V Abbasid
VI Umayyad
VII Late Byzantine/Early Umayyad
VIII Late Byzantine
IX Early Byzantine
X Late Roman
XI Roman
XII Early Roman
XIII Herodian

31 BCE Earthquake

Karcz (2004) without citing references states that 31 BCE archeoseismic evidence was claimed at Stratton's Tower.

Late 1st century CE Earthquake

  • View of ancient harbor of Caesarea from Reinhardt and Raban (1999)
Using ceramics, Reinhardt and Raban (1999) dated a high energy subsea deposit inside the harbor at Caesarea to the late 1st / early 2nd century CE. This, along with other supporting evidence, indicated that the outer harbor breakwater must have subsided around this time. They attributed the subsidence to seismic activity.
L4 — Destruction Phase

The first to second century A.D. basal rubble unit (L4) was found on the carbonate cemented sandstone bedrock (locally known as kurkar) and was characteristic of a high-energy water deposit (Fig. 2 ). The rubble was framework supported with little surrounding matrix and composed mainly of cobble-sized material, which was well rounded, heavily encrusted (e.g., bryozoans, calcareous algae), and bored (Lithophaga lithophaga, Cliona) on its upper surface. The rubble had variable lithologies including basalts, gabbros, and dolomites, all of which are absent on the Israeli coastal plain and were likely transported to the site as ship ballast (probably from Cyprus). The surrounding matrix was composed of shell material (mainly Glycymeris insubricus), pebbles, and coarse sand. The pottery sherds found in this unit were well rounded, encrusted, and dated to the first to second century A.D. The date for this unit and its sedimentological characters clearly records the existence of high-energy conditions within the inner harbor about 100-200 yr after the harbor was built. This evidence of high-energy water conditions indicates that the outer harbor breakwaters must have been severely degraded by this time to allow waves to penetrate the inner confines of the harbor (Fig. 3, A and B ).

Indication of the rapid destruction of the outer harbor breakwaters toward the end of the first century A.D. is derived from additional data recovered from the outer harbor. In the 1993 season, a late first century A.D. shipwreck was found on the southern submerged breakwater. The merchant ship was carrying lead ingots that were narrowly dated to A.D. 83-96 based on the inscription "IMP.DOMIT.CAESARIS.AUG.GER." which refers to the Roman Emperor Domitianus (Raban, 1999). The wreck was positioned on the harbor breakwater, indicating that this portion of the structure must have been submerged to allow a ship to run-up and founder on top (Raban, 1999; Fig. 3B). Because Josephus praised the harbor in grand terms and referred to it as a functioning entity around A.D. 75-79, and yet portions of the breakwater were submerged by A.D. 83-96, we conclude that there was a rapid deterioration and submergence of the harbor, probably through seismic activity.
Later they suggested that the subsidence had a neotectonic origin.
Evidence for neotectonic subsidence of the harbor has been reinforced by separate geologic studies (stratigraphic analysis of boreholes, Neev et al., 1987; seismic surveys, Mart and Perecman, 1996) that recognize faults in the shallow continental shelf and in the proximity of Caesarea; one fault extends across the central portion of the harbor. However, obtaining precise dates for movement along the faults is difficult. Archaeological evidence of submergence can be useful for dating and determining the magnitude of these events: however, at Caesarea the evidence is not always clear.
Neotectonic subsidence is unlikely. As pointed out by Dey et al(2014), the coastline appears to have been stable for the past ~2000 years with sea level fluctuating no more than ± 50 cm, no pronounced vertical displacement of the city's Roman aqueduct (Raban, 1989:18-21), and harbor constructions completed directly on bedrock showing no signs of subsidence. However, Reinhardt and Raban (1999) considered more realistic possibilities for submergence of harbor installations such as seismically induced liquefaction, storm scour, and tsunamis.
The submergence of the outer harbor break-waters at the end of the first century A.D. could have also been due to seismic liquefaction of the sediment. Excavations have shown that the harbor breakwaters were constructed on well-sorted sand that could have undergone liquefaction with seismic activity. In many instances the caissons are tilted (15°-20° from horizontal; Raban et al., 1999a) and at different elevations, which could be due to differential settling (area K; Fig. 1 ). However, the tilting could also be due to undercutting by current scour from large-scale storms (or tsunamis) and not exclusively seismic activity. Our data from the inner harbor cannot definitively ascribe the destruction of the harbor at the end of the first century A.D. to a seismic event, although some of the data support this conclusion. However, regardless of the exact mechanism, our sedimentological evidence from the inner harbor and the remains of the late first century A.D. shipwreck indicate that the submergence of the outer breakwater occurred early in the life of the harbor and was more rapid and extensive than previously thought.
Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015) examined and dated cores taken seaward of the harbor and identified 2 tsunamite deposits (see Tsunamogenic Evidence) including one which dates to to the 1st-2nd century CE. Although, it is tempting to correlate the 1st-2nd century CE tsunamite deposits of Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015) to the L4 destruction phase identified in the harbor ( Reinhardt and Raban, 1999), the chronologies presented by Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015) suffer from some imprecision due to the usual paucity of dating material that one encounters with cores. Further, the harbor subsidence and breakwater degradation dated by Reinhardt and Raban (1999) may not have been caused by seismic activity. If it was related to seismic activity, the early 2nd century CE Incense Road Quake is a better candidate than the 115 CE Trajan Quake because it would have produced higher intensities in Caesarea.

Cyril Quake - 363 CE - tenuous evidence

Raphael and Bijovsky (2014) examined "a large hoard of 3,700 copper coins found in the excavations of" what may have been a synagogue. They describe the discovery of the coin hoard as follows:

In 1962, during the excavations at Caesarea, Avi-Yonah unearthed a large hoard containing 3,700 copper-alloy coins, in a building that he identified as a synagogue. The latest coins in the hoard date to 361 CE, suggesting that the synagogue was destroyed by the 363 CE earthquake. ... The finds from the excavation were only partially published. Much of the information, such as locus numbers, is not always clear and the exact location of the hoard is not marked on a plan or described by Avi-Yonah. Nevertheless, his written descriptions clearly state that the hoard was found in the building and the strata are fairly well defined. A photograph shows Avi-Yonah in the building during the excavation kneeling next to the in situ hoard (Fig. 1).
The coins were found in Stratum IV. The original excavator (Avi-Yonah) "gave no reason for the destruction of Stratum IV." In discussing evidence for seismic destruction in Caesarea, Raphael and Bijovsky (2014) provide the following:
None of the excavations revealed large scale damage in Stratum IV: "there is no evidence of wholesale destruction across the site, especially since the wall lines are still mostly intact based upon photographic record. Yet not much remains of the structure either in stratum IV or stratum V" (Govaars et al. 2009:132). After the earthquake debris was cleared, the synagogue was rebuilt. Stones from the previous synagogue were reused for the building of the stratum V synagogue, but the hoard was not found until Avi-Yonah's excavations. Govaars wrote "the direct relationship of the coin hoard to a structure is uncertain and, therefore the coin evidence cannot be used to date the still unknown structure" (Govaars et al. 2009:42). This is a somewhat peculiar statement considering the coins were found in the synagogue and are on the whole well preserved, homogeneous and well dated. Avi-Yonah was convinced that the hoard was directly related to the Stratum IV building: "The fact that a hoard of 3,700 bronze coins was found in the ruins of the synagogue itself that were buried in 355/356 AD indicates that this synagogue was built in the end of the third or the early fourth century, and was destroyed in the mid fourth century AD" (Avi-Yonah 1964:26 n. 5).

...

Evidence at Caesarea

The subject of earthquakes and tsunamis has been partially reviewed by several archaeologists who directed or participated in the excavations at Caesarea. None of the monumental buildings across the site revealed earthquake damage that dates to the fourth century CE.

The report of remains from the excavations of the Promontory Palace at Caesarea, dated between the early fourth century and early sixth centuries, does not mention destruction levels (Levine and Netzer 1986:176-184). In other excavations, the Roman and Byzantine-period warehouses and granaries (horreum) gradually fell into ruin over a considerable period. Neither the main streets, pavements, sewage and water systems, the theater, amphitheater nor the stadiums of the Late Roman and Byzantine periods show signs of destruction that suggested earthquake damage (Humphrey 1974:32; Porath 1996:114-120; Porath 2003 and Porath [pers. comm.]).

If the town was partially damaged or destroyed in the 363 CE earthquake, as the Harvard Syriac letter [i.e. the letter attributed to Cyril] describes, then other than the large coin hoard, the earthquake left no clear, tangible evidence. The damage was cleared and buildings were repaired or rebuilt. Although none of the archaeological reports mentions earthquake damage, several reports clearly describe the abandonment and/or the rebuilding of public buildings in the second half of the fourth century CE. None of the authors provided a reason for their destruction or abandonment.

Tectonic evidence such as collapsed columns, thick piles of debris or warped walls are elusive throughout the fourth century architecture of Caesarea. Why is this typical earthquake damage missing? Are the written sources and the numismatic evidence sufficient proof of the 363 CE earthquake in Caesarea? It is important to note that among the various violent, politically motivated upheavals that took place in the second half of the fourth century, one of the main candidates explaining destruction at archaeological sites is the Gallus Revolt (352 CE). However, none of the sources that describe this revolt mention Caesarea Maritima (Geller-Nathanson 1986:34)
1,453 coins from the hoard of coins were identifiable by mints and dates. They ranged in age from 315 CE to the first quarter of the 5th century CE. 110 of these coins ranged in age from 364 - 421 CE and post dated 363 CE. The bulk of the hoard, however, were struck between 341 and 361 CE. The authors noted that 11 of the post 363 CE coins may have been intrusive. An explanation for the other 99 post 363 CE coins was based largely on a comparison to a similarly dated coin hoard in Qasrin. The authors opined that the many coins from Julian II shows that the coins could not have been concealed before 355 CE ruling out the Gallus Revolt (352 CE) as a cause for the loss of the hoard. On the whole, this numismatic evidence for the Cyril Quake striking Caesarea seems tenuous however since Caesarea was mentioned as being partly ruined in Cyril's letter, it merits inclusion in this catalog.

7th century CE Earthquake

Langgut et al (2015) report that destruction of a building in Caesarea Maritima was tentatively attributed to the 659 CE earthquake by Raban et al (1993:59-61).

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

  • Caesarea with principal sites mentioned by Dey et al(2014)
Dey et al (2014) report that evidence for seismic destruction due to one of the mid 8th century earthquakes is present adjacent to the Temple Platform and possibly at the octagonal church.
At Caesarea, the best evidence of destruction attributable to the 749 earthquake comes from Area TPS, on the S side of the Temple Platform, where a thick layer of debris marks the end of the Umayyad occupation of the Late Byzantine bath complex, which was subsequently mulled and built over in the later 8th century - see Raban and Yankelevitz (2008:81) and Arnon (2008:85). Another probable effect of the earthquake was the collapse of the octagonal church on the platform - see Stabler and Holum (2008:30-31).
In addition, there appears to be evidence of landward tsunami deposits. After the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, Caesarea depopulated. In the late 7th or early 8th century CE, the coastal strip south of where the Crusaders would later build their fortifications was transformed into lush terraced gardens irrigated by wells and cisterns ( Dey et al, 2014). Marine layers found on top of these gardens included Glycymeris, a non-edible deeper water bivalve. Atop the marine layer was, in some areas, a burial ground with a funerary inscription providing a terminus ante quem of 870 CE. A terminus post quem of c. 500 came from a reflecting pool fronting the Temple platform and overlain by the marine layer. Dey et al (2014) suggest that the most likely explanation for the transformation from gardens to burial ground was an intervening episode of tsunamogenic destruction. They discussed the potential landward tsunamogenic deposit as follows:
The most substantial strata attributable to a marine inundation of mid-8th-c. date appeared in the SW sector, along the coastal strip south of the Crusader fortifications. Extensive tracts of these deposits between the temple platform and the theater, a shore-parallel distance of nearly 800 m, were uncovered (and removed, usually mechanically) in the 1970s and early 1980s under the auspices of the Joint Expedition (JECM). The bulk of the deposits lay in a shallow depression situated c.10 m above mean sea-level (MSL) and separated from the sea by a low ridge 15 m above MSL. From the landward side of the ridge, beginning c.50 m from the shore, these marine layers stretched inland as far as 300 m from the sea. 14 They comprised two distinct, superimposed sequences, each consisting of a thick, lower layer of densely-bedded (and in some cases imbricated) shells, rubble and sherds up to 1.5 m thick, topped by a dark, silty layer 20-40 cm thick. Datable materials in the second, upper sequence placed its formation around the 14th c. 15 In the lower sequence, dated by the excavators approximately to the 8th c. on the basis of finds, numerous disarticulated human remains turned up, as well as at least one complete skeleton in Area C, interbedded with the surrounding strata of shells and silt. 16 Like the rest of the materials, this corpse was probably deposited by a (cataclysmic) natural event. As D. Neev and K. Emery indicated in their report, there were no signs of a man-made grave, and the surrounding horizontal strata were uninterrupted above and below the skeleton; such 'culturally non-appropriate burials' are now recognized as a typical feature of tsunami deposits.17 The most likely scenario would have corpses deposited by the retreating waters of the tsunami and immediately covered with more detritus, keeping the articulated skeleton undisturbed by scavenging animals or human intervention.

Seismic Effects
Late 1st century CE Earthquake

Potential Seismic Effects include

  • Liquefaction
  • Subsidence
  • Tsunami

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

Potential Seismic Effects include

  • Thick layer of debris in Area TPS on the south side of the Temple platform
  • Collapse of the octagonal church on the platform
  • Tsunami

Intensity Estimates
Late 1st century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Subsidence Submergence of the outer harbor break-waters at the end of the first century A.D. VI +
Liquefaction Submergence of the outer harbor break-waters at the end of the first century A.D. could have also been due to seismic liquefaction of the sediment. VII +
Tsunami IX +
Although 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) , such an Intensity would have leveled Caesarea and there is no accompanying evidence of damage to structures. An Intensity of IX (9) is a gross over estimate and highlights the probability that tsunamogenic evidence in Caesarea was likely derived from either far field tsunamis and/or localized offshore shelf collapse. Potential Intensity is downgraded to VI (6) to VII (7).

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Another probable effect of the earthquake was the collapse of the octagonal church on the platform VIII +
Tsunami IX +
Although 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) , such an Intensity would have leveled Caesarea and there is no accompanying evidence of widespread leveling of structures. An Intensity of IX (9) is a gross over estimate and highlights the probability that tsunamogenic evidence in Caesarea was likely derived from either far field tsunamis and/or localized offshore shelf collapse. Potential Intensity is downgraded to VII (7) to VIII (8).

Notes and Further Reading
References

Toombs (1978). The Stratigraphy of Caesarea Maritima. Archaeology in the Levant: Essays for Kathleen Kenyon. R. M. a. P. Parr. Warminster. England, Aris and Phillips: 233-232.

Raban, A. (1996). The inner harbor basin of Caesarea: archaeological evidence for its gradual demise

Raban, A. and O. British Archaeological Reports (1989). "The Harbours of Caesarea Maritima. Results of the Caesarea Ancient Harbour Excavation Project, 1980-1985. Volume I: The Site and the Excavations." BAR International series 491.

Dey, H., et al. (2014). "Archaeological evidence for the tsunami of January 18, A.D. 749: a chapter in the history of Early Islamic Qâysariyah (Caesarea Maritima)." Journal of Roman Archaeology 27: 357-373.

Stabler, J, and K. Holum 2008. "The warehouse quarter (area LL) and the Temple Platform (area TP), 1996-2000 and 2002 seasons," in Holum, Stabler and Reinhardt 2008, 1-39. Reinhardt, E. G., et al. (2006). "The tsunami of 13 December A.D. 115 and the destruction of Herod the Great's harbor at Caesarea Maritima, Israel." Geology 34(12): 1061-1064.

Reinhardt, E. G. and A. Raban (1999). "Destruction of Herod the Great's harbor at Caesarea Maritima, Israel—Geoarchaeological evidence." Geology 27(9): 811-814.

Mart and Perecman(1996). Caesarea: Unique Evidence for Faulting Patterns and Sea Level Fluctuations in the Late Holocene. Caesarea Maritima: A Retrospective after Two Milennia. Leiden, Brill: 3-24.

Raban, A. and S. Yankelevitz 2008. "A Byzantine/Early Islamic bath on the S flank of the Temple Plat-form, excavations 1995," in Holum, Stabler and Reinhardt 2008, 67-84.

Holum, K. G., J. A. Stabler and E. G. Reinhardt (edd.) 2008. Caesarea reports and studies: excavations 1995-2007 within the Old City mid the ancient harbor (BAR 51784; Oxford).

Arnon, Y. D. 2008. Caesarea Maritima, the late periods (700-1291 CE) (BAR 51771; Oxford).

Raban A, Holum KG, Blakely JA. 1993. The combined Caesarea expeditions: field reports of the 1992 season. Haifa: University of Haifa.

Caesarea-Maritima.org

Caesarea-Maritima.org - Comprehensive Bibliography

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
Phasing

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).

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

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

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 .
Phasing

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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) described Earthquake I 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
Thomas et al (2007) 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

  • Composite stratigraphic section forJ-east from Thomas et al (2007)
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

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
  • Figure 5C
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).

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

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
  • Figure 5C
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.

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

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
  • Figure 5C
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).

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

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
  • Figure 5 Section C
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.

Earthquake V - Early Byzantine - 363 CE

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
  • Figure 4
  • Figure 5 - Sections A and B
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).

Earthquake VI - 1st half of 4th century CE

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
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.

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

  • Plan of Area J-east from Thomas et al (2007)
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.
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

Petra

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

Katute
Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
el-Katute Arabic يلءكاتوتي‎‎
Introduction

Parr, P. J. (1960) excavated what he believed to be a monumental structure at el-Katute in 1958 and/or 1959.

Chronology
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Parr, P. J. (1960:129), reported the following from excavations at Trench I in Katute:

Only in two restricted areas, both outside the building, have the original floors been reached, and until more evidence is forthcoming the date of its construction must remain uncertain. But from the secondary surfaces within the building, some of them laid down after the partial destruction of the interior walls, a series of coins gives a firm date for the latest occupation of the structure. Of eight coins so far studied, two are of Malichus II and Shaqilath II (c. A.D. 40-71), five are of Rabbel II and Gamilath (A.D. 71-106, but late in the period, since Gamilath is Rabbel's second consort), and one is of Rabbel with either Shaqilath or Gamilath, this being uncertain. The significance of these coins is increased when it is noted that four of Rabbel II and Gamilath come from the same layer of make-up beneath one of the secondary floors. There can be little doubt, therefore, that the building was in use at the end of the 1st century A.D., and probably right up until the Roman conquest of A.D. 106, though the apparent lack of Roman Imperial coins suggests that it soon feel out of use then. Judging from the fact that the secondary surfaces from which the coins come in some cases seal the first destruction levels of the building, a date in the first half of the 1st century A.D. for its construction is not, perhaps, unlikely. An earlier date than this for the rebuilding of the main wall is precluded by the discovery of a coin of Aretas IV and Shaqilath I (c. 9 B.C-A.D. 40) in a level immediately underlying the construction level associated with that rebuilding.

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

  • Map of Petra from Parr, P. J. (1960)
Seismic Effects
  • partial destruction of the interior walls

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls partial destruction of the interior walls 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) .

Notes and Further Reading
References
Temple of the Winged Lions
Temple of the Winged Lions Temple of the Winged Lions

Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Bernard Gagnon


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Temple of the Winged Lions English
Temple of Site II English
Introduction

The Temple of the Winged Lions gets its name from a the columns surrounding the main podium. These columns had a unique Winged Lion Capital rather than Corinthian ones.

Maps and Plans Chronology

In 1973 and 1974, Hammond (1975) excavated the Temple of the Winged Lions which he labeled as the Temple of Site II. The phasing of the Temple of the Winged Lions and the domestic complex in Area I ~50 meters east of the Temple of the Winged Lions were similar and apparently reconciled in Hammond (1978) . Because Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017) re-evaluated the excavated materials from Area I and presented a revised chronology, reference should be made to Area I near the Temple of the Winged Lions for chronology - particularly regarding early 2nd century CE earthquake evidence. Phasing from Hammond (1975) and discussion of potential seismic events is presented below:
Phasing - Hammond (1975)



Early 2nd century CE Earthquake
363 CE Earthquake

Although the Phase X destruction layer was initially misdated to the Crete earthquake of 365 CE, Hammond (1980) later acknowledged this as a mistake. The corrected correlation of the Phase X destruction layer would then be to the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE. See also Area I near the Temple of the Winged Lions. Jones (2021) noted that

Ward (2016: 144) has pointed out that the evidence for dating the major destruction to 363 is quite limited, although this is still the most reasonable date for this destruction.
It should be noted, however, that the reason that the evidence for dating the major destruction to 363 is quite limited may be because a final report on the excavation was never published before the deaths of Hammond and Russell.

6th century CE Earthquake

Jones (2021) noted the following:

Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017: 144-45) note the lack of 6th century material at both the Temple of the Winged Lions and the residential complex in nearby Area I, although this may simply indicate that the area was abandoned prior to its destruction in the late 6th century.

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

Hammond (1975) discussed this archaeoseismic evidence as follows:

There can be no question that the architectural debris covered by the silting of the previous phase and resting on the surface of the next phase below represents anything but the final destruction of the building of Phase XV. The direction of this fall ran from the Northwest to the Southeast consistently throughout the excavated areas of the previous phase and resting on the surface of the next phase below represents anything but the final destruction of the building of Phase XV. The direction of this fall ran from the Northwest to the Southeast consistently throughout the excavated areas.
...
much of the building was intact at the point of this destruction --with columns still standing, some capitals and cornices still in place, considerable plaster decoration still in situ, intercolumnar or gate (?) arches (?) still standing, and possibly even sections of the roof (?) still in place. With this earthquake all of the superstructure was tumbled that had survived the earlier earth tremor which had already partially - but only partially - demolished the structure.
...
it is suggested that the same chronology be postulated for this structure, in terms of destruction, as was established for the Theater: namely that this phase be dated to A. D. 746/748, the second and most severe of the two earthquakes involved. The overlying recovered materials of the higher phases do not conflict at all with this dating and it can plausibly fit the peculiarities of ceramic materials recovered -- i. e. early in the Early Islamic period wherein local potters ("Byzantine") continued to produce familiar wares and types without yet evidencing "Islamic" influences.
...
This fall phase was the richest in recovered architectural materials per se, and the specifics of content greatly assist in suggesting possible reconstructions. This quantity of material also attests to the force of the earth tremors which finally brought down the super-structure of the building, as was also the case at the Main Theater.

Seismic Effects
363 CE Earthquake

Maps and Plans

  • Plan of the Temple of the Winged Lions from Ward (2016)
Seismic Effects from Hammond (1975)
  • architectural fall debris
  • some capitals dislodged, along with cornice-carrying blocks, wall members, and other structural members
  • a great deal of internal plastered decoration, including undercoatings, was also dislodged
  • loss and fragmentation of some capitals
  • a considerable number of free-standing columns survived the quake

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

Maps and Plans

  • Plan of the Temple of the Winged Lions from Ward (2016)
Hammond (1975) described seismic effects as follows:
much of the building was intact at the point of this destruction --with columns still standing, some capitals and cornices still in place, considerable plaster decoration still in situ, intercolumnar or gate (?) arches (?) still standing, and possibly even sections of the roof (?) still in place. With this earthquake all of the superstructure was tumbled that had survived the earlier earth tremor which had already partially - but only partially - demolished the structure.

Intensity Estimates
363 CE Earthquake

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Displaced Walls architectural fall debris VII +
Displaced Masonry Blocks some capitals dislodged, along with cornice-carrying blocks, wall members, and other structural members 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).

mid 8th century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Collapsed Arches VI +
Fallen Columns V +
Displaced Walls ? possible roof collapse implies displaced walls 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).

Notes and Further Reading
References
Area I near the Temple of the Winged Lions
Introduction

The original excavation of Area I, a residential area ~50 m due east of the Temple of the Winged Lions, was conducted by the American Expedition to Petra (AEP) under the supervision of Ken Russell and the direction of Philip C. Hammond between 1974 and 1978. Due to the untimely demise of Ken Russell and later death of Philip C. Hammond, the full results of this excavation were not fully published. Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017) re-examined ceramic assemblages and other material evidence from Area I and redated some of the earlier phasing.

Chronology
Phasing from Hammond (1978)

Hammond (1978) described the preliminary phasing below as follows:

Although analysis has not been completed3, preliminary field phasing4, strongly suggests some 20 phases, with correlations to the earthquake chronology established at the Main Theater in 1961-1962 and the adjacent temple site (Areas II-III) during the course of the present excavations. Ceramic and numismatic markers within this framework currently tend to strengthen the chronological conclusions offered below.


Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017)'s analysis suggests that, although early 2nd century CE earthquake evidence is present in Petra and other sites of the Nabateans, some of Russell (1985)'s phasing was off by up to a couple of centuries. Some excerpts follow:

The conclusions to be presented here include a revision of the dating of the Early House in Area I and the ceramic assemblages uncovered its antechamber and the upper and lower levels of the structure to the late 2nd and early 3rd c. CE when the structure was abandoned. This revised dating is supported by evidence from other parts of the AEP excavations such as the Painters' Workshop and important find spots near the temple that are presented in this paper as well as material from other parts of the Provincia Arabia in the post-annexation period.
...
The use of a revised ceramic chronology in dating these assemblages will undoubtedly prove to be controversial, however we believe that such a revision is long overdue and is in itself an important tool for the re-examination of the phasing of structures and occupational layers in Petra and other sites in the Provincia Arabia, the vast majority of which have been erroneously dated to the later 1st to early 2nd c. CE.
...
In 1977, Russell prepared a tentative phasing of the stratigraphy in Area I. The final phasing prepared by him in 1978 indicates the presence of twenty archaeological phases (Phases XX—I) and the remains of successive domestic structures of the Early Roman (pre-annexation, i.e., the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE), Middle Roman (post-annexation) and Byzantine periods. He designated these structures the "Early House", the "Middle House", and the "Late House".
...
The earliest archaeological material discovered in Area I, uncovered below the earliest architectural remains and in ancient falls, dates to the Hellenistic period. The latest material belongs to an overlying cemetery that Russell dated to the Late Byzantine or Early Islamic periods.
...
As we shall see below, the abandonment of the Early House in Area I and abandoned hoards in rooms of the Temple of the Winged Lions complex were probably the result of an epidemic that occurred sometime in the 3rd c. rather than the early 2nd c. earthquake as claimed by Russell.
...

EVIDENCE OF AN EARTHQUAKE EVENT IN THE EARLY SECOND CENTURY CE

Russell's misreading of the archaeological evidence led him to attribute the end of the occupation of the Early House in Phase XV to earthquake destruction that he dated to 113/114 CE based on the discovery of the single coin found in the antechamber, a brass sestertius commemorating Trajan's alimenta italiae endowment dated to the period between 103 and 117 CE, together with the hoard of unguentaria and other ceramic vessels (Russell, 1985:40-41). Although the Early House was not destroyed and abandoned by an earthquake in the early 2nd c., evidence of earthquake damage is discernible with the renovations that took place in its final occupation in Phase XVI.
...
Subsequent research carried out in several sites
64 Evidence of an earthquake at Petra in the late first or early 2nd c. CE has been uncovered by
  • Kirkbride and Parr at Petra (Kirkbride 1960: 118-19; Parr 1960: 129
  • Joukowsky and Basile 2001: 50) and more recently in the ez-Zantur excavations Kolb and Keller 2002: 286; Grawehr 2007: 399)
Evidence of the event has also been uncovered in sites in the surrounding region at:
  • Aqaba (Dolinka 2003: 30-32, Fig. 14)
  • 'En Yotvata (Erickson-Gini 2012a)
  • Moyat 'Awad and Shdar Ramon (Cohen 1982: 243-44; Erickson-Gini and Israel 2013: 45)
  • 'En Rahel (Korjenkov and Erickson-Gini 2003)
  • Mezad Mahmal (Erickson-Gini 2011)
  • Mampsis (Negev 1971: 166; Erickson-Gini 2010: 47)
  • Oboda (Erickson-Gini, in press)
  • Horvat Hazaza (Erickson-Gini, in press).
However, with regard to Khirbet Tannur, in light of the final publication and re-evaluation of Nelson Glueck's excavation by J.S. McKenzie et. al. (2013), his claim that Altar 3 was built in wake of earthquake damage of the early 2nd c. (termed the 113-114 CE earthquake) appears to be untenable due to the re-dating of Period 2 at the site to the first half of the 2nd c. CE (Mckenzie 2013: 137).
, including Petra itself, indicate that an early 2nd c. earthquake did indeed take place (Erickson-Gini 2010:47) 65. An examination of the records and photographs of the western side of the Temple of the Winged Lions complex also reveals evidence of earthquake damage that precedes that of the 363 CE earthquake. This evidence includes the blockage of doorways with architectural fragments that appear to have been derived from the temple, for instance in Area III.8 (SU 113; W2; Aug. 2, 1977), that were also used in the construction of the pavement in WII.1W. Revetments adding support to walls were photographed in Area III.7 (AEP 83900). In addition, a hoard of vessels of the late 1st c. BCE and first half of the 1st c. CE was discovered in the AEP 2000 season in a spot next to the eastern corridor in Area III.10 (SU 19). This assemblage of restorable vessels included several plain fineware, carinated bowls that correspond to later forms of Schmid's Gruppe 5 dated to the second half of the 1st c. BCE (2000 AEP RI. 41), (2000: Abb. 41) together with early forms of his Gruppe 6 dated to the 1st c. CE (2000 AEP RI. 11), (2000: Abb. 50) and two early painted ware bowls (2000 AEP RI. 42) corresponding to Schmid's Dekorgruppe 2a (2000: Abbs. 80=81) dated to the end of the 1st c. BCE and early 1st c. CE. 66 In spite of the presence of these early vessels, the AEP 2000 season finds registries records nearly all of them as dating to 363 CE.
...
Russell was correct in dating the early form of the Early House (Phase XVII) to the 1st c. ceramic vessels of that period
...
The Early House was obviously renovated, prior to its final form in Phase XVI, similar to other buildings discovered in Petra. Some Nabataean communities, such as Mampsis and Oboda, underwent a wave of new construction in the newly-organized Roman Province of Arabia while sites such as 'En Rahel and 'En Yotvata were destroyed and never re-built. Renovations in wake of structural damage evident in structures in many sites in the years following the annexation, as well as the construction of new buildings, point to a widespread earthquake event in southern Transjordan and the Negev in the early 2nd c. CE. The event may have influenced or even prompted the Roman annexation that occurred soon afterwards. At Petra, the Early House was not destroyed at that time but rather it was renovated and occupied until the early 3rd c. when it was abandoned, possibly in the wake of an epidemic.
...

Conclusions

The primary issue concerning the Early House is the date and manner of its abandonment. An outstanding difficulty in Russell's phasing in Area I is the two hundred year period between the renovations that supposedly took place in the Early House in the early 2nd c. CE (Phase XVI) and the construction of the Middle House in the early 4th c. CE (Phase XII). This gap in the archaeological record is largely artificial and can be attributed to the fact that a single coin was used to date the critical ceramic assemblage found in Room 2 (antechamber) of the Early House (SU 176, 800, 803) to the very beginning of the 2nd c. Rather than its destruction by earthquake in the early 2nd c., the body of evidence points to its abandonment sometime in the early 3rd c. similar to sites along the Petra—Gaza road.

363 CE Earthquake

During the seasons of 1975-1977, Hammond (1978) excavated at a location north of the Cardo Maximus and encountered some chronologically precise archeoseismic evidence for the Cyril Quake(s). Ken Russell served as one of two supervisors on these excavations and provided a detailed account of the archeoseismic evidence encountered in his article from 1980. In the 1976 and 1977 seasons at what was termed the "middle house" structure of Area I, Russell (1980) reports the discovery of a destruction layer containing numerous domestic articles such as lamps, shattered ceramics and glass, spindle whorls, and coins. In Room II, a hoard of 85 bronze coins was discovered of which 45 were identifiable. All 45 identifiable coins were minted during the reign of Constantius II who ruled from 337-361 AD. Further, 40 of these 45 coins were identified as being minted after 354 AD. This coin evidence provided a terminus post quem - i.e. the earliest possible date of destruction was between 354 and 361 AD. This points to the southern Cyril Quake as the probable cause of the destruction layer in the "middle room" in Petra.

6th century CE Earthquake

Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017) discussed a lack of evdience for a 6th century CE earthquake.

POST SCRIPT - THE LATEST PHASE IN AREA I AND THE EARTHQUAKE OF 551

With regard to the fate of the latest phase of occupation in Area I (the Upper or Later House), Russell and Hammond's supposition of destruction in both Areas I and II as result of the 551 CE earthquake is not supported by subsequent archaeological in Petra nor is it supported by the material evidence found in their excavations. As noted above, Russell's initial phasing did not include this event, but he does refer to it in a 1990 report to ACOR on the Household Excavations. Hammond and Johnson (2000) later published the supposed 551 earthquake in their phasing of the Temple of the Winged Lions. In spite of this, the finds from the Later House do not include vessels or coins of the 6th c. CE and findings from the Petra Church excavations do not support the occurrence of an earthquake event in that period. A 551 earthquake event is also elusive with regard to the temple in Area II. Hammond and John-son provide a list of coins discovered there, the latest of which dates to Constantius II (337-361 CE), (2000).
Jones (2021) added:
Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017: 144-45) note the lack of 6th century material at both the Temple of the Winged Lions and the residential complex in nearby Area I, although this may simply indicate that the area was abandoned prior to its destruction in the late 6th century.

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

  • Plan of Area I and the Temple of the Winged Lions from Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017)
Seismic Effects from Erickson-Gini and Tuttle (2017)
  • blockage of doorways with architectural fragments that appear to have been derived from the temple, for instance in Area III.8 (SU 113; W2; Aug. 2, 1977, that were also used in the construction of the pavement in WII.1W
  • Revetments adding support to walls were photographed in Area III.7 (AEP 83900)

363 CE Earthquake

Seismic Effects from Russell (1985)
  • collapsed house (area I near the Temple of the Winged Lions)

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Displaced Walls Area I Erickson-Gini, T. and C. Tuttle (2017) architectural fragments that appear to have been derived from the temple VII +
Tilted Walls Area I Erickson-Gini, T. and C. Tuttle (2017) Revetments adding support to walls 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) .

363 CE Earthquake

Effect Description Source Location Intensity
Collapsed Walls Area I Russell (1985) collapsed house 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
Notes

Russell (1985)'s chronology for the Incense Road Quake

Russell noted that during the 1976 excavations at Petra, a brass coin (sestertius) commemorating Trajan's alimenta italiae endowment was uncovered on a floor-slab next to several crushed unguentaria in a storage room of a collapsed house [in Area I according to Erickson-Gini, T. and C. Tuttle (2017)] of the early 2nd century. Russell (1985) relates that Sestertii of this type were minted between 103 and 117 ( Robertson 1971: 57-59, and pl. 13, nos. 344, 350, 354). Unfortunately, the consulship was illegible in the obverse inscription which would have allowed for more precise dating. Coins of the last Nabataean king, Rabbel II (71- 106), have been noted in association with this destruction evidence at Petra (Kirkbride, 1960:118-119; Parr 1960: 129).

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
General Phasing from Tholbecq et al (2019)

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.

The Great Temple
The Great Temple of Petra The Great Temple of Petra

Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Bernard Gagnon


Introduction

The Great Temple is one of the largest surviving structures of Petra. Chronology
Phasing from Joukowsky (2009)

The Great Temple of Petra Phasing Figure 3

Petra Great Temple Chronological Chart of Site Phases.

Joukowsky (2009)

Phase VI Earthquake - Early 2nd century CE

Joukowsky and Basile (2001:50), using a different phasing than Joukowsky (2009), discussed archeoseismic evidence from the early 2nd century CE at the Great Temple.

Dated to the mid-second century, Nabataean-Roman Phase IV follows a minor collapse when the uppermost course of the propylaea stairs was built to provide access to the Lower Temenos, and when the Lower Temenos east cryptoportico, which may have seen collapse, was filled in.

Phase IX Earthquake - 4th century CE

Joukowsky (2009) attributed the Phase IX earthquake to the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE.

Phase XI Earthquake - 6th century CE

Although Joukowsky (2009) attributed seismic destruction to the 551 CE Beirut Quake, the epicenter of this earthquake was too far from Petra (almost 400 km.) to have caused such damage. The Inscription at Areopolis Quake is a more likely candidate.

Phase XIII Collapses - Later Earthquakes ?

Joukowsky (2009) listed a series of major collapses in the Islamic Period.

Seismic Effects
Phase VI Earthquake - Early 2nd century CE

  • Site Plan of the Great Temple at Petra from Joukowsky (2009)
Joukowsky and Basile (2001) and Joukowsky (2009) listed the following seismic effects

Phase IX Earthquake - 4th century CE

  • Site Plan of the Great Temple at Petra from Joukowsky (2009)
Joukowsky (2009) listed the following seismic effects

Phase XI Earthquake - 6th century CE

  • Site Plan of the Great Temple at Petra from Joukowsky (2009)
Joukowsky (2009) listed the following seismic effects

Phase XIII Collapses - Later Earthquakes ?

  • Site Plan of the Great Temple at Petra from Joukowsky (2009)
Joukowsky (2009) listed the following seismic effects

Intensity Estimates
Phase VI Earthquake - Early 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls minor collapse when the uppermost course of the propylaea stairs was built (Joukowsky and Basile, 2001). VII+
Displaced Walls Damage to Propylaeum West (Joukowsky, 2009) VII+
Displaced Walls ? Repairs to Lower Temenos (Joukowsky, 2009) VII+
Collapsed Walls Baroque Room Collapse (Joukowsky, 2009) 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 IX Earthquake - 4th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls Collapse of the Propylaeum (Joukowsky, 2009) VII+
Fallen Columns Collapse of the Lower Temenos West Triple Collonade (Joukowsky, 2009) V+
Collapsed Vaults West Cryptoporticus Collapse (Joukowsky, 2009) 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 XI Earthquake - 6th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Fallen Columns East Triple Collonade Collapse (Joukowsky, 2009) V+
Folded Step and kerbs West Entry Stairs Collapse (Joukowsky, 2009) VI+
Fallen Columns Temple East Porch Column Collapse (Joukowsky, 2009) V+
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) and is likely an underestimate.

Notes and Further Reading
References
Petra - Pool Complex
Petra Garden and Pool Complex (left) and the Great Temple (right) Figure 3

The Petra Garden and Pool Complex (left) and the Great Temple (right), 2004 (photo by S. Karz Reid).

Bedal et al (2007)


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Pool Complex
Lower Market
Introduction

Excavations performed in the summer of 1998 of the "Lower Market" revealed a Monumental Pool Complex and possible evidence of seismic destruction ( Bedal, 2003).

Chronology
Phasing from Bedal et al (2007)

Source: Bedal et al (2007)

Phase Date Comments
I Nabataean, 1st century BCE Pre-garden occupation
II Nabataean, end of the 1st century BCE - early 1st century CE Monumental garden and pool complex
III Roman, early 2nd century CE Renovations
IV Roman, late 2nd?-3rd century CE Abandonment
V Late Roman, 363 CE Destruction
VI Late Roman-Byzantine, 4th-5th century CE Squatter Farmers
VII Byzantine, 6th century CE? Destruction
VIII >Post Classical/Medieval Agricultural activity
IX Bedouin, >20th century Modern occupation

Pre Phase III Earthquake - early 2nd century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Renovations during Phase III dated to the early 2nd century CE may have been a response to seismic damage most of which may have been cleared by renovations. The re-use of building elements may be reflective of this response. It should be noted that these building elements could have come from another structure - for example the nearby Great Temple where Joukowsky and Basile (2001:50) report an early 2nd century CE earthquake in Phase VI.

Bedal (2003:74) estimated an early 2nd century CE terminus post quem for the start of Phase III based on pottery found associated with various structures that were part of the renovations.
According to the refined pottery sequence from ez-Zantur, the type 3c Nabataean painted ware was produced in a brief span of time, between ca.100 and 106/114 CE. Based on this pottery evidence, it is possible to assign the floor bedding and by direct association the bridge with a terminus post quem of the early 2nd century CE.
...
However, a single rim sherd also found embedded in the floor mortar (Fig. 18) may be more closely identified with a type 4 painted bowl from ez-Zantur, dated post-106/114 CE (Schmid 1996:166, 208, abb. 704), in which case the Phase II renovations in the Pool-Complex must be dated to a period following the annexation of Petra into the Roman Empire.

Phase V Earthquake - 4th century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Bedal et al (2007) report seismic destruction in Phase V as follows:
The architectural elements of the pool complex suffered serious damage in the mid-4th century AD, most likely a result of the well-documented earthquake of 363 AD. The upper courses of the pavilion walls collapsed into the pool, forming a dense layer of large stone rubble in a reddish-brown sandy matrix overlying the Phase IV fill (trench 1) (Fig. 24 ). In the south-west corner, stones falling from the South Wall and the Great Temple's East Perimeter Wall formed a similar destruction layer (Fig. 23 ).
Bedal (2003:79) entertained the less likely possibility that the observed destruction was due to decay rather than seismic forces.
While it is possible that this destruction resulted from neglect and structural decay over a long period of time, it more likely that the island-pavilion fell victim to the major earthquake of 363 CE that caused irreparable damage to many of the major monuments at Petra and destruction throughout the region (Russell 1980; 1985:42; Amiran et al. 1994:265). 74
Bedal (2003:79) dated Phase V seismic destruction to the 4th century CE unlike Bedal et al (2007) who dated it to the mid 4th century CE.

Phase VII Earthquake - 6th century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Bedal et al (2007) report seismic destruction in Phase VII as follows:
A stratum of large stone debris in a reddish-brown sandy matrix overlying the Phase VI fill in the southern half of the site (trench 1, 3, 4 5, 9, 11, 12, and 14) marks a second major destruction episode causing the further collapse of the walls surrounding the pool complex and the island-pavilion (Fig. 24 ). Elements of the pavilion's architectural decor (marble flower, volutes, capital fragments and painted stucco) and its construction (iron nails, a plaster nail anchor, and charred wood) mark further disintegration of this structure.
Bedal (2003:83) discussed this potential seismic destruction in a similar manner in a passage which is less certain that the debris from this phase was a result of seismic destruction.
It is clear from the presence of architectural debris in this stratum - large architectural elements (ashlars, doorjambs, etc.), small capital fragments, volutes (Pl. XVIIIa), and a unique flower (carved from limestone or a low-grade marble) (Fig. 12 and Pl. XVIIIb), iron nails, a plaster nail anchor, and some charred wood - that the structure continued to disintegrate following its major destruction as a result of the 363 earthquake. At this time, there is no evidence to specifically link this secondary collapse with the 551 earthquake, although that cannot be ruled out.

Seismic Effects
Pre Phase III Earthquake - early 2nd century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Potential Seismic Effects include
  • re-use of building elements
It should be noted that these building elements could have come from another structure - for example the nearby Great Temple where Joukowsky and Basile (2001:50) report an early 2nd century CE earthquake in Phase VI.

Phase V Earthquake - 4th century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Seismic Effects include
  • The upper courses of the pavilion walls collapsed into the pool, forming a dense layer of large stone rubble in a reddish-brown sandy matrix overlying the Phase IV fill (trench 1) (Fig. 24 ). (Bedal et al, 2007)
  • In the south-west corner, stones falling from the South Wall and the Great Temple's East Perimeter Wall formed a similar destruction layer (Fig. 23 ). (Bedal et al, 2007)

Phase VII Earthquake - 6th century CE

  • Map showing location of Petra Pool Complex from Jones (2021)
  • Site Plan of Petra Pool Complex from Bedal et al (2007)
Seismic Effects include
  • further collapse of the walls surrounding the pool complex and the island-pavilion (Fig. 24 ). (Bedal et al, 2007)
  • Elements of the pavilion's architectural decor (marble flower, volutes, capital fragments and painted stucco) and its construction (iron nails, a plaster nail anchor, and charred wood) mark further disintegration of this structure. (Bedal et al, 2007)

Intensity Estimates
Pre Phase III Earthquake - 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced masonry blocks in drums in columns1 VIII+
Notes

1 - It should be noted that these building elements could have come from another structure - for example the nearby Great Temple where Joukowsky and Basile (2001:50) report an early 2nd century CE earthquake in Phase 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) .

Phase V Earthquake - 4th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls The upper courses of the pavilion walls collapsed into the pool, forming a dense layer of large stone rubble in a reddish-brown sandy matrix overlying the Phase IV fill (trench 1) (Fig. 24 ). (Bedal et al, 2007) VIII+
Collapsed Walls In the south-west corner, stones falling from the South Wall and the Great Temple's East Perimeter Wall formed a similar destruction layer (Fig. 23 ). (Bedal et al, 2007) 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 VII Earthquake - 6th century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls further collapse of the walls surrounding the pool complex and the island-pavilion (Fig. 24 ). (Bedal et al, 2007) 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
ez-Zantur
ez-Zantur during excavations Aerial view of the Nabataean mansion in EZ IV under excavation

Kolb (2002)


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
az Zantur Arabic از زانتور
Introduction

ez-Zantur is located on a rocky spur overlooking the Colonnaded street in Petra. Excavations have uncovered a mansion on top of the spur. Chronology
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Kolb (2002:260) reported on excavations of a large residential structure (i.e. the mansion) in ez-Zantur in Petra. They dated the earliest phase of the structure to the 20's CE based on fragments of Nabatean fine wares, dating to 20-70/90 CE, found in the mortar below the opus sectile flooring in rooms 1,10, and 17 as well as in the plaster bedding of the painted wall decorations in room 1. Earthquake induced structural damage led to a remodeling phase which was dated to the early decades of the 2nd century CE (Kolb, 2002:260-261). A terminus post quem of 103-106 CE for the remodel was provided by a coin struck under King Rabbel II found in some rough plaster (rendering coat) in Room 212 of site EZ III (Kolb, 1998:263).

Erickson-Gini, T. and C. Tuttle (2017) propose re-dating the relevant ez-Zantur phasing to later dates.
A re-examination of the Zantur fineware chronology by the writer has revealed that it contains a number of serious difficulties.25 The main difficulties in the Zantur chronology center on Phase 3, which covers most of the 1st through 3rd c. CE. Zantur Phase 3 is divided into three sub-phases: 3a (20-80 CE), 3b (80-100 CE) and 3c (100-150 CE). The dating of Phase 3 is based on a very small amount of datable material, for example, the main table showing the datable material (Schmid 2000: Abb. 420) shows that no coins were available to date either Phase 3a or Phase 3c. Moreover, the earliest sub-phase, 3a, was vastly underrepresented.26 At Zantur, there appears to be little justification for the beginning dates for either Phase 3b (80 CE) or 3c (100 CE) or their terminal dates (100 CE and 150 CE respectively). No `clean' loci, i.e., sealed contexts, were offered to prove the dating of Phases 3b and 3c and the contexts are mixed with both earlier (3b) and later (3c) material (ibid., 184). This raises the question as to why a terminal date of 100 CE was fixed for Sub-phase 3b. The coin evidence for Sub-phase 3b is scanty and some of the coins could date as late as 106 CE while there is a discrepancy between the dates of the coins and the imported wares, many of which date later than 100 or 106 CE. In order to date Phase 3 in Zantur, there was a heavy dependence an a very small quantity of imported fineware sherds, mainly ESA. Of the forms used, Hayes 56 is listed in both Phase 3b and 3c (ibid.) and since this particular form dates later than 150 CE (Hayes 1985: 39) the majority of the forms and motifs of both sub-phases 3b and 3c should be assigned to the later 2nd and early 3rd centuries. with its purported range of 60 years.

Footnotes

25 "Problems and Solutions in the Dating of Nabataean Pottery of the Roman Period," presented on February 20, 2014 in the 2nd Roundtable "Roman Pottery in the Near East" in Amman, Jordan on the premises of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR).

26 In the words of the report: "Unfortunately, so far only a few homogeneous FKs (find spots/loci) have been registered with fineware exclusively from Phase 3a. After all, if the Western Terra Sigillata form, Conspectus 20, 4 from FK 1122 (Abb. 420, 421 Nr. 43) accurately reflects the duration of Phase 3a, we can thus estimate [the period] as from 20 to 70/80 CE" (Schmid 2000: 38).

Grawehr M. (2007:399) described a destruction layer at a bronze workshop at ez-Zantur
Room 33 is the work-shop proper. This is indicated by the finds that were encountered in a thick and seemingly undisturbed destruction layer, sealed by the debris of the rooms arched roof. While any indication for the cause of this destruction evades us, the dating of the event is clear. Through the evidence of the coins an the floor we arrive at a terminus post quem of 98 AD. As there is plenty of fine ware in the destruction level, belonging to Schmid's phase 3b, but none of phase 3c, which according to him starts ±100 AD, the destruction must have taken place at the end of the first or early in the second century AD.
Kolb B. and Keller D. (2002:286) also discussed archeoseismic evidence at ez-Zantur
Stratigraphic excavation in square 86/AN unexpectedly brought useful data on the history of the mansion' s construction phases and destruction. The ash deposit in Abs. 2 with FK 3524 and 3533 provided clear indications as to the final destruction in 363. A further chronological "bar line" — a some-what vaguely defined construction phase 2 in various parts of the terrace in the late first or second century AD — received clear confirmation in the form of a thin layer of ash. The lamp and glass finds from the associated FK 3546 date homogeneously from the second century AD, and confirm the assumption of a moderately severe (not historically documented) earthquake that led to the structural repairs observed in various places and the renewal of a number of interior decorations.

363 CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Stucky (1990:270-271) discovered two skeletons (a woman and child) along with 65 bronze coins between the woman's ankles thought to come from a purse which was attached to her belt. These were found beneath a destruction layer (collapsed roof and masonry) in Room 1 of area EZ 1 in Ez-Zantur. The coins dated from 336 - 361 CE providing a strong chronological correlation to severe earthquake damage in Petra due to the southern Cyril Quake. Bedal et al. (2007) also excavated the Ez-Zantur domestic complex at Petra. They identified a destruction layer composed of architectural elements of the pool complex of Ez-Zantur which they attributed to the southern Cyril Quake. Pottery fragments in the layer below the destruction layer were dated from the 1st to 4th century AD.

Kolb et al (1998) offered the following regarding chronology of earthquakes at ez-Zantur
EZ IV: The Nabataean "Villa"

The Last Phase of Occupation

Household objects such as a basalt hand mill, two bone spoons, an alabaster pyxis and a number of unidentifiable iron objects, as well as large quantities of ceramics and glass vessels of the fourth century AD lay buried on the pavement, along walls H and K, beneath innumerable fragments of stucco from the wall and ceiling decoration (see below for the contributions of D. Keller and Y. Gerber). The datable objects confirm last year's findings from room 2, where the coins indicated that the end of the final phase of occupation came with the earthquake of 363 AD (Kolb 1997: 234).

The thick layer of mural and moulded stucco fragments on top of the household utensils of the fourth century proves beyond any doubt that the Nabataean decor remained on the walls up till the aforementioned natural catastrophe. 3
Seismic effects from Room 6 at ez-Zantur IV (EZ IV) included broken columns, debris, and a cracked flagstone floor under 6 carbonized wood beams which Kolb et al (1998) described as a witness to the violence with which the wood hit the floor. Also found in ez-Zantur IV were cracked steps which may have been seismically damaged. There were no indications from the article what lay below the steps and whether geotechnical factors could have played a role in cracking the steps. Kolb et al (1998) report that some structures at EZ IV were built directly on bedrock.

Kolb B. and Keller (2002:286) also discussed archeoseismic evidence at ez-Zantur for both an early 2nd c CE earthquake and the southern Cyril Quake
Stratigraphic excavation in square 86/AN unexpectedly brought useful data on the history of the mansion' s construction phases and destruction. The ash deposit in Abs. 2 with FK 3524 and 3533 provided clear indications as to the final destruction in 363. A further chronological "bar line" — a some-what vaguely defined construction phase 2 in various parts of the terrace in the late first or second century AD — received clear confirmation in the form of a thin layer of ash. The lamp and glass finds from the associated FK 3546 date homogeneously from the second century AD, and confirm the assumption of a moderately severe (not historically documented) earthquake that led to the structural repairs observed in various places and the renewal of a number of interior decorations.
Kolb and Keller (2000:366-368) discovered some glass lamps normally dated to a later time period associated with 363 CE debris.
Glass finds of Kolb and Keller (2000)

Kolb and Keller (2000:366-368) described dating of the seismic damage due to the 363 CE earthquake at EZ IV and glass lamps normally dated to a later time period

A few small glass fragments found on az-Zantür are of particular interest, because they are early examples of glass lamps of the late Roman and early Byzantine Near East. Their contexts allow not only exact dating, but, moreover, they give some indication of their original use.
...
Fragments of beaker-shaped vessels with a round, flaring rim, a conical or slightly rounded body and three small handles belong to a first group of glass lamps.
...
They were found in the layers immediately above the floors in rooms 11 and 19 (Nos. 1-3) of the mansion on EZ IV. Constantine coins, datable pottery finds and fragments of glass which accompanied the lamp sherds in the same layer, show that the destruction of the building was caused by the earthquake of 363 AD6 . This firm sealing date is remarkably early for glass lamps. In fact, they seem to be among the earliest examples of a type of lighting which became common during Byzantine and Islamic times.
...
Fragments of a further glass lamp of the same type (No. 4) found in the upper strata of rooms 11, 12 and 14, as well as another rim sherd in room 16 (No. 5) deserve special attention. Together with two other rim sherds of this shape found on the site EZ I in mixed contexts (Nos. 6-7), these fragments may represent a shape of glass lamps distinctive of Petra. Except for the latter fragments which come from mixed contexts, all remains of this type were found in the destruction layers of the earthquake of 363, and they do not reappear anymore in later contexts . We may conclude that they represent, at least in the Petra region a specific type belonging to the mid fourth century.

At other archaeological sites of the Eastern Mediterranean such lamps are either completely absent - as in the churches of Palestine and Transjordan - or, alternatively, only a small amount of sherds is documented. The same is true for the western part of the Roman Empire8. Only at Sardis (Turkey) such glass lamps seem to be present in a few fragments from the Byzantine shops and churches, but they date to between the fifth and seventh centuries9. Similarly belonging to a late date are comparable rim sherds from Gerasa, one from a context of the fourth to fifth century (Meyer 1988: 191 Fig. 6T), and a second one dated to the fifth or early sixth century (Dussart 1998: 82 No. BVI.1211 Pl. 14,16)10. In tomb 217 on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem, occupied between the mid fourth and the mid fifth centuries, a complete specimen of this type was discovered. This glass lamp, however, has a wick holder11, a later feature of which there are no traces on the aforementioned rims and handles from EZ IV. Accordingly, the early glass lamps from az-Zantür have to be reconstructed without a wick holder.

A fragment with a tubular wick holder placed on the centre of the concave bottom, was uncovered in room 2 on site EZ I (No. 13, Fig. 15:4). Unquestionably, it belongs to the latest occupation of EZ I which was terminally disrupted by a second earthquake in the early fifth century, most probably in 419 (Kolb 1996: 51; 82). Glass lamps with wick holders therefore appear in Petra as early as the beginning of the fifth century, contradictory to the later date assigned elsewhere (Stern 1999: 480). Rim sherds of the above described type, however, are not present in later contexts anymore. Instead, a type with outfolded rim, three small handles and a conical (Nos. 9-12, Fig. 15:3) or slightly rounded body (No. 8, Fig. 15:2) is recorded. At EZ I, such rim sherds were found in rooms 8 and 28, which were destroyed in the above mentioned earthquake in the early fifth century (Kolb 1996: 51; 65; 71; 89). The simultaneous appearance of outfolded rims and wick holders suggest a new type combining both features. This type is also documented in rooms XXIX and XXX of the recently exposed shops on the Colonnaded Street which were abandoned in the early or mid fifth century12. Additional fragments of this type of glass lamp were found in the last phase of use of rooms XXVI-XXVIII dated to the sixth century13. The continuous use of these lamps is con-firmed by specimens uncovered in the Byzantine monastery at Jabal Haroun14. Therefore, we may assume that glass lamps with outfolded rims, three handles and wick holders were common in the Petra region from the early fifth century onwards.

In search of parallels, two wick holders found at Jalame (Israel) should be mentioned15. Notably, these were not produced in the local glass factory of the mid fourth century, nor were they found in layers connected to the workshop. Thus they cannot predate the finale phase of occupation at Jalame which is dated by the coins to the early fifth century (Davidson Weinberg 1988: 19-21).

In Palestine and Transjordan, the majority of glass lamps was found in churches16 - but not exclusively: specimens from the Late Roman forts at en Boqeq and Mezad Tamar17, as well as the discussed finds from az-Zantür evidence their use in purely domestic contexts.

Footnotes

6 Kolb, Keller and Fellmann Brogli 1997:234
Kolb, Keller, and Gerber 1998:261-262, 264, 267-275
Kolb, Gorgerat and Grawehr 1999:262, 266, 268

7. Neither in the late Roman houses on EZ I, destroyed in the early fifth century AD, nor in the shops on the southern side of the Colonnaded Street, which were in use until the 5th and 6th century AD, nor in the Byzantine monastery on Jabal Härün has this type of glass lamp been recorded.

8. One was found in a church at Como (Italy), an-other one at Luni (Uboldi 1995: 108; Figs. 2,6-7).

9. von Salden 1980: 47-49; No. 246-248; 250 Pl.11;246-247; 23; 246; 250.

10. Among the late Roman and Byzantine glass finds from the excavations of the Hippodrome at Gerasa the were no fragments of such glass lamps (this glass will be studied by the author under the supervision of Kehrberg).

11. Bagatti-Milik 1958: 148 ,No. 11, Fig. 35,11, I 40,125,15. For the date of this tomb: Kuhnen 198 Beilage 3, No. 98.

12. For the date: Fiema 1998: 415; 420.

13. For the use of the rooms XXVI-XXVIII until the later 5th to the 6th century: Fiema 1998: 420-421.

14. The glass finds from the Finnish Jabal Härün Project will be studied by J. Lindblom (University of Helsinki) and the author.

15. Davidson Weinberg 1988: 85,No. 386-387, Fig. 4-44,386-387, Pl. 4-16,386.

15. Rehovot: Patrich 1988: 134-136, P1. 12
Nessana: Harden 1962: 84 Nos. 47-50, Pl. 20,47
el-Lejjun: Jones 1987: 627-628, Fig. 135.71, 136.72-73, 76
Gerasa: Baur 1938: 524, 526, 531 No. 17, 29, 49, Fig. 20,376. 21,382. 22,380; Meyer 1986: 263 Fig. 23h; Kehrberg 1986: 379, 381, Nos. 29, 35-38 Fig. 9,29. 35-38; Kehrberg 1998: 431; Shavei Zion: Barag 1967: 68-69, Nos. 21-22, Fig. 16,21-22.

17. en-Boqeq: Gichon 1993: 435 P1. 51,7-8, 60,28
Mezad Tamar: Erdmann 1977: 100, 112-114 Nos. 3-12 Pl. 1,3-7.

19. pers. comm. M. Grawehr.

5th-6th Century CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Jones (2021) argues that al-Zantur I Spatromisch II ceramics, rather than dating from 363 CE - 419 CE, should date to at least a century later. If true, this would negate archaeoseismic evidence for an earthquake reported in 419 CE (i.e. the Monaxius and Plinta Quake) at ez-Zantur and other sites in Petra such as in a structure outside the Urn Tomb, and in Structure I of the NEPP Project. Jones (2021) suggests instead that the causitive earthquake was more likely the late 6th century CE Inscription At Areopolis Quake. Jones (2021) provides a discussion below:
Kolb (1996: 51, 89; 2000: 238, 244; 2007: 157) attributes the destruction of the final occupation phase of al-Zantur I, Spatromisch II, to the 418/419 earthquake. As with many of the sites discussed above, this attribution is based primarily on numismatic finds, which decline sharply after the 4th century. Like most other regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, however, a lack of 5th century coinage is typical for sites in southern Jordan. For example, in their discussion of coins collected (and purchased) in Faynan, Kind et al. (2005: 188) note a decline in coin frequencies after about 420 AD. While this does not rule out an earthquake, many sites that seem to lack 5th century coinage were, on close inspection, occupied during the 5th century.

The discussion of the coin finds at al-Zantur I also gives cause for pause. The author states,
An end of the settlement of ez Zantur after the earthquake of 419 AD could be harmonized well with the coin series, if not for the discovery of a small bronze coin of Marcianus, which was minted in the years 450-457 AD, discovered in the ash layer of Room 28, in the immediate vicinity of the remains of a kitchen inventory destroyed in an earthquake. ( Peter 1996: 92, translation I. Jones)
Peter goes on to point out that, as the only mid-5th century coin at the site, it may be intrusive, which would allow for an earthquake destruction of Spatromisch II in 418/419. It is worth noting, however, the presence of 25 unidentifiable small bronze coins, 15 of which could be dated to the 4th-5th century ( Peter 1996: 98-100, nos 89-113). At least some of these are likely to be issues of the 5th century.

The discussion of the ceramic assemblage follows a similar pattern. The latest imports present at Spatromisch II are African Red Slip Ware (ARS) Forms 91C and 93B, both dated by Hayes (1972: 144, 148) to the 6th century (Schneider 1996: 40). Schneider (1996: 41) argues that Hayes's (1972) dating for the southern Levant is not entirely secure, and the presence of these forms in Spatromisch II is evidence for an early 5th century appearance. At production sites in Tunisia, however, neither form appears before the mid-5th century (Mackensen and Schneider 2002: 127-30). Likewise, Form 93 does not appear in Carthage until the 5th century, and first appears at Karanis, in the Fayyum, in the '420s CE or later' (Pollard 1998: 150). It is very unlikely that these forms appeared at al-Zantur earlier than they did in North Africa.

The `local' ceramic assemblage from Spatromisch II also contains several forms that postdate 419. Of note are several `Aqaba amphorae (Fellman Brogli 1996: 255, abb. 766-67), which date no earlier than the early 5th century (Parker 2013: 741); Magness's (1993: 206) Arched-Rim Basin Form 2, dating to the 6th-7th century (Fellman Brogli 1996: 260, abb. 790); and local interpretations of late 5th-6th century ARS, e.g. Forms 84 and 99 (Fellman Brogli 1996: 263, abb. 809-10). Gerber (2001: 361-62) also notes the similarity of the Spatromisch II ceramics to those apparently from 6th century phases at the Petra Church, although these contexts are not secure enough to make this comparison definitive.

Overall, the argument that Spatromisch II was destroyed in the 418/419 earthquake is rather circular. A lack of 5th century coinage is presented as evidence of this destruction, and this in turn is used to dismiss a mid-5th century coin as intrusive. If this is accepted, an earlier date must also be accepted for the otherwise mid-5th-6th century ceramics. When considering the evidence together, however, the more parsimonious explanation is that al-Zantur I was occupied, perhaps on a small scale or even intermittently, into the 6th century, which would bring al-Zantur I into line with other sites in Petra and the broader region with 363 and (late) 6th century destruction layers (see Table 1 ).

If an earthquake did cause the destruction of Spatromisch II, the best candidate would seem to be the Areopolis earthquake of c. 597 AD. This event is known primarily from an inscription that describes repairs performed in the year 492, of the calender of the province of Arabia (597/8 AD), following an earthquake, found by Zayadine (1971) at al-Rabba (ancient Areopolis), on the Karak Plateau (see also Ambraseys 2009: 216-17). Rucker and Niemi (2010: 101-03) have argued, primarily on the basis of the continued use of the Petra Church into the last decade of the 6th century, as evidenced by the Petra Papyri, that this earthquake is a better fit for the 6th century destructions in Petra previously attributed to the earthquake of 551. Accepting c. 597 as the date of the destruction of Spatromisch II is not critical to this paper's argument, but it follows from accepting the excavators' identification of an earthquake destruction and considering the events postdating 418/419 that could plausibly have affected southern Jordan. The possible events listed in the most recent Ambraseys (2009: 179, 199-203, 216-17) catalogue are the 502 Acre earthquake, which seems to have caused little damage inland; the 551 Beirut earthquake, an attribution Ambraseys explicitly rejects due to the lack of major destruction in Jerusalem; and the c. 597 Areopolis earthquake, which is the most likely possibility if the first two are ruled out. Of course, it is not possible to rule out destruction during a later earthquake, an otherwise unknown earthquake, or due to another cause entirely. Likewise, the destruction of the building does not necessarily coincide with the end of the occupation; it is entirely possible for an earthquake to destroy a previously abandoned building. Regardless of the exact date of the destruction, the evidence discussed above indicates that occupation continued into the 6th century.

The ceramics from al-Zantur are an important chronological anchor in the Petra region, and it has generally been accepted that those from Spatromisch II date to the narrow period between 363 and 419. Expanding the dating of this phase to the late 4th-6th century, therefore, has implications for the dating of other sites in Petra, notably the Petra Church.
A much more extensive discussion of dating evidence and interpretation can be found in Jones (2021). Some of his conclusions follow:
A critical review of the dating evidence from al-Zantur I Spatromisch II indicates that this destruction has been misdated by at least a century. Spatromisch II was occupied at least into the 6th century, and if an earthquake was responsible for its destruction, the Areopolis earthquake of c. 597 is a more likely candidate. This returns the emergence of the Negev wheel-made lamp to the 6th century, in line with essentially every other site where it occurs. This revision also has implications for the dating of the Petra Church, which relied heavily on comparison to the material from al-Zantur, and other sites in Petra. Taken on its own, the evidence indicates that the Petra Church was built in the early 6th century, rather than the mid-5th.

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Seismic Effects include
  • Kolb (2002) reports that consolidation had to be undertaken to support wall sections P1 and P2 between rooms 6 and 7 in EZ IV among other structural modifications.
  • a thick and seemingly undisturbed destruction layer, sealed by the debris of the room's {Room 33] arched roof at the bronze workshop in EZ I (Grawehr, 2007:399)
  • a moderately severe (not historically documented) earthquake that led to the structural repairs observed in various places and the renewal of a number of interior decorations (Kolb and Keller, 2002:286)

363 CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Kolb and Keller (2000:358) described archaeoseismic seismic evidence in Room 19 at EZ IV
In the earthquake of AD 363, the collapsing architectural members damaged the sandstone flagging mainly in the central and north-western sections of the pavement. Between the door to corridor 3 and the eastern column of the north side, a repair of approximately 1.2 m x 2.2 m is discernible.
...
The Findings in courtyard 19 are typical for the rather simple stratigraphy on EZ IV: A considerable deposit of earthquake debris covers a ca. 20-30 cm thick layer consisting of fragmented stucco decoration from the walls and columns. The latter context simultaneously seals the stratum of the last phase of occupation.
Kolb and Keller (2000:362) described archaeoseismic seismic evidence in Room 14 at EZ IV
The findings on the pavement indicate that the tubuli were broken out of wall AF by the tremors during the earthquake of 363 and thrown together on the floor with fragmented wall-decoration.
Kolb and Keller (2000:364) described archaeoseismic seismic evidence in Squares 88/AL-AM at EZ IV
it is impossible to reconstruct the original layout of the rooms in the eastern wing for the structures had obviously been badly affected by the tremors of the earthquake of 363
Kolb and Keller (2001:312) report that the northern outer wall (PQ 90-91/AK), unlike the western and southern outer walls H and I, was largely destroyed during the earthquake of AD 363 . Kolb and Keller (2001:317-318) reported the presence of rubble due to what they purport to be the 363 CE earthquake in the northern and southern cellars (86-87/AP-AQ) of Room 17 as well as cracked stones in Room 7 in EZ IV.

Kolb and Keller (2002:284) report extensive destruction of Wall B [in Room 37 of EZ IV] in the earthquake of 363. Kolb and Keller (2002:290) discussed collapsed walls due to the 363 CE earthquake
Due to the sudden destruction of the house on EZ IV during the earthquake of AD 363, excellent archaeological contexts are preserved as the debris of the collapsed walls sealed the finds underneath them.
Seismic Effects
Description Source
collapsed roof and masonry atop two skeletons in Room 1 of EZ I Stucky (1990:270-271)
destruction layer composed of architectural elements of the pool complex of Ez-Zantur Bedal et al. (2007)
broken columns in Room 6 of EZ IV Kolb et al (1998)
debris in Room 6 of EZ IV Kolb et al (1998)
a cracked flagstone floor under 6 carbonized wood beams in Room 6 of EZ IV Kolb et al (1998)
The thick layer of mural and moulded stucco fragments on top of the household utensils of the fourth century proves beyond any doubt that the Nabataean decor remained on the walls up till the aforementioned natural catastrophe [363 CE] Kolb et al (1998)
collapsing architectural members damaged the sandstone flagging mainly in the central and north-western sections of the pavement in Room 19 at EZ IV Kolb and Keller (2000:358)
the tubuli were broken out of wall AF by the tremors during the earthquake of 363 and thrown together on the floor with fragmented wall-decoration in Room 14 at EZ IV Kolb and Keller (2000:362)
the structures [Squares 88/AL-AM at EZ IV] had obviously been badly affected by the tremors of the earthquake of 363 Kolb and Keller (2000:364)
the northern outer wall (PQ 90-91/AK), unlike the western and southern outer walls H and I, was largely destroyed during the earthquake of AD 363 Kolb and Keller (2001:312)
rubble in the northern and southern cellars (86-87/AP-AQ) of Room 17 as well as cracked stones in Room 7 in EZ IV Kolb and Keller (2001:317-318)
extensive destruction of Wall B [in Room 37 of EZ IV] in the earthquake of 363 Kolb and Keller (2002:284)
Due to the sudden destruction of the house on EZ IV during the earthquake of AD 363, excellent archaeological contexts are preserved as the debris of the collapsed walls sealed the finds underneath them. Kolb and Keller (2002:290)

5th-6th Century CE Earthquake

  • Map showing location of ez-Zantur (labeled al-Zantur I) from Jones (2021)
  • ez-Zantur excavation areas from Kolb (2002)
  • Plan of Nabatean Mansion in EZ IV from Kolb (2002)
  • Schematic Plan showing squares in EZ IV from Kolb and Keller (2002)
  • General plan of EZ I from Stucky (1990)
Jones (2021) notes that Kolb (1996: 51, 89; 2000: 238, 244; 2007: 157) attributes the destruction of the final occupation phase of ez-Zantur I to an earthquake.

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Displaced Walls consolidation had to be undertaken to support wall sections P1 and P2 between rooms 6 and 7 (Kolb, 2002) VII +
Arch Collapse a thick and seemingly undisturbed destruction layer, sealed by the debris of the rooms arched roof at the bronze workshop (Grawehr, 2007:399) 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) .

363 CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Fallen Columns broken columns in Room 6 of EZIV (Kolb et al, 1998) V+
Collapsed Walls Stucky (1990:270-271) found collapsed roof and masonry atop two skeletons in Room 1 of EZ I. VIII+
Collapsed Walls Bedal et al. (2007) found a destruction layer composed of architectural elements of the pool complex of Ez-Zantur VIII+
Collapsed Walls The following evidence suggests wall collapse somewhere
  • debris in Room 6 of EZIV (Kolb et al, 1998)
  • a cracked flagstone floor under 6 carbonized wood beams in Room 6 of EZIV (Kolb et al, 1998)
  • destruction layer in Room 1 of the Ez-Zantur domestic complex (Stuckey et al, 1990)
  • destruction layer composed of architectural elements of the pool complex of Ez-Zantur (Bedal et al, 2007)
  • collapsing architectural members damaged the sandstone flagging mainly in the central and north-western sections of the pavement in Room 19 at EZ IV (Kolb and Keller, 2000:358)
VIII +
Collapsed Walls Kolb and Keller (2001:312) report that the northern outer wall (PQ 90-91/AK), unlike the western and southern outer walls H and I, was largely destroyed during the earthquake of AD 363 . VIII+
Collapsed Walls Kolb and Keller (2002:284) report extensive destruction of Wall B [in Room 37 of EZ IV] in the earthquake of 363 VIII+
Collapsed Walls Kolb and Keller (2002:290) report that due to the sudden destruction of the house on EZ IV during the earthquake of AD 363, excellent archaeological contexts are preserved as the debris of the collapsed walls sealed the finds underneath them. VIII+
Displaced Walls the tubuli were broken out of wall AF by the tremors during the earthquake of 363 and thrown together on the floor with fragmented wall-decoration in Room 14 at EZ IV (Kolb and Keller, 2000:362) 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) .

5th-6th Century CE Earthquake

Jones (2021) notes that Kolb (1996: 51, 89; 2000: 238, 244; 2007: 157) attributes the destruction of the final occupation phase of ez-Zantur I to an earthquake. This suggests collapsed walls.

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls destruction of the final occupation phase of ez-Zantur I 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

B. Kolb, 2001, A Nabataean mansion at Petra: Some Reflections on its Architecture and Interior Design. in: Bisheh, G. (ed), Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VII, 2001, 437–445.

Kolb B. and Keller D. (2002:286). Swiss-Liechtenstein Excavation at Az-Zantur / Petra: The Twelfth Season. ADA, 46, 279-294.

B. Kolb – D. Keller, 2001, Swiss-Liechtenstein Excavation at az-Zantur – Petra. The Eleventh Season. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 45, 2001, 311–324.

B. Kolb – D. Keller, 2000, Swiss-Liechtenstein Excavation at az-Zantur – Petra. The Tenth Season. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 44, 2000, 355–372.

B. Kolb – L. Gorgerat – M. Grawehr, 1999, Swiss-Liechtenstein Excavations on az-Zantur in Petra 1998, ADAJ 43, 1999, 261–277.

B. Kolb – D. Keller – Y. Gerber, 1998, Swiss-Liechtenstein Excavations at az-Zantur in Petra 1997. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 42, 1998, 259–277.

Grawehr M. (2007). Production of Bronze Works in the Nabataean Kingdom. SHAJ 9, 397-403.

Jones, I. W. N. (2021). "The southern Levantine earthquake of 418/419 AD and the archaeology of Byzantine Petra." Levant: 1-15.

Kolb, B. 2007. Nabataean private architecture. In, Politis, K. D. (ed.), The World of the Nabataeans

Kolb, B. 1996 Die spätrömischen Bauten. Pp. 47-89 in A. Bignasca et al., Petra. Ez Zantur I. Er-gebnisse der Schwiezerisch-Liechtensteinischen Ausgrabungen 1988-1992. Terra Archaeologica Bd. II. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Kolb 2000 B. Kolb, Die spätantiken Wohnbauten von Ez Zantur in Petra und der Wohnhausbau in Palästina vom 4.–6. Jh. n. Chr., Petra–Ez Zantur II 2. Ergebnisse der Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinischen Ausgrabungen. Terra archaeologica IV. Monographien der Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinischen Stiftung für Archäologische Forschungen im Ausland (SLSA/FSLA) (Mainz 2000).

International Ez Zantur Project

Selected bibliography of the International Ez Zantur Project

Avdat

Avdat Acropolis Aerial View of Avdat Acropolis

Wikipedia


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Avdat Hebrew עבדת‎‎
Abdah Arabic عبدة‎
Oboda Ancient Greek ‎‎Ὀβόδα
Ovdat ‎‎
Obodat ‎‎
Introduction

Avdat started out in the 3rd or 4th century BCE as a Nabatean way station on the Incense Road (Avraham Negev in Stern et al, 1993). By the 1st century BCE, the town was named Oboba after Nabatean King Obodas I. It was occupied continuously until it was abandoned in the 7th century . Situated at the end of a ~4 km. long ridge, Avdat may have suffered from seismic amplification during past earthquakes as it appears it may be subject to a topographic or ridge effect (terrain map ).

Chronology

Archeological excavations have uncovered several earthquakes which struck Avdat/Oboda. Erickson-Gini, T. (2014) noted approximate dates and Intensities:
  1. Substantial destruction in the early 2nd century CE
  2. Some damage due to an earthquake in 363 CE.
  3. A massive earthquake in the early 5th century CE
  4. A massive earthquake in the early 7th century CE
Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) conducted two archaeoseismic surveys at Avdat and were able to distinguish between 7th century CE seismic effects and effects from a "previous" earthquake where the "previous" earthquake would likely be the massive earthquake in the early 5th century CE.
Early 2nd century earthquake

Erickson-Gini, T. (2014) described the early 2nd century earthquake as follows:

There is indirect evidence of a more substantial destruction in the early 2nd century CE in which residential structures from the earliest phase of the Nabataean settlement east of the late Roman residential quarter were demolished and used as a source of building stone for later structures. Destruction from this earthquake is well attested particularly nearby at Horvat Hazaza, and along the Petra to Gaza road at Mezad Mahmal, Sha'ar Ramon, Mezad Neqarot and Moyat `Awad, and at `En Rahel in the Arava as well as at Mampsis (Korjenkov and Erickson-Gini 2003).
Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) added
Evidence of an early second-century CE earthquake is found at other sites along the Incense Road at Nahal Neqarot, Sha'ar Ramon, and particularly at the head of the Mahmal Pass where an Early Roman Nabataean structure collapsed (Korjenkov and Erickson-Gini 2003; Erickson-Gini 2011). There is ample evidence of the immediate reconstruction of buildings at Moyat ‘Awad, Sha'ar Ramon, and Horvat Dafit. However, this does not seem to be the case with the Mahmal and Neqarot sites.
Earlier discussions dating archeoseismic destruction from around this time at Avdat/Oboda from the so-called Potter's Workshop is in the collapsible Notes panel for Avdat under Notes and Further Reading.

Southern Cyril Quake (363 CE)

Tali Erickson-Gini in Stern et al (2008) provided some information on the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE.

In 1999–2000 an area located east of the Byzantine town wall and the north tower at Oboda was excavated on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
...
Some structural damage, probably resulting from the 363 CE earthquake, is evident in the blockage of a few doorways and the collapse of one of the rooms (rooms 4, 7, 17).
one room of the earlier structure appears to have been utilized in the fourth century CE (room 7), and it apparently collapsed in the 363 earthquake.

the numismatic and ceramic evidence uncovered in this third phase indicate that the dwellings were destroyed in a violent earthquake several decades after that of 363 CE. Following this second, local earthquake, the area was abandoned and many of the building stones were robbed.
The second earthquake could be due the Monaxius and Plinta Quake of 419 CE which fits as the early 5th century earthquake discussed below.

Early 5th century earthquake

An early 5th century earthquake suggests the Monaxius and Plinta Quake of 419 CE where there appears to be archaeoseismic evidence in Yotvata. Erickson-Gini, T. (2014) described the early 5th century earthquake at Avdat/Oboda:

A massive earthquake took place in the early 5th century CE, substantial evidence of which was uncovered in the late Roman and early Byzantine residential quarter (Erickson-Gini 2010a: 91-93). All of the structures east of the town wall were abandoned and used as a source of building stone for the late Byzantine town. Following this earthquake, massive revetment walls were constructed along the southern wall of the acropolis in order to shore up the heavily damaged walls. In contrast, the late Byzantine citadel adjoining the temenos area of the acropolis has no revetment walls, certainly due to its construction following the earthquake. The two churches inside the temenos area were built using numerous early Roman ashlars and architectural elements originally from the Obodas Temple damaged in the earthquake.
Negev (1989) provided a wider range of dates for this earthquake which entertains the possibility that this archaeoseismic evidence was caused by the hypothesized Negev Quake which, if real, is dated to around 500 CE.
A decisive factor in determining this phase is the dating of a series of earthquakes, one or more of which shattered numerous buildings in some of the towns of the central Negev. Although literary evidence is scarce, there is ample archaeological evidence that testifies to these disasters. At Oboda the entire length of the old southern Nabatean retaining wall was thrust outwards, and for this reason it had to be supported by a heavy, slanting supporting wall. Similarly much damage was caused to a massive tower of the Nabatean period, identified in July 1989 as the temple of Obodas (?), which in the Late Roman - early Byzantine period was incorporated in the citadel occupying the eastern half of the acropolis hill. Most of the damage was caused to the western and southern walls of the temple, and for this reason these too had to be supported by still heavier stone taluses, blocking the original entrance to the temple on the southern wall. It is against this talus that the South Church was built. Similar damage was also caused to some of the nearby buildings in the so-called Roman Quarter south of the temple. We may thus place the date of the earthquake between the end of the third century A.D., when the latest building in this quarter was constructed, and A.D. 541, when the Martyrium of St. Theodore was already being used as a burial ground.

Early 7th century earthquake

7th century earthquake

Erickson-Gini, T. (2014) discussed the early 7th century earthquake.

The destruction of the town by a massive earthquake sometime in the early 7th century CE was one piece of a puzzle not mentioned by Negev. The earthquake certainly occurred after the latest inscription found at the site in the Martyrion of St. Theodore (South Church) in 617 CE (Negev 1981: 37). Direct evidence of the destruction and abandonment of the site was uncovered by Fabian, with massive destruction evident throughout the site, and particularly along the western face of the site with its extensive caves and buildings (Korjenkov et al., 1996). Mezad Yeruham, several kms further south, was apparently destroyed at the same time (Y. Baumgarten, personal communication), while the earthquake left a trail of damage at numerous sites. This is indicated by the early seventh-century construction of revetment walls around churches and private houses at Sobota (Shivta), Sa'adon, Rehovot in-the-Negev, and Nessana. Compared to other Nabataean sites in the Negev Highlands that indicate a continued occupation through the late Byzantine period well into the early Islamic period in the 9th c., Oboda was devoid of settlement in the early Islamic period. In place of a central town, such as Sobota (Shivta), Rehovot in-the-Negev, or Nessana, a significant number of early Islamic farming villages—many with open-air mosques—were found in close proximity to Oboda.
This would suggest the Sword in the Sky Quake of 634 CE with the potentially dubious Sign of the Prophet Quake (613-622 CE) and the Jordan Valley Quake of 656/660 CE as less likely possibilities.

Seismic Effects
Seismic Effects

In surveys conducted in 1994 and 1996, Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) examined hundreds of deformation features and selected 41 measurements of wall inclinations, 26 of wall collapse, 17 of block rotations, and 96 cases of through-going fractures, where [they] were certain of the non-static origin of dislocations. They divided the features of seismic destructioninto 2 groups based on diagnostic use.

  1. Seismic-related features, which can be used for the determination of the seismic origin of the destruction, and degree of seismic shaking - seismic intensity
    1. joints crossing through a few adjacent blocks
    2. rotation of arch or roof slabs around horizontal axis
    3. hanging stones in the arches
    4. later built supporting walls for the tilted walls and columns
    5. non-coincidence of lower rows of masonry with upper building construction
  2. Seismic indicators which can be used for the determination of epicentral direction
    1. inclination of walls
    2. shifting of complete walls or wall fragments
    3. collapse of arches and wall fragments
    4. rotation of building fragments in arches and walls around the vertical axis
Examples and summaries of observations are presented below:
Damage Type
Event
"Previous"
or
7th century
Location Figure Comments
JOINTS AS AN INDICATION OF THE SEISMIC NATURE OF THE DESTRUCTIONS 7th century Northern Church 4 Joints are mode 1 (dilatation) fractures developed as a result of extension (Engelder and Fisher. 1996). Joints confined to stone breaks often appear in old buildings. Interpretation of such joints is somewhat ambiguous: they could be erected tectonically, they could also be the result of weathering, i.e., repeated heating and cooling events. In contrast, joints passing through two or more adjacent blocks (through-going joints) could be formed only under high strains. Such joints require the application of tremendous amounts of energy to overcome the stress shadows, appearing along free surfaces at the block margins (Fisher et al., 1995: Engelder, and Fisher, 1996; Becker and Gross, 1996) and therefore cannot be related to the weathering process.
Numerous examples of through-going joints were observed during the study of the ruins of Avdat town. One such joint was found in the WSW external wall of the Northern Church (trend azimuth is 150°) in a corner of a small ledge (Figure 4). The joint crosses two adjacent blocks with a thickness of 50 cm each. What is most important in this case, is that the joint has passed straight through cement between the two blocks, without any bends. The length of the joint is 1 m. It starts 30 cm in from the upper corner of the upper block and it finishes 70 cm in from the lower corner of the lower block. The joint is inclined by an azimuth 174° L59° in its upper part, dip azimuth is 173° L68° in its lower part.
All of the above is evidence of an earthquake which took place in the region of Avdat town in the 7th century A.D., probably 631-633 A.D. However, there is other evidence in the town, dating back to the Late Roman period, of at least one more strong seismic event, probably the well known earthquake of 363 A.D. (Amiran, 1950-1952; Russell, 1980; Amiran et al., 1994), which terminated the Late Roman settlement of the city. Several years later, a new town was rebuilt on the ruins of the old one. This idea was suggested by P. Fabian (1996, 1997). Our study has confirmed his suggestion.
TREND DISCORDANCE OF FIRST LOWER ROWS OF MASONRY WITH UPPER WALL FRAGMENTS, AND TREND DEVIATION FROM PERPENDICULAR OF WALLS JOINING EACH OTHER "Previous" Room 10 of Court in South Quarter 3
5
Strange discordance of trends of first lower rows of masonry (usually one or two rows) and upper wall fragments is visible in some parts of Avdat. For example, there is counterclockwise rotation of the whole NW wall of room No. 10 of the court (see, Figure 3). Horizontal displacement was 45 cm. During rotation around the vertical axis the NW wall was not collapsed and townsmen, who settled there after the 363 A.D. shock, used the rotated wall for rebuilding (Fabian 1996, 1997). The original trend of the wall was 50°, preserved first and second lower rows testify about that building (Figure 5). Modern trend azimuth of rotated wall is 41°.
In some places, one can see a sharp deviation of trends for separate walls joining to each other perpendicularly. Such deviations can sometimes amount to an angle of 11° (see, for example, SE wall of room No. 2 of the court on the Figure 3).
SHIFTING OF UPPER PRESERVED FRAGMENTS OF WALLS AS COMPARED WITH LOWER ROWS OF STONES "Previous" Room 8 of Court in South Quarter 3
6
The shift of the building elements without rotation may be used in a similar manner to wall inclination or block collapse. The upper element of a construction is shifted toward or away from an epicenter due to inertia. In the Avdat such a displacement, of 80 cm, can be observed for the upper fragment of the NW wall of room No. 8 of the court (see, Figure 3) in a NW direction (Figure 6). Its former position (trend azimuth is 41°) is marked by one stone row of 20 cm height. The width of the shifted wall fragment is 70 cm, length is 165 cm, height of preserved fragment is 55-60 cm, its trend azimuth is 45°.
These facts apparently testify to the adaptation of the lower non-destroyed rows of masonry and preserved walls (only rotated slightly) for the regeneration of the town in Byzantine times. During Roman times at the same place, there was a settlement which was destroyed by an earthquake. Later the town was, again rebuilt on the site of the former settlement using the preserved lower rows of masonry and preserved whole walls (Fabian, 1996, 1997).
NONCOINCIDENCE OF LOWER STONE ROWS WITH UPPER BUILDING STRUCTURES "Previous" N yard of bath-house 7a
7b
Additional indirect evidence of possible seismic activity in the studied territory is non-coincidence of lower stone rows with upper building structures. Such patterns occurred when a building was partly destroyed during an earthquake, but ancient people decided not to restore it. They removed still standing preserved fragments of the destroyed building and smoothed out the piles of rubble. They built a new building on the site of the old one. Later, during recent archeological excavations, researchers discovered strange non-coincidence of lower stone rows with upper building structures (Fabian, 1996, 1997).
For example, such non-coincidence can be observed in the northern yard of the bath-house, which is located near the foot of the Avdat hill (Figure 7). The bottom row of the NW corner of the wall is pulled out to the west 13 cm if compared with the upper fragment of the wall, with the trend azimuth of 159° (see, Figure 7(a)). This non-coincidence is even larger - 28.5 cm if compared with the SE part of the wall, with the trend azimuth of 167°. The lower pulled row of the northern fragment of the wall continues to the NW over the perpendicular external wall of the yard (see Figure 7(b)). The probable explanation of this case is given in the previous paragraph.
SUPPORT-WALLS "Previous" Southern Church 8 Indirect evidence of more old shocks are special support-walls which were built solely for this purpose. One such wall was built to support the eastern corner of the Southern Church (P. Fabian, 1994, personal communication). The wall which needed support had an ENE trend (Figure 8). One more support-wall was built to support the external wall (with NE strike) of the South Quarter of the town, opposite the eastern corner of the Fort, later it was dismantled by archeologists during excavation (P. Fabian, personal communication, 1996). This building of supporting walls for city walls of the same trend is not isolated. Apparently, during the Roman earthquake these city walls were slightly tilted, but they were not collapsed. Ancient people built those support-walls specifically to prevent them from possible future collapse (Fabian, 1996, 1997).
CAVE DESTRUCTIONS "Previous" Caves As stated above, on the slope of Avdat hill there are many caves which were inhabited for living during Nabatean—Byzantine times. However, below the caves there are huge piles of rubble, which consist of debris from Avdat hill's rocks and from remains of domestic objects (pieces of Nabatean earthenware vessels, for example - T. Gini, personal communication, 1996). This fact also indicates a possible earthquake in 363 A.D. during which the collapse of inhabited caves took place. After that event ancient people cleaned out the caves and used them for living in for the second time. However, some of the caves were not cleaned after the 363 A.D. shock.
The caves near the top of the hill were the most severely damaged (T. Gini, 1996, personal communication). This fact can be explained by the "sky-scraper effect - maximum oscillation during earthquakes is in the upper part of the building (or the hill in the Avdat case).
A study of habitable (in the past) caves was made. They were dug up on a hill slope, on top of which there are main town buildings. This study shows numerous collapses of walls and cave vaults, and also considerable long fractures. The displacement of chisel traces on the cave ceilings was observed, where those traces are crossed by long fractures in limestone massif . The latest ones show subsidence on the first few centimeters of the middle parts of the limestone hill compared to the external parts. It is the opposite to what one would expect due to gravitation forces. Such graben-like subsidence of watershed parts of mountain ridges was observed during strong earthquakes in the Baikal Rift area (Khromovskikh, 1965) and in the Tien Shan seismic belt (Korjenkov and Chedia, 1986; Korjenkov and Omuraliev, 1993; Ghose et al., 1997). These seismogenic features are indicators of an earthquake intensity of IX—X.
The new Byzantine town existed until the beginning of the seventh century A.D., probably 633 A.D., and was then totally destroyed by an earthquake never to be rebuilt (Fabian, 1996, 1997). This may explain the absence of any Early Muslim period finds at the site in spite of the continued occupation of other Negev sites such as Nessana and Shivta (see Figure 1) that existed until the tenth century A.D. (E. Oren, personal communication, 1996). These towns were located west of Avdat and were probably less affected by the earthquake.
The following are the seismic features belonging to group 2, used for the determination of the seismic wave propagation direction. They belong to the seismic event which occurred in the 7th century.
INCLINATION OF BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS mostly 7th century ? various locations 9
10
As in strong earthquakes throughout the world, a large number of structural elements were found to be preferentially inclined (Richter, 1958; Cloud and Scott, 1969; Bolt, 1978; Polyakov, 1978; Omuraliev et al., 1993a and others). A similar destruction was found in the ancient city of Avdat: forty one cases of preferentially inclined walls (Figures 9 and 10) and inclination of single stones within walls can be seen there. As seen in Figure 5, walls trending SE 130°-140° are systematically inclined to the SW. In contrast walls trending NE 40°-60° are inclined to NW and SE with no preferential direction. This observation seems to indicate that the seismic shock arrived along the NE—SW direction: the walls oriented roughly normal to the seismic wave direction were systematically collapsed or inclined, whereas walls oriented parallel to the seismic waves lost support, were tilted and collapsed randomly.
COLLAPSE FEATURES 7th century ? Agricultural Fences 11a
11b
12
13
Numerous ruins of agricultural fences remained on the top (Figure 11(a)) and near the foot of the Avdat hill (Figure 11(b)). The fences trending about EW reveal a clear systematic picture of the collapse: the lower part of the wall is intact (easily seen from its northern side), whereas the upper part of the fences fell southward (see Figure 11). Azimuth of preferred collapsed features are plotted in Figure 12 versus wall trend. One group of walls trending SE 90°-140° reveals collapse toward SW 180°-240°, whereas walls oriented in other directions fell on both sides of the original wall position, they did not show a systematic pattern of the collapse, and so they were not shown on the graph. This observation indicates that the direction of seismic wave propagation was roughly perpendicular to the SE-trending walls.
It is necessary to mention the cases of wall drags (rotations) because of wall collapse. Many rotated blocks or block fragments in Avdat were caused by the drag due to the collapse of a wall (Figure 13). Such rotations cannot be used to determine shear stresses, however the patterns of drag-caused rotations enable us to reconstruct the direction of wall collapse.
ROTATION OF BUILDING ELEMENTS 7th century ? various locations 13
14a
14b
15
Field study of the epicentral zones of the well-known strong earthquakes revealed that some building constructions or rock fragments were rotated clockwise, whereas others were rotated counterclockwise (Richter, 1958; Cloud and Scott, 1969; Bolt, 1978: Polyakov, 1978; Omuraliev et al., 1993b and others). Horizontal rotation of arch supports, separate blocks in arch supports and walls, or rotation of a large fragment of a wall with tens to hundreds of stones were measured in the ruins of Avdat town. Clockwise and counterclockwise patterns of rotation were observed. Some examples of the rotated elements are shown in Figure 14.
For the case of the Avdat ruins the pattern and degree of rotations were plotted against the wall trends (Figure 15 ). As can be seen in the graph, the only one case of clockwise rotation was found in a wall fragment with trend SE 140°, whereas counterclockwise rotations were found on walls trending NE 40°-60°.
The rotations described above were measured in well-preserved walls at some distance from the corners, so that a researcher could be confident, that the rotations were caused by a shear couple. However, many rotated blocks or block fragments in Avdat were caused by a drag which occurred due to collapse of a wall (see Figure 13). Such rotations cannot be applied to determine shear stresses, however, the patterns of drag-caused rotations enable us to reconstruct the direction of wall collapse, which, as described above, is an independent kinematic indicator.

Archaeoseismic Analysis

Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) provided an extensive discussion regarding the analysis of their data. This discussion provides information for Avdat and explains the methodology used to examine archaeoseismic observations from other sites in the Negev. Due to it's value as a reference, much of the discussion is repeated below:
Archeoseismic Analysis

Study of the destruction in the Avdat ruins reveals a systematic type of dislocation:

  1. Walls of buildings trending SE 120° revealed strong preferential collapse or inclination toward south, whereas walls trending NE 20°-50° tilted and fell without a noticeable systematic pattern (see Figure 10 ). A similar structure of collapse was observed for the ruins of agricultural fences (see Figure 12 ). These observations indicate that the seismic shock arrived from the south in the case of a compressional wave, or from the north, if the wave causing the collapse was extensional. Thus, by this exercise the eastward and westward propagating seismic waves can be excluded.
  2. Most rotated blocks in the Avdat ruins are turned counterclockwise and they were found exclusively on NE-trending walls (see Figure 15 ). The only case of clockwise rotation was found in a wall fragment with trend SE 140°. The fact of the appearance of rotated blocks, as described above, indicates push movements (compression wave approaching the buildings). Thus, the only possibility left is a compressional seismic wave coming from the south. Rotation itself involves shear stresses acting along the walls, thus the seismic wave must have arrived at some angle to the walls.
Following the well-known strong earthquakes a large number of structural elements were found to be preferentially inclined toward the epicenter, however, in some cases the inclination was in the opposite direction. As in the case with the wall inclinations, the walls facing the seismic wave collapsed systematically toward the seismically induced compression strain, whereas the walls aligned parallel to the seismic wave lost support and collapsed in a random manner. Therefore, one has to look for a correlation between the trend of a construction element and the direction of collapse. The collapse debris form the shape of a cone, because the central part of a collapsing wall segment undergoes maximum oscillation during the seismic event (Figure 16 ).

The preferred direction of collapse or inclination of building elements may be either toward an epicenter or away from it. If the damaged site is located in the quadrangle of compression strain (Figure 17 ), the deformation will be caused by a push movement exerted on the ground, resulting in inclination and collapse toward the epicenter. In contrast, in the sites located in a tensional quadrangle, the deformations are induced by a pull movement causing inclination and collapse away from the epicenter. In either case, the line of collapse or relative motion can be determined. This line connects the original position of an object and its position after an earthquake, or corresponds to the dip azimuth of an inclined element. The intersecting points of the collapse lines measured in many places will converge at the area of the epicenter (Figure 18 ).

Shear stresses applied to an elongated element cause its rotation. The direction of rotation depends on two factors:
  1. orientation of principle stresses in a location and
  2. the orientation of the elongated element
Field study of the epicentral zones of the world-known strong earthquakes revealed that some building constructions or rock fragments were rotated clockwise, whereas others were rotated counterclockwise. A seismic wave approaching a building parallel or normal to its walls will result in collapse, shift or inclination with no rotation (Figure 20(a) ). The rotation should take place in the cases where the principle stresses are oblique to a construction element, and the resolved shear stresses are high (Figure 20(b) ). Thus, rotated elements situated on perpendicularly oriented walls should have an opposite direction of rotation, if the seismic shock came along the bisector of the two walls (Figure 20(c) ).

Two mechanisms of rotation, caused by tectonic movements, are known in geology (Figure 21 ):
  1. book-shelf structures, or synthetically rotated blocks, and
  2. asymmetric pull-aparts, or antithetically rotated blocks (Jordan, 1991)
As can be seen in Figure 21 , the same direction of rotation can be obtained by the different stress setups. These rotated blocks are termed "antithetical" or "synthetic" because with respect to the same simple shear couple two directions of rotation are possible. A synthetic structure is formed as a result of compression acting parallel to an element along axis, whereas the antithetical structure is developed when extension is parallel to an elongated element. Thus, in tectonics the interpretation of the rotation structures should be proceeded by a determination of the strain that occurred parallel to a rotated element. Such an ambiguity does not exist in seismic interpretations. Any lateral extension applied to a construction should lead to its collapse or inclination, whereas rotation could occur only under horizontal compression. This provides an additional criterion for the determination of strain accompanying an earthquake: the appearance of rotated blocks is an indication of a push movement. A scheme showing the direction of rotation, with respect to the direction of seismic wave propagation, is shown in Figure 20 .

This discussion leads to an additional conclusion explaining the lack of oriented inclination and collapse features in an epicentral area (and additionally, to the assumption that the point seismic source is not valid in the epicentral zone): the shock wave moving from a hypocenter under a high angle to the surface, results in a lateral extension applied to constructions. This explains why in recent earthquakes (Acapulco, 1962; Scopje, 1963; Tashkent, 1966 and others) the areas above a hypo-center do not reveal systematic inclination and collapse patterns (Muto et al., 1963; Binder, 1965; Medvedev, 1966; The Scopje Earthquake of 26 July 1963, 1968; Mirzoev et al., 1969; Liquidation of Consequences of Tashkent Earthquake, 1972), whereas some distance away inclination and collapse have pronounced directional patterns (Figure 22 ).

All said above is true for the features of destruction found in building constructions built on an isotropic massive foundation without a strong preferential orientation of the fabric in the basement rocks. In the studied case, Avdat was built directly on massive limestones. Thus, an input caused by rock anisotropy could be neglected. To avoid gravitational reasons for the city's destruction, the authors did not conduct the measurements on the slope of Avdat hill.

Avdat ruins have two perpendicular directions of walls (—NE 50° and —SE 140°), so the overall model can be represented as a single building (or room). To cause south-directed wall collapse by a compressional seismic wave, the shock should have come from south side. If the shock arrived exactly perpendicular to the NE-trending walls (i.e., from SW, Figure 23(a) ), the shear stresses along walls should be minimal and the rotations should appear only occasionally.

In contrast, maximal shear stresses would result if the seismic wave approached the buildings along a bisector line between the walls (Figure 23(b) ), i.e., from south. In this case rotations on both wall directions should be clearly pronounced, whereas both NE and SE-trending walls should reveal oriented collapse and inclinations to the south (SE and SW sides correspondingly).

In the case of Avdat the only NE-trending walls revealed oriented collapse and inclinations, and SE-trending walls demonstrate systematic counterclockwise rotations. Such a situation is possible if the compressional wave came from SSW (Figure 23(c) ).

Thus, the epicenter was located somewhere SSW from the Avdat settlement, and the scale of destruction indicates that the epicenter was situated 15 km south of Avdat, probably in the area of the Nafha Fault zone. The force (seismic intensity) of a shock resulting in the destruction of buildings was determined using the scale of earthquake intensity MSK-64. Buildings in Avdat town according to this scale are classed as B type - buildings from natural hewed stones. Quantitative characteristics of destruction: most buildings were destroyed (more then 75%). According to the degree of destruction Avdat town is classified as fourth degree:
  • through cracks and breaks in the walls
  • collapse of building parts
  • breaking of connections between separate parts of buildings
  • collapse of internal walls and walls of framework filling
All these features of destruction show on IX-X intensity of seismic shock on territory of Avdat town.
...
The destruction was caused by a compressional seismic wave and the epicenter was located SSW of Avdat somewhere in central Negev. The degree of town destruction during the historical earthquake according to Seismic Intensity Scale MSK-64 was IX-X.

Intensity Estimates
Distinguishing 7th century effects from "previous" earthquake effects

Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) did not produce an Intensity or directional estimate for any of the earthquakes that preceded the 7th century CE event. However, by making use of their detailed descriptions of seismic effects and the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart, I produced Intensity estimates for both the 7th century CE earthquake and the "previous" one. "Previous" earthquake seismic effects were presumed to come from seismic effects associated with rebuilding as no rebuilding should be associated with the 7th century earthquake if it was, as the archaeologists (e.g. Peter Fabian) beleive, destroyed and then abandoned. Although I cannot rigorously distinguish whether my "previous" earthquake Intensity estimate is for the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE or the early 5th century CE earthquake, if Erickson-Gini, T. (2014) is correct that the southern Cyril Quake only caused some structural damage and the 5th century earthquake was massive, my Intensity estimate for the "previous" earthquake is likely effectively for the 5th century quake. So, it is labeled as such. An intensity estimate for the "363 CE earthquake" was derived from Cave dwellings which the archaeologists beleive were damaged or destroyed during this event.

Topographic or Ridge Effect

Terrain map



Citing a personal communication with Tali Erickson-Gini in 1996, Korzhenkov and Mazor (1999), noted increased seismic damage in upslope caves adjacent to the Avdat acropolis after the 363 CE earthquake. This suggests that a ridge effect may present at Avdat. A terrain map shows that Avdat is situated at the end of a ~4 km. long ridge Avdat. Orientation of the ridge further indicates that seismic energy arriving from the NE or the SW (orthogonal to the ridge) would be most likely to produce seismic amplification at the site. A slope effect may also be at play as Avdat surrounded by steep slopes on 3 sides.

363 CE earthquake

Effect Location Intensity Comments
Collapsed Vaults Caves in the slopes adjacent to the Avdat Acropolis VIII + numerous collapses of walls and cave vaults
Collapsed Walls Caves in the slopes adjacent to the Avdat Acropolis VIII + numerous collapses of walls and cave vaults
These effects, dated to the 363 CE earthquake, were observed in the caves furthest upslope and suggest a site effect or what Korzhenkov and Mazor (1999) call a "sky-scraper effect". Either way, seismic amplification is indicated so while this archaeoseismic 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), it is downgraded one unit to VII (7).

Early 5th century CE earthquake - the "previous" earthquake

Effect Earthquake
attribution
Location Intensity
Displaced Walls "previous"
prob. 5th century
Room 10 in court in S Quarter
Fig. 5
Room 8 in court in S Quarter
Fig. 6
VII+
Displaced Walls "previous"
prob. 5th century
N yard of bath-house
Fig. 7a
Fig. 7b
VII +
Tilted Walls "previous"
prob. 5th century
Support Walls of Southern Church
Fig. 8
VI +
Collapsed Walls "previous"
prob. 5th century
Caves VIII +
Collapsed Vaults "previous"
prob. 5th century
Caves VIII +
This archaeoseismic 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) .

Early 7th century CE earthquake

Effect Earthquake
attribution
Location Intensity
Penetrative fractures in masonry blocks 7th century many locations
an example from Northern Church
Figure 4
VI+
Tilted Walls 7th century various locations VI +
Collapsed Walls 7th century various locations
Fig. 9
VIII +
Collapsed Walls 7th century Agricultural Fences
Fig. 11a
Fig. 11b
VIII +
Arch damage 7th century various locations VI +
This archaeoseismic 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 (1999)'s seismic characterization of the 7th century earthquake

As mentioned previously, Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) were able to sort a number of seismic effects by earthquake event - distinguishing whether the observed damage was due to the 7th century earthquake or one of the "previous" earthquakes (i.e the southern Cyril Quake of 363 CE and/or the 5th century CE earthquake). As such, one can have confidence in the Intensity estimate Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) produced for the 7th century earthquake. Korjenkov and Mazor (1999)'s conclusion for the 7th century CE earthquake is that

The destruction was caused by a compressional seismic wave, the epicenter was located SSW of Avdat somewhere in central Negev, and the degree of town destruction [] according to Seismic Intensity Scale MSK-64 was IX-X.

Discontinuous Deformation Analysis by Kamai and Hatzor (2005)

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

for displaced blocks on the western wall of the Roman Tower of Avdat. The tower, dated to 294 AD, was founded directly on bedrock, and has risen to a height of 12 m, from which only 6 m are left standing today. (Kamai and Hatzor, 2005 citing Negev, 1997). The best-fit simulation (Fig. 16A ) was run with the following seismic parameters:
  • Ah = l g
  • Av = 0
  • f =3 Hz.
  • Dh_avmax = 8 cm.
Kamai and Hatzor (2005:133-134) did not present single best fit parameters due to various limitations so this parameterization, though consistent with other estimates of Intensity, should only be considered approximate. A PGA of 1 g converts to an Intensity of 9.3 using Equation 2 of Wald et al (1999). Although Korjenkov and Mazor (1999) did not explicitly attribute the bulges in the Roman Tower to the 7th century CE earthquake, the high PGA that comes from Kamai and Hatzor (2005)'s simulations suggests that this is the case as the 7th century earthquake was apparently a powerful and destructive earthquake which both destroyed Avdat and led to its abandonment.

Kamai and Hatzor (2007) noted that seismic amplification can be at at play at higher parts of a structure (i.e. the "Sky-scraper effect" mentioned by Korzhenkov) leading to potential amplification of bedrock PGA by as much as 2.5. This could in turn lead to a bracket of PGA values for The Roman Tower from 0.4 and 1.0 g. These PGA values convert to Intensities of 7.8 - 9.3 using Equation 2 of Wald et al (1999). A final result can thus be that DDA modeling of the Roman Tower suggests bedrock Intensities between 8 and 10 during this earthquake. Note that this ignores seismic amplification due to a ridge effect over the entire site. The ridge effect could add an additional amplification factor.
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 and Lab derived properties

Model was run in qk.mode using a sinusoidal input function. The authors noted that in the case of Avdat the obtained ground-motion parameters may be higher than reasonably expected (e.g. l g at Avdat). Therefore, they do not argue at this stage for exact historical ground motion restoration. Soil-structure and rock-structure interactions were not part of the analysis and considering that Avdat may be subject to a ridge effect, 1 g could be reasonable and could explain the unusual wall bulge at the Roman Tower at Avdat which appears to have been generated by a significant seismic force. Although the authors date this seismic effect to the 3rd or 4th century CE, Erickson-Gini (2014)'s characterization of the 363 CE earthquake as causing the least damage to the site of the 4 recognized earthquakes suggests that this is not the case.

Lab Measurements of original stones from Avdat

Property Value Units
Density 2555 kg./m3
Porosity 5 %
Dynamic Young's Modulus 54.2 Gpa
Dynamic Shear Modulus 20.4 Gpa
Dynamic Poisson's Ratio 0.33 unitless
Interface friction angle 35 degrees

Notes and Further Reading
References

Korzhenkov, A. and E. Mazor (1998). "Seismogenic Origin of the Ancient Avdat Ruins, Negev Desert, Israel." Natural Hazards 18: 193-226.

Korzhenkov, A. and E. Mazor (1999). "Structural reconstruction of seismic events: Ruins of ancient buildings as fossil seismographs." Science and New Technologies 1: 62-74.

Rodkin, M. V. and A. M. Korzhenkov (2018). Estimation of maximum mass velocity from macroseismic data: A new method and application to archeoseismological data. Geodesy and Geodynamics.

Fabian, P. (1998). Evidence of earthquakes destruction in the archaeological record–the case of ancient Avdat. Pp. 21E-26E in The Annual Meeting of the Israel Geological Society, Mitzpeh Ramon.

Erickson-Gini, T. (2014). "Oboda and the Nabateans." STRATA - Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 32.

Tali, E.-G. and I. Yigal (2013). "Excavating the Nabataean Incense Road." Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology & Heritage Studies 1(1): 24-53.

Erickson-Gini, T. (2000). Nabataean or Roman? Reconsidering the date of the camp at Avdat in light of recent excavations. XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Amman, Jordan.

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).

Negev, A. (1974). The Nabatean Potter's Workshop at Oboda, Habelt.

Goren, Y. and P. Fabian (2008). "The Oboda Potter's Workshop Reconsidered." Journal of Roman Archaeology 21.

Negev, A. (1997). "THE ARCHITECTURE OF OBODA: FINAL REPORT." Qedem 36: III-214..

Notes on the so-called Potter's Workshop

Russell (1985) cited archeoseismic evidence for the Incense Road Quake at Avdat citing Negev (1961:123,125) and Negev (1974:24) where Russell (1985) states

At Avdat, an imperial coin struck at Alexandria and tentatively identified as Trajanic was apparently found in association with the collapse of the potter's workshop (Negev, 1974:24).
Ambraseys (2009) supplied the following comments:
Negev argues instead that these destructions were caused by invading Safaitic and Thamudic hordes in the mid first century (Negev 1976), basing his thesis on the period of pottery debris found in a workshop at Oboda. This solution might seem preferable, since it is best not to assume an earthquake unless there is written evidence for it. However, apart from the complexity of the multiple dates of the pottery discovered by Negev (and the fact that later potters often imitated earlier styles), the appearance of a second-century coin among the pottery (Russell 1981, 8) seems to refute his thesis. Of course, this coin does not prove that Oboda was destroyed by an earthquake; it merely shows that Negev has made a mistake. What may suggest an earthquake is the sheer severity and extent of the destruction. Russell believes that neither a Roman annexation of the territory nor sacking by Safaitic or Thamudic hordes could, in any case, have done so much damage.
Negev (1976:229) states
Several years ago I suggested, on account of the results of the excavations at Oboda, a new chronological division for the archaeological history of the Nabateans in the central Negev, based on three phases, focusing at that time my attention on what I named the Middle Nabatean Period. The archaeological data indicated that this period, which began at the end of the reign of Obodas II, terminated abruptly during the generation following the death of Aretas IV, after the middle of the first century CE. I attributed the destruction of Oboda and several road stations along the Petra-Gaza road to attacks of Arab tribes who penetrated from Arabia, and left their imprints in the thousands of Safaitic and Thamudic graffiti in the central Negev, to the east of the Arabah, and also in northern Arabia itself.

The evidence on which I based this chronological scheme was purely archaeological — pottery and coins under a destruction layer, and on the basis of the finds in the Nabatean potter's workshop at Oboda 145 which all pointed to a break in the settlement of the central Negev sometime after the middle of the first century CE.
Goren and Fabian (2008) re-examined the so-called Potter's workshop at Avdat/Oboda and concluded that it was probably a 2nd to early 3rd century CE mill-bakery in the Roman Quarter of town. They noted, among other things, that the original excavations by Negev of the "Potter's workshop" were in unstratified deposits, had coins dating from Hellenistic to the 3rd-4th centuries CE, and geochemical and minerological analysis indicated that the pottery found there appeared to be imported rather than made locally. This suggests that Negev's original hypothesis that the so-called Potter's workshop at Avdat/Oboda showed a break in occupation in the 1st century CE due to invasion (as Negev suggested) or an earthquake (as Russell (1985) proposed) is not supported by the evidence.

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.
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.

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 ?".

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.

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).

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
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.

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.

Moje Awad
Moje Awad Fig 3

Aerial view of the Hellenistic Nabataean fort (Area B) at Moyat ‘Awad located in the western Arabah. (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Moje Awad
Moyat ‘Awad
Moa
Introduction

Moje Awad, located ~40 km. northwest of Petra, was founded by the Nabateans in the 2nd-3rd centuries BCE (Cohen, 1982) as the first station in the western Arabah outside of Petra (Erickson-Gini and Israel, 2013). The site continued to exist into the 3rd century CE and was abandoned sometime after 222 CE (Erickson-Gini and Israel, 2013). Cohen identified the site as Moa on the Madaba map but this identification was probably incorrect because Moje Awad had been abandoned by the time the Madaba Map was produced and a proposal by Alt (1935) that Moa was Bir Madhkur appears to be vindicated (Erickson-Gini and Israel, 2013). Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) listed structures in Moje Awad as follows: Chronology

Cohen (1982) excavated the site in 1981. Moje Awad produced a rich set of preserved artefactual remains which allowed for a confident dating of the three building phases encountered in most of the rooms by Cohen (1982). Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) re-examined Cohen's excavation, added additional chronological information, and found archaeoseismic evidence for an early 2nd century CE earthquake..
Phasing

Phase Period Approximate Dates Comments
Initial Hellenistic 3rd - 2nd centuries BCE Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)
Coins and artifacts discovered over the bedrock inside the fort point to its construction and occupation sometime in the third century BCE.
The caravanserai was probably built towards the end of the reign of Aretas IV (9 BCE – 40 CE).

Cohen (1982)
The earliest contained pottery, including Hellenistic oil lamps and juglets belonging to the 2nd-3rd centuries B.C.E. and coins from the reign of Ptolemy III
Middle Early Roman 2nd century BCE - 1st century CE Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)
In the Early Roman period, the fort continued to be occupied even after the construction of a 40 x 40 m caravanserai in Area A

Cohen (1982)
The plentiful pottery from the middle phase can be dated to the end of the 1st century c.E. and features painted Nabatean bowls, oil lamps, jugs, juglets, cooking pots, and storage jars; there were also Nabatean coins from the reigns of Aretas II (103 BCE – 96 BCE), Aretas IV (9 BCE – 40 CE), and Rabbel II (70 – 106 CE).
Final Late Roman 2nd - 3rd centuries CE Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)
the great majority of the finds from inside the fort and its ancillary rooms date to the latest phase of its occupation in the Late Roman, post-annexation phase, the latest coins of which date to the reign of Elagabalus (219–222 CE)
Coins of Emperor Elagabalus, uncovered in the fort, show that it was abandoned sometime after 222 CE

Cohen (1982)
The many ceramic vessels of the final phase included bowls, oil lamps, and flasks, of 2nd-3rd century c.E. vintage. There were also coins of the Roman emperors Trajan (98 – 117 CE), Commodus (161 – 192 CE), and Caracalla (188 – 217 CE)

End of Early Roman Phase earthquake - early 2nd century CE

  • Plan of the site of Moje Awad from Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)
Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) discussed the early 2nd century earthquake at Moje Awad as follows:
The Early Roman phase of occupation in the site ended with extensive damage caused by an earthquake that took place shortly before the Roman annexation of the region in 106 CE ( Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini, 2003). The building in Area C and the kiln works were destroyed, and the cave dwellings were apparently abandoned as well. Reconstruction was required in parts of the fort. At this time, deposition from its floors was removed and thrown outside of the fort and a new bath as well as heating were constructed in its interior. Along its eastern exterior and lower slope, rooms were added.
No photos of destruction were supplied and it is unclear if earthquake destruction was inferred from rebuilding evidence or if actual damaged structures were observed. Likewise, it is not clear how Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) dated this earthquake to shortly before Roman annexation in 106 CE. If the pre 106 CE date is based on rebuilding evidence, it would seem that the earthquake is dated no more precisely than early second century CE.

Seismic Effects
End of Early Roman Phase earthquake - early 2nd century CE

Seismic Effects from Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) are listed below:

  • extensive damage
  • The building in Area C and the kiln works were destroyed
  • the cave dwellings were apparently abandoned as well

Intensity Estimates
End of Early Roman Phase earthquake - early 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls The building in Area C and the kiln works were destroyed (Erickson-Gini and Israel, 2013) 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

Sha'ar Ramon

Moje Awad Fig 8

Aerial view of the Nabataean caravanserai of Sha'ar Ramon located on the eastern edge of the Ramon Crater. (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013)


Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Shdar Ramon
Sha'ar Ramon
Mesad Sha'ar Ramon
Qasr el-Mahalle
Moahila
'En Saharonim
Introduction

Sha'ar Ramon contains the remains of a Nabataean caravanserai built in the Early Roman period which was occupied until some time in the 3rd century CE. The site was then reoccupied at the end of the 3rd century CE as part of a Roman military buildup in the region. Chronology
Phasing

Cohen (1982:244) identified two building phases in most of the rooms at Sha'ar Ramon with the earlier phase containing artifacts of the 1st century CE: painted Nabataean bowls, jugs, juglets, and oil lamps and Nabataean coins from the reigns of Aretas IV [9 BCE - 40 CE] and Rabel II [70-106 CE]. Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013:39-41) estimate that during this initial phase, the caravanserai at Sha'ar Ramon was constructed in the Early Roman period. Cohen (1982:244) identified a 2nd phase which contained ceramic remains from the 2nd-3rd centuries CE including bowls, jugs, jars, and oil lamps as well as coins from the Roman Emperors Antonius Pius [138-161 CE], Commodius [176-192 CE], and Caracalla [198-217 CE]. Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013:39-41) report an additional later phase when the site was re-occupied at the end of the 3rd century CE during the reign of Diocletian [284-305 CE].

Like other sites along the Incense Road, Sha'ar Ramon was abandoned sometime after 222 CE and assemblages of whole Nabataean fine ware vessels of the post-annexation period were discovered in some of the rooms. Unlike the sites at Moyat Awad and Nahal Neqarot, which were never again occupied after the third century CE, some of the rooms in the Sha'ar Ramon caravanserai were reoccupied towards the end of the third century CE.
...
The reoccupation of part of the structure in this period coincides with the construction of Diocletian's army camp in nearby Oboda as well as the construction of the military bathhouse, and two towers that guarded the town (Erickson-Gini 2002; 2010: 17-19, 88-91).

Early 2nd century CE earthquake

Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013:41-42) report that evidence was found for an early 2nd century CE earthquake at Sha'ar Ramon perhaps based on rebuilding evidence as they state that there is ample evidence of the immediate reconstruction of buildings at Moyat Awad, Sha'ar Ramon, and Horvat Dafit.

Notes and Further Reading
References

Nabataean Fort at Ein Rahel

Introduction

Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) report that the fort at Ein Rahel was first constructed and occupied in the 3rd century BCE followed by a hiatus in occupation from ~100 BCE until the early first century CE after which it was re-occupied. The fort was then, according to the authors, re-abandoned in the early second century CE. The abandonment came after the fort's destruction due to what the authors beleive was a seismic event.

Chronology
Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) describe archeoseismic evidence for an early second century CE earthquake as follows:

In the surrounding casemate rooms the latest occupational phase (dating to the early 2nd cent. A.D.) was sealed by the collapse of the upper floor of the fort. Sections excavated in these rooms revealed clear collapse of the ceiling of the lower floor and the upper floor debris sealed by the upper floor roof. The ceiling and roof of the structure were made from woven organic matting and mud and were supported by wooden beams.

A rich ceramic assemblage was discovered in the fort as well as extensive organic finds and included reed-matting and wooden beams, almond shells, nuts and olive and dates stones. Several wooden lice combs and other wooden objects were found in excellent condition, as well as many shreds of textiles and leather. Two camel bones were found bearing inscriptions in black ink in the Nabataean script.
Shamir (1999) examined the textiles, basketry and cordage and reported that
Preserved by the arid climate, the perishables from `En Rahel include about 300 textile and basketry fragments, cordage, spindle whorls and needles. The Early Roman date of the material, provided by its archaeological context, differs slightly from its radiocarbon dating [1] (Carmi and Segal 1995:55).

[1] In the fall of 1991, a brown goat-hair textile fragment from L13, Basket 129 was submitted to I. Carmi and D. Segal at the 14C laboratory of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in order to verify the archaeological conclusions. Their results suggest the fabric was manufactured in the Roman period:

Sample d14C d13C yrs BP* Calendaric Age**
RT-1596 -209.2 ± 3.9 -15.95 1885 ± 40 82-204 CE
* Conventional radiocarbon years before 1950.
** Calculated using CALIB 3 (Stuiver and Reimer 1993).


Note by Jefferson Williams : The calendaric age reported in Carmi and Segal 1995:55 is a bit different (and earlier)

Sample d14C d13C yrs BP* Calendaric Age**
RT-1596 -209.2 ± 3.9 -15.95 1885 ± 40 66-145 CE (87%), 165-186 CE (13%)
* Conventional radiocarbon years before 1950.
** Calculated using CALIB 3 (Stuiver and Reimer 1993).


Seismic Effects
Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) list the following seismic effects:

  • inclination of walls
  • collapse of walls (upper floor collapsed)
  • collapse of lintels
  • roof collapse
Detailed discussion of some of these effects are shown in the table below:
Seismic Effect Plan Figure(s) Comments
The Inclination of Building Elements 8 Earthquake events that have occurred in other parts of the world have produced a large number of structural elements that were found to be preferentially inclined toward the epicenter. However, in some cases the inclination was in the opposing direction. Similar destruction features were found in the ancient fort at Ein Rahel where preferentially inclined walls were observed (see Fig. 5 - Plan).

As seen in Fig. 8, the eastern wall in Room 13 (see Fig. 5 - Plan), oriented N16°, inclines to the east. In contrast the perpendicular walls are slightly inclined to the north and south with no preferential direction. This would indicate that the seismic shock arrived approximately from an E-W direction with the wall oriented roughly normal to the seismic wave direction was inclined, whereas walls oriented parallel to the seismic waves lost support and were tilted on both sides.
The Collapse of Door Lintels 9
10
Collapsed door lintels found in the ruins of the Ein Rahel fort exhibited an oriented collapse. The seismic wave approaching the lintel perpendicular to its orientation caused an oriented collapse which can be recognized by a significant shift of the collapsed lintel on the ground in relation to its original position (Fig. 9. 10). Thus the lintel above the entrance to Room 10 (see Fig. 5 - Plan) was thrown eastwards (Fig. 9). The door lintel located between Rooms 20 and 9 was thrown southwards (Fig. 10) and was broke upon impact. These observations would indicate that the propagation of the seismic waves causing the destruction was from the SE.

Archaeoseismic Analysis
Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) provided the following analysis:

Studies of destruction in Ein Rahel fort also reveal a systematic nature of dislocations (see Fig.5 ):
  1. NS-trending walls revealed tilt (see Fig. 8 ) and collapse toward east, whereas perpendicular trending walls tilted and failed down without a noticeable systematic pattern. These observations indicate that the seismic shock arrived approximately along the east-west axis, most probably from the east.
  2. The door lintel on the N-S trending wall was thrown eastward (see Fig. 9 ), but the lintel on the E-W trending wall was thrown southward (see Fig. 10 ). This fact indicates that the propagation of the seismic energy was along the SE-NW axis, making it likely that the seismic waves came from the SE direction.
Thus, the epicenter was located somewhere ESE or WNW of Ein Rahel. The strong degree of destruction at the fort indicates that the epicenter was located in the vicinity of the site. Absence of systematically rotated building elements did not allow us to precisely locate the source of seismic waves. A WNW source could bring about the collapse of the fort along the western shoulder of the Dead Sea Rift, but the site is located just inside the zone of the Western shoulder fault. The occurrence of an earthquake in this area would not create a systematic picture of deformation. In the case of the fort at Ein Rahel the epicenter was apparently located along the Dead Sea Transform, located several kilometers ESE (~125°) of Ein Rahel. The degree of destruction found in the fort corresponds to an earthquake intensity of I = VIII–IX (MSK-64 scale).

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd Century CE Earthquake

Effect Location Intensity Comments
Tilted Walls VI +
Collapsed Walls VIII +
This archaeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224),
Earthquake Parameters from Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003)

Korzhenkov and Erickson-Gini (2003) hypothesize that the epicenter of the causative earthquake was located in the vicinity of the site either to the WNW or ESE (~125 degrees). The proximity of the Arava Fault led them to consider ESE more likely. They estimated a local seismic intensity of VIII–IX.

Mezad Mahmal

Introduction

Erickson-Gini (2011) describes this site as follows:
The site is located along the northern cliff of the Ramon Crater, above the ancient of pass of Ma‘ale Mahmal (Naqb el-Mahamla; Fig. 1), which was part of the ancient Petra–Gaza road (the Incense Road) established by the Nabataeans in the early first century CE. It was later taken over by the Romans in 106 CE with the annexation of the Nabataean kingdom. A small fort (6.5 × 7.0 m; Fig. 2) overlooking the pass (Ma‘ale Mahmal) was discovered at the site by Kirk in 1937 (Kirk G.E. 1938. Exploration in the Southern Desert. PEQ 70:211–235).
Chronology
General Chronology

Erickson-Gini (2011) described chronology of the site as follows:

A recent analysis of the pottery and coins from the fort by the writer indicated that the fort was built in the Late Roman period, in the later part of the second century CE (Severan period) and was occupied until the early third century CE. It was subsequently reoccupied in the Early Byzantine period, with the construction of the army camp at nearby Oboda under Diocletian and the reoccupation of Sha‘ar Ramon in that period (Erickson-Gini T. 2007. The Nabataean Roman Negev in the Third Century CE. In S.A. Lewin and P. Pellegrini, eds. The Late Roman Army in the Near East from Diocletian to the Arab Conquest [BAR Int. Ser. 1717]. Oxford. Pp. 91–100).
...
earlier remains appear to belong to an Early Roman Nabataean caravan station destroyed in the early second century CE by an earthquake.

Early 2nd century CE earthquake

Erickson-Gini (2011) excavated 6 meters west of the fort and found remains which appear to belong to an Early Roman Nabataean caravan station destroyed in the early second century CE by an earthquake. They described what they found as follows:
Pottery found in the excavation of the building shows that it was founded in the mid-first century CE and continued to be used until sometime in the early second century CE, when it was evidently destroyed in an earthquake (Fig. 7 ). Wall 1 appears to have collapsed northward (Fig. 8 ) and the remains of a cooking pot (Fig. 10:8) in L601, next to the tabun (F-1), had broke and was partially spread eastward next to the interior of W1. Tabun F-1 contained small rocks and a number of potsherds, including an early type of a Gaza wine jar (Fig. 10:11) that is dated to the first–third centuries CE. Other diagnostic potsherds included parts of Nabataean painted ware bowls (Fig. 9:1–8), an Eastern Sigilatta ware bowl (Fig. 10:1), undecorated cups and bowls (Fig. 10:2–5, 7), Nabataean rouletted ware (Fig. 10:6), Nabataean cooking pot (Fig. 10:9), Roman carinated cooking pot (Fig. 10:10), jars (Fig. 10:12, 13), Nabataean strainer jugs (Fig. 10:14, 15) and a fragment of a Roman lamp with a decorated discus (Fig. 10:16).

Visual investigation of the area north of the early structure shows traces of possible wall lines and other rooms. However, no plan of this structure can be determined without carrying out further excavations. It may be assumed, on the basis of the 2004 excavation, that rooms were situated around an open courtyard. The structure was badly damaged by an earthquake and appears to have been stripped of masonry stones nearly to its foundation.
...
In addition to excavations in the early building, the exterior sides of the Roman fort along the eastern, northern and part of the western side, were excavated to facilitate restoration work on the structure (L101/L102, L103, L201 and L801). A deep probe along the northeastern corner of the structure (L103) was excavated down to bedrock. In the foundation trench near bedrock a diagnostic fragment of a Late Roman-Nabataean debased painted ware bowl (Fig. 9:9) was found. The structure showed signs of earthquake damage along its northern wall (L201) and the center of this wall had collapsed northward. A section of collapse at this point of the wall was preserved and left unexcavated.

The current excavation confirmed the discovery that the Mezad Mahmal fort is a Roman and not a Nabataean fort, as has generally been assumed. The fort was constructed in the later half of the second century CE in the Late Roman period. It appears to belong to a Roman military initiative of constructing tower forts in the Severan period elsewhere along the Petra–Gaza road, such as the fort of Horbat Qazra and Mezad Neqarot. Other forts of this type and period are known at Horbat Haluqim (‘Atiqot 11 [ES]:34–50) and Horbat Dafit (ESI 3:16–17). The primary discovery in this season was the remains of the Nabataean caravan station of the first century CE, situated at the head of the pass. This structure, which apparently contained a number of rooms located around a central courtyard, was destroyed in a seismic event in the early second century CE and subsequently, was probably abandoned.

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd century CE earthquake

Seismic Effects from Erickson-Gini (2011) include
  • Wall 1 appears to have collapsed northward (Fig. 8 )
  • the remains of a cooking pot (Fig. 10:8) in L601, next to the tabun (F-1), had broke and was partially spread eastward
  • The structure was badly damaged by an earthquake and appears to have been stripped of masonry stones nearly to its foundation.
  • The structure showed signs of earthquake damage along its northern wall (L201) and the center of this wall had collapsed northward.

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls Wall 1 appears to have collapsed northward (Fig. 8 ) VIII+
Collapsed Walls The structure showed signs of earthquake damage along its northern wall (L201) and the center of this wall had collapsed northward. 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) .

Hellenistic-Nabataean Fort 'En Ziq

Erickson-Gini (2012) report that at the site of ’En Ziq in the Nahal Zin basin near Sde Boker, the same early 2nd century earthquake which destroyed the Nabatean Fort at Ein Rahel also destroyed the Nabatean Hellenistic fortress at 'En Ziq.

Horbat Hazaza

Introduction

Erickson-Gini, T. (2019) describes the site as follows:
[Horbat Hazaza] is located 2.5 km northeast of the Haluqim Junction near Kibbutz Sede Boqer (map ref. 183376/534142) and [is] situated on a low hilltop overlooking the modern Sede Boqer—Yeroham Road 204 on the west and Nahal Ha-Ro`a and Nahal Hazaz on the east. The site was established next to an ancient track linking the Oboda/Sede Boqer region with the Nabatean site of Mampsis in the Classical period.
Chronology
Phasing

Erickson-Gini, T. (2019) excavated the site in August 2001 and discerned 3 occupational phases

Phase Start Date
Centuries CE
End Date
Centuries CE
Description
1 2nd half of 1st Early 2nd This phase is Nabataean and may be dated to the Early Roman period (prior to the Roman annexation in 106 CE), i.e., the second half of the first through the early second centuries CE.
2 Early 2nd 3rd Phase 2 commenced when the north wing was restored and expanded following earthquake damage in the early second century CE and corresponds with the second, post-annexation phase of occupation (post-106 CE). Domestic use of the courtyard (Room 30) appears to indicate that the structure ceased to function as a temple sometime during the second century CE. This phase extends primarily through the second and third centuries CE.
3 4th - mid 5th Phase 3 is represented by a minor amount of material in one corner of the courtyard (Room 30) as late as the Early Byzantine period (fourth to mid-fifth centuries CE).

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Erickson-Gini (2019) reports fallen arches in the South Wing:
The new evidence from the 2001 excavations at the site indicates that it was established in the mid-first century CE, during Nabatean rule over the area. The material discovered in the south wing, together with evidence of the fallen arches in Room 2, point to its destruction and subsequent abandonment of the south wing sometime in the early second century CE, after which it may have been stripped of its building stones. In contrast, the north wing was rebuilt and continued to be partially occupied well into the post-annexation period (Phase 2; second—third centuries CE) and early Byzantine period (Phase 3; fourth—mid-fifth centuries CE).

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Fallen Arches South Wing 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) .

Notes and Further Reading
References

'En Yotvata

Names
Transliterated Name Source Name
Yotvata Hebrew יׇטְבָתָה
Iutfata Arabic يوتفاتا
Ein Ghadian Arabic يين عهاديان
Introduction

Yotvata is located in a small oasis about 40 km. north of Eilat. The modern name Yotvata is based on Jotbathah, one of the stops of the Israelites in the journey of the Exodus (Deuteronomy 10:7 and Numbers 33:33-34). There is as yet no proof for this identification (Zeev Meshel in Stern et al, 1993). Due Yotvata's water source and location at a crossroad, it has been settled during different periods although although there is no mound or multiperiod central site (Zeev Meshel in Stern et al, 1993). Sites are located in different places. Zeev Meshel in Stern et al (1993) divided remains at the site into 4 different types Zeev Meshel in Stern et al (1993) reports that the settlements excavated so far date to the following periods:
  1. Chalcolithic
  2. the Early and Middle Bronze Ages
  3. The beginning of the Iron Age
  4. Nabatean
  5. Roman
  6. Early Arab
Zeev Meshel in Stern et al (1993) relates that the sites from the last four periods were probably fortresses or way stations.

Chronology
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Erickson-Gini (2012a) report archaeoseismic evidence in a Nabatean structure at 'En Yotvata

Three walls of a structure (W1–W3; Fig. 4) were revealed during the 2005 season. The walls were constructed from hard limestone blocks (average size 0.25×0.35 m). The only complete wall was W2 in the west, oriented north–south (length 12.5 m), which was preserved to at least two courses high above the surface. A possible entrance is indicated along this wall, slightly west of its center. The other two walls appear to have been of the same length. The structure had entirely collapsed in the earthquake of the early second century CE.
...
The structure, which was apparently a two-story building, appears to have been stripped for building stones, probably after the earthquake destruction. In the collapse of the upper storey (L100, L500, L600), potsherds dating to Late Hellenistic period were discovered, including painted fine-ware bowls (Fig. 5:1, 3, 4), a bowl of the fish-plate tradition (Fig. 5:9), as well as painted fine-ware bowls of the Early Roman period (Fig. 5:5–7). Large fragments of a fine-ware painted bowl of the second half of the first century CE were discovered, in situ, in the middle of the building (L100; Fig. 5:8).
...
A group of collapsed stone ceiling slabs (F2), standing nearly upright, was uncovered in the middle of the L601 square (Fig. 8 )
...
The building was apparently destroyed in an earthquake in the early second century CE. Evidence of this disaster could be seen in the collapsed upper floor in both squares, the collapsed ceiling slabs and in the collapse of the structure’s exterior walls. In addition, parts of the same Nabataean Aqaba Ware jar, found in the last season, were discovered deep in L502, somewhere above the surface of the lower floor. The coins recovered from the debris of the upper floor are Nabataean coins of the first century CE. The pottery assemblage includes forms of the earliest Nabataean painted wares of the Late Hellenistic period, Nabataean painted ware bowls of the Early Roman period, and plain ware Nabataean vessels, spanning the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. The latest datable pottery vessels discovered in the structure are the Nabataean Aqaba Ware jars, dated to the early second century CE.

Seismic Effects
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Seismic Effects include

  • Collapsed upper floor
  • Collapsed ceiling slabs
  • Collapsed exterior walls
The only complete wall (W2) was oriented N-S.

Intensity Estimates
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls 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

Rujm Taba

Introduction

Rujm Taba is located in the Wadi Arabah valley ~42 km. north-east of Aqaba and 4 km. south of the village of Rahma ( Dolinka, 2006a). The regional water source known as 'Ain Taba lies along the road ~ 3.5 km. to the south. In antiquity, the site served as a way station on the major Nabataean route that ran northward along the eastern escarpment of Wadi Arabah from Aila (modern Aqaba) to the southeast coast of the Dead Sea ( Dolinka, 2006a). Rujm Taba completely escaped the notice of the ancient Greek and Latin authors, who fail to mention it either directly or indirectly. ( Dolinka, 2006a)

Chronology
Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

Dolinka (2006a) reports the possibility of archaeoseismic evidence at Rujm Taba based on site delineation and surface collection performed in August 2001 and previous work such as SAAS.

the ceramic evidence gathered by RTAP suggests that both the village and the caravanserai at Rujm Taba flourished during the late first century AD, aptly demonstrated by the fact that half of the NPFW from the village and nearly half (48%) of the NPFW from Structure A001 are dated to Dekorphase 3b, or c. 70–100 AD. A high amount of activity at Rujm Taba during this period seems to call into question the notion repeated by many scholars (e.g. Bowersock 1983: 156) that the discovery of the monsoon winds in the mid-first century AD caused a major decline in the Nabataean overland caravan trade. Quite contrary, Rujm Taba seems to have thrived in an era of supposed economic deterioration.

Third, according to the RTAP ceramic repertoire there seems to have been a decline in activity and occupation at Rujm Taba during the early to mid-second century AD, an idea supported by the fact that numbers of NPFW drop off sharply during this period, with only 8% of the total pottery from Structure A001 and 15% of the total ceramics from the village dating from Zantur Dekorphase 3c. Whether or not this decline should be attributed to the Roman annexation of Nabataea in AD 106, or an earthquake that devastated the Rift Valley during the early second century AD, is still a matter of debate among scholars that could easily be resolved through stratified excavations at Nabataean sites, such as Rujm Taba, located along the major trade routes that were in use during the period in question.

Seismic Effects

None reported. Site was not excavated.

Notes and Further Reading
References

Horbat Dafit

Names

Transliterated Name Source Name
Horbat Dafit Hebrew הורבט דפיט
Horvat Dafit Hebrew הורבט דפיט
Horbat `Avrona
Khirbat ad Dafiya Arabic
Introduction

Horbat Dafit is located in the southern Arabah ~1.5 km. from the Ein Avrona spring. Dolinka (2006) examined the material evidence from excavations performed in the 1980's which were only lightly published. Dolinka (2006) reports that a caravanserai was constructed [at Horbat Dafit] in the 1st century AD and was continuously occupied until the 3rd century CE.

Chronology
Phasing

  • Dating Matrix of the structure at Horvat Dafit from Dolinka (2006)
Dolinka (2006)'s revised chronology, based on ceramics and/or numismatics, is shown below:
Phase Date Comments
3 late 2nd- early 3rd centuries CE
  • major renovation
  • Unfortunately, there were no coins found in either stratified Phase 3 loci or on the surface, so the presence of the `football' flask, the `Amr Type 9 lamp and the Johnson Form XII ungientarium represent the only datable evidence from Phase 3. (Dolinka, 2006:155)
    • Of particular importance for the dating of Phase 3 at Horvat Dafit, was a nearly complete flask (Fig. 4.35), found in Locus 01. Theses vessels are referred to as `football flasks' because of their unique shape, and have been found exclusively in early-3rd century AD contexts at Moa (Erickson-Gini 2005: 51-52, fig. 3.20.12), the pantry at Oboda (Erickson-Gini 2004: 288, fig. 2.39), Shiqmona (Elgavish 1977: pl. II:13) and Mesad Neyarot (T. Erickson-Gini: pers. comm.). (Dolinka, 2006:153)
    • Another significant find from Phase 3 that confirms its date in the late-2nd to early-3rd century is represented by a Nabataean rounded lamp (Fig. 4.36) ... The form corresponds to `Amr Type 9 (`Amr 1987: Pls. 16-17 nos. PL34-35) (Dolinka, 2006:153-154)
    • A final well-dated ceramic specimen found at Horvat Dafit, in the Phase 3 courtyard (Locus 13, Basket 83) is a Nabataean piriform unguentarium (Fig. 4.37) that conforms to Johnson's Form XII (Johnson 1987: 66-67; 1990: 238-239, Fig. 4). These vessels were produced in great quantities during the Severan period, and are attested in the uppermost strata from Room 6 at Oboda, dated to the late-2nd/early-3rd century AD (Erickson-Gini 2004: 286, fig. 2.38). (Dolinka, 2006:154)
2 2nd-3rd centuries CE
1 1st century CE
  • initial construction
  • ended with a presumed early 2nd century CE earthquake
  • dating based only on numismatics (Dolinka, 2006:150)

End of Phase 1 Earthquake - early 2nd century CE

  • Plan of Phase 1 structure from Dolinka (2006)
  • Plan of Phase 2 structure from Dolinka (2006)
  • Plan of Phase 3 structure from Dolinka (2006)
Dolinka (2006:130) reports that Phase 1 ended with the earthquake of the early-2nd century AD, and several of the rooms within the structure exhibited collapse of the architectural elements as well as ashy layers associated with that event. Dolinka (2006:135-136) further reports that the earliest levels of [phase 2] are characterized by mudbrick collapse and/or building debris (e.g. Locus 46), cleaning of the interior of some of the rooms (e.g. Loci 23. 26 and 50), repair to damaged walls (e.g. Locus 45), and reconstruction of the main entrance and gate (Locus 27). The site appears to be well dated except for in some loci. Dolinka (2006:155) noted a difficulty in discerning the division between Phases 1 and 2 in some loci which, it was suggested, was due to activities associated with the reconstruction of the gate after the earthquake, which likely disturbed the floor levels from those loci.

Seismic Effects
End of Phase 1 Earthquake - early 2nd century CE

Seismic effects from Dolinka (2006) include

Source Description
Dolinka (2006:130) several of the rooms within the structure exhibited collapse of the architectural elements as well as ashy layers associated with that event.
Dolinka (2006:135-136) the earliest levels of [phase 2] are characterized by mudbrick collapse and/or building debris (e.g. Locus 46), cleaning of the interior of some of the rooms (e.g. Loci 23. 26 and 50), repair to damaged walls (e.g. Locus 45), and reconstruction of the main entrance and gate (Locus 27).

Intensity Estimates
End of Phase 1 Earthquake - early 2nd century CE

Effect Description Intensity
Collapsed Walls several of the rooms within the structure exhibited collapse of the architectural elements as well as ashy layers associated with that event. (Dolinka, 2006:130) VIII+
Collapsed Walls the earliest levels of [phase 2] are characterized by mudbrick collapse (e.g. Locus 46) (Dolinka, 2006:135-136) VIII+
Displaced Walls the earliest levels of [phase 2] are characterized by ... repair to damaged walls (e.g. Locus 45) (Dolinka, 2006:135-136) VII+
Displaced Walls the earliest levels of [phase 2] are characterized by ... reconstruction of the main entrance and gate (Locus 27) (Dolinka, 2006:135-136) 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) .

Notes and Further Reading
References

Other sites in the Negev

Notes on other sites in the Negev

Summary of Sites still needing examination

  • Nahal Neqarot - contradicting statements by Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) vs. Erickson-Gini (2012a)
  • Ma‘ale Mahmal - contradicting statements by Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) vs. Erickson-Gini (2012a)
  • Mahmal Pass - Is this Ein Rahel ? Erickson-Gini references (Korjenkov and Erickson-Gini 2003; Erickson-Gini 2011)
Erickson-Gini and Israel (2013) noted that:
Evidence of an early second-century CE earthquake is found at other sites along the Incense Road at Nahal Neqarot, Sha'ar Ramon, and particularly at the head of the Mahmal Pass where an Early Roman Nabataean structure collapsed (Korjenkov and Erickson-Gini 2003; Erickson-Gini 2011). There is ample evidence of the immediate reconstruction of buildings at Moyat ‘Awad, Sha'ar Ramon, and Horvat Dafit. However, this does not seem to be the case with the Mahmal and Neqarot sites.
Erickson-Gini (2012a) supplied the following regarding evidence at for an early 2nd century CE earthquake
Although unreported in historical sources, a growing body of archaeological evidence points to widespread earthquake destruction in several Nabataean sites in southern Jordan and the Negev, including
  • Petra (Kolb B. 2002. Excavating a Nabataean Mansion. NEA 65/4:206–261)
  • Khirbat Tannur (Khirbet et-Tannur. NEAEHL 4, p. 1444. Jerusalem)
  • Aqaba (Dolinka, B.J. 2003. Nabataean Aqaba from a Ceramic Perspective: Local and Intra-Regional Trade in Aqaba Ware during the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD [Bar Int. Ser. 1116]. Oxford)
  • Horbat Dafit (Dolinka B.J. 2006. Arabia Adquistita? Ceramic Evidence for Nabataean Cultural Continuity during the Antonine and Severan Periods: The Aqaba Ware from Horvat Dafit. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Liverpool)
  • Moyat ‘Awad
  • Nahal Neqarot
  • Sha‘ar Ramon
  • Ma‘ale Mahmal
  • Oboda
  • Mampsis
  • Horbat Hazaza (Erickson-Gini T. 2010. Nabataean Settlement and Self-Organized Economy in the Central Negev [Bar Int. Ser. 2054]. Oxford).

Tsunamogenic Evidence

Caesarea

Caesarea Tsunamites
Fig. 4. Dip and strike CHIRP profiles (see Fig. 3), from which sample segments “a” and “b” have been enlarged for comparison with previously identified sediment core and underwater excavation stratigraphic compilations within the surveyed area (Reinhardt et al., 2006; Reinhardt and Raban, 2008; Goodman-Tchernov et al., 2009). Three horizons, representing four tsunami events, are recognizable from the available core evidence within the surveyed area (for core locations, see Fig. 1C). Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015)


Although Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015) and earlier researchers associated a 1st - 2nd century CE tsunamite deposit from offshore Caesarea with the Trajan quake of ~115 AD, we consider this association unlikely. Salamon et al (2011) noted that the presence of a tsunami far south of the supposed epicenter of the Trajan Quake does not fit the usual pattern of tsunamis on the Israeli coast where most tsunamis which hit the coast were generated by ruptures more or less opposite to the coast (e.g. from the Cypriot and Hellenic Arcs). While Salamon et. al. (2011) suggested a storm surge as a possibility, the work of Goodman-Tchernov and Austin (2015) and earlier publications appears to preclude this as they used a host of indicators to seperate storm surge deposits from tsunamite deposits. We propose that an offshore shelf collapse potentially due to the Incense Road Earthquake of ~110 - ~114 AD as a more likely cause.



UNDER CONSTRUCTION - javascript will be implemented in the coming months to allow user to perform these calculations utilizing intensity maps from ARCGIS Dashboard (also under construction although an early version is online).

Some simple calculations are performed below to see if the Incense Road Earthquake could have produced the tsunamogenic deposits in Caesarea due to a localized offshore shelf failure.

1. Intensity estimates at Nahal Ze 'elim due to the 5 cm. thick brecciated seimsite associated with Incense Road Quake at Nahal Ze 'elim (ZA-2) are

Intensity Equation
8.9 Lu et al (2020) - no site effect considered
8.7 Williams (2004) - no site effect considered
8.2 Lu et al (2020) - with site effect based on VS30
8.1 Williams (2004) - with site effect based on VS30


Estimated Intensity at Nahal Ze 'elim = VIII (8) which corresponds to a ahmax (aka PGA) of 0.34-0.65 g based on this table

2. Magnitude from fault distance and ahmax

Determine fault distance from location to nearest or most likely earthquake producing fault

Fault distance = 13 km.
Enter ahmax = 0.31 g
Magnitude = 7.5

3. Fault break length based on magnitude (Wells and Coppersmith, 1994)

Magnitude = 7.50
Fault Break = 124 km.

4. Compute ahmax base on Magnitude and distance to location - offshore Caesarea

Magnitude = 7.5
Distance (R) from fault break to shelf (~150 km.).
attenuation relationship of Hough and Avni to estimate peak horizontal ground acceleration at Caesarea. Include site effect- slope combined with soft sediments.

Initial calculations led to a peak horizontal ground acceleration (ahmax) of 0.04 – 0.14 g offshore Caesarea without considering a site effect. 0.1 g is sufficient to cause a submarine landslide. Check Tsunami literature and Civil Engineering slope stability equations to refine this. There is an offshore slope break from Akhziv down to Gaza capable of generating tsunamis. Dey et al (2014) reports underwater slumps offshore from Palmachim and Akhziv which are located adjacent to the shelf slopes.

Paleoseismic Evidence

Location Status Intensity Notes
Dead Sea - Introduction & Summary n/a n/a
En Feshka no evidence
En Gedi good evidence 8-9 ~ 5 cm. thick - variable thickness - flowed during quake
based on field observations by JW. This may suggest a long duration of shaking.
Nahal Ze 'elim good evidence 8-9 5 cm. thick Type IV seismite
Taybeh Trench good evidence Event E4 - modeled ages from 14 BCE - 205 CE
Qatar Trench possible Event E6 - modeled ages from 9 BCE - 492 CE - other earthquakes possible


Dead Sea - Introduction & Summary

There appears to be a clear spatial pattern at play for an early second century earthquake with a 5 cm. thick seismite in the south (Nahal Ze ‘elim) and no seismites observed in the north (En Feshka). This, combined with paleoseismic evidence from the Arava (Taybeh Trench), indicates that this early second century CE earthquake was caused by a fault break on the Arava Fault; likely associated with the early second century CE Incense Road Earthquake.
Seismite Types

Seismite Types of Wetzler et al (2010) are used in Intensity Estimates. Seismite Types from Kagan et al (2011) were converted to those of Wetzler et al (2010) to estimate Intensity.

Seismite Types (Wetzler et al, 2010)
Type Description
1 Linear waves
2 Asymmetric Billows
3 Coherent vortices
4 Breccia
Seismite Types (Kagan et al, 2011)
Type
(Kagan)
Type
(Wetzler)
Description
A 4 Intraclast breccia layer
B 4 Microbreccia
C 4 Liquefied sand layer within brecciated clay and aragonite
D 1, 2, or 3 Folded laminae
E 1 Small Fault millimeter -scale throw

En Feshka
Kagan et. al. (2011) did not see any evidence for a seismite created around this time.

En Feshka Plots and Charts

Image Description Source
Age Model Kagan et al (2011)
Age Model - big Kagan et al (2011)
Age Model Kagan et al (2010)
Age Model - big Kagan et al (2010)

En Feshka Core (DSF) Photos

This core was taken in 1997 by GFZ/GSI

Image Description Image Description Image Description Image Description Image Description
Composite Core DSF
Sections B1-B5

0-499 cm.
Section B1

0-93 cm.
Section B2

100-197 cm.
Section B3

200-298 cm.
Section B4

300-396 cm.
Section B5

400-499 cm.

En Gedi (DSEn)
Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned two seismites at depths of 264 and 265 cm. (2.64 and 2.65 m) at En Gedi to earthquakes in 112 and 115 AD. The 112 AD date refers to the early second century CE Incense Road Earthquake and the 115 AD date refers to the Trajan Quake which was too far away to have created a Dead Sea seismite. During field work in January 2014 in the nearby En Gedi Trench, Williams saw evidence for a sizable earthquake around 112 +/- 8 AD which was probably created by the Incense Road Quake. Williams also observed two detachment planes in the Incense Road Quake seismite (use magnifying glass to see at high resolution) which might explain why Migowski, while doing microscope work on the En Gedi Core, identified two separate seismites from the same deformation event.

En Gedi Core (DSEn) Charts and Plots

Image Description Source
Floating Varve Chronology
and Radiocarbon dates
Migowski et al (2004)
Floating Varve Chronology
and Radiocarbon dates -large
Migowski et al (2004)
Migowski's Date shift Migowski (2001)
Recounted Age-depth plot Neugebauer at al (2015)
Recounted Age-depth plot - large Neugebauer at al (2015)
Correlated Age-depth plots
of DSEn and ICDP 5017-1
Neugebauer at al (2015)
Comparison of paleoclimate proxies
from DSEn to other sites
Neugebauer at al (2015)
Core correlation
DSEn to ICDP 5017-1
Neugebauer at al (2015)
Core correlation
DSEn to ICDP 5017-1 -big
Neugebauer at al (2015)
Thin Section of Jerusalem Quake
showing varve counts
shallow section
Williams et. al. (2012)
Thin Section of Jerusalem Quake
showing varve counts
deep section
Williams et. al. (2012)
Thin Section of Jerusalem Quake
showing varve counts
shallow section - big
Williams et. al. (2012)
Thin Section of Jerusalem Quake
showing varve counts
deep section - big
Williams et. al. (2012)

En Gedi Core dating ambiguities

The En Gedi Core (DsEn) suffered from a limited amount of dateable material and the radiocarbon dates for the core are insufficiently sampled in depth to produce an age-depth model that is sufficiently reliable for detailed historical earthquake work in the Dead Sea. Migowski (2001) counted laminae in the core to create a floating varve chronology for depths between 0.78 and 3.02 m which was eventually translated into a year by year chronology from 140 BCE to 1458 CE . The seismites in the "counted interval" were compared to dates in Earthquake Catalogs [Ambraseys et al (1994), Amiran et al (1994), Guidoboni et al (1994), Ben-Menahem (1991), and Russell (1985)]. Relatively minor additional input was also derived from other studies in the region which likely relied on similar catalogs. Some of these catalogs contain errors and a critical examination of where the dates and locations of historical earthquakes reported in these catalogs came from was not undertaken. Migowski (2001) shifted the dates from the under-sampled radiocarbon derived age-depth model to make the floating varve chronology in the "counted interval" match dates from the earthquake catalogs. Without the shift, the dates did not match. This shift was shown in Migowski (2001)'s dissertation and mostly varies from ~200-~300 years. The "counted interval" dates are ~200-~300 years younger than the radiocarbon dates. Some of Migowski's shift was justified. Ken-Tor et al (2001) estimated ~40 years for plant remains to die (and start the radiocarbon clock) and reach final deposition in Nahal Ze'elim. This could be a bit longer in the deep water En Gedi site but 5 to 7.5 times longer (200-300 years) seems excessive. Although uncritical use of Earthquake catalogs by Migowski (2001) and Migowski et al (2004) led to a number of incorrectly dated seismites , the major "anchor" earthquakes (e.g. 31 BC, 1212 CE) seem to be correct.

Neugebauer (2015) and Neugebauer at al (2015) recounted laminae from 2.1 - 4.35 meters in the En Gedi Core (DsEn) while also making a stratigraphic correlation to ICDP Core 5017-1. Nine 14C dates were used from 1.58 - 6.12 m but samples KIA9123 (inside the Late Bronze Beach Ridge) and KIA1160 (the 1st sample below the Late Bronze Beach Ridge) were discarded as outliers. These two samples gave dates approximately 400 years older than what was expected for the Late Bronze Age Beach Ridge - a date which is fairly well constrained from other studies in the Dead Sea. This left 7 samples distributed over ~4.5 m - an average of 1 sample every 0.65 meters - not a lot. Their DSEn varve count, anchored to an age-depth model derived from these 7 samples, produced an average shift of ~300 years compared to Migowski et al (2004)'s chronology (i.e. it is ~300 years older). Although two well dated earthquakes were available to use as time markers (the Josephus Quake of 31 BCE and the Amos Quake(s) of ~750 BCE), they chose not to use earthquakes as chronological anchors (Ina Neugebauer personal communication, 2015). Instead, they used the Late Bronze Age Beach Ridge as evidenced by discarding the two radiocarbon samples. Using the Beach Ridge as a chronological anchor was likely a good decision as the Late Bronze Age Beach ridge is fairly well dated. Their newly counted chronology produced a paleoclimate reconstruction that aligned fairly well with data from other locations . Although paleoclimate proxies are not necessarily synchronous and suffer from greater chronological uncertainty than, for example, well dated earthquakes, the problem with their recount for our purposes does not lie with their relatively good fit to other site's paleoclimate proxies. That is probably approximately correct. The problem is they calibrated their count to the bottom of their counted interval (Late Bronze Age Beach Ridge) but did not have a calibration marker for the top.

In the En Gedi core (DSEn), the Late Bronze Age Beach Ridge (Unit II of Neugebauer et al, 2015) is found from depths 4.35 to 4.55 m. It's top coincides with the bottom of the recounted interval - far away from the overlap (2.1 - 3.02 m) with Migowski's counted interval. Thus, if there were any problems with the recounted dates (e.g. hiatuses or accumulating systemic errors) as one moved to the top of the recounted interval, they would go unnoticed. Varve counts in the overlapped interval were fairly similar - 583 according to Migowski (2001) vs. 518 according to Neugebauer et al (2015). There wasn't a major discrepancy in terms of varve count interpretation. But, the lack of a calibration point near the top of the recounted interval leaves one wondering if the recounted dates in the overlap are accurate and why Migowski's pre-shifted chronology doesn't correlate well with the reliable parts of the earthquake record.

Neugebauer at al (2015:5) counted 1351 varves with an uncertainty of 7.5% (Neugebauer at al, 2015:8). That leads to an uncertainty of ~100 varves by the time one gets to the top of the recounted interval away from the Late Bronze Age Beach Ridge calibration point. The Beach Ridge itself likely has an uncertainty of +/- 75 years. Add the two together and the uncertainty approaches Migowski's shift. In addition, roughly 15% of the recounted interval went through intraclast breccias (seismites) where the varves were uncountable and the varve count was interpolated with a questionable multiplication factor of 1.61 applied to the interpolated varve count (Neugebauer at al, 2015:5). Migowski et al (2004) also interpolated through the intraclast breccias however in her case she used the interpolation to line up with events out of the Earthquake catalogs.

Unfortunately, Neugebauer at al (2015)'s study did not resolve the uncertainties associated with Migowski's varve counts. Both studies lack a sufficiently robust calibration over the entire depth interval. Dead Sea laminae are difficult to count. They are not nearly as "well-behaved" as they are in the older Lisan formation or in Glacial varves. This was illustrated by Lopez-Merino et al (2016). Their study, which used seasonal palynology to ground truth varve counts, showed that between 1 and 5 laminae couplets (ie varves) could be deposited in a year . This study, undertaken in Nahal Ze'elim, represents a worst case scenario. It is essentially impossible to count varves in Nahal Ze 'elim because the site receives too much fluvial deposition which muddies up the varve count (pun intended) compared to the deeper water site of En Gedi. While the conclusions from Lopez-Merino et al (2016) cannot be generalized to the entire Dead Sea, it does point out that Holocene Dead Sea varve counts need to be calibrated to be used in Historical Earthquake studies. The calibration can come through anchor events such as strong earthquakes and/or clearly defined and dated paleoclimate events, seasonal palynology work (determining the season each laminae was deposited in), and/or dense radiocarbon dating - much denser than what is available from the En Gedi core (DESn). There may also be geochemical ways to calibrate varve counts.

In 2018, Jefferson Williams collected ~55 samples of dateable material from an erosional gully in En Gedi (aka the En Gedi Trench) located ~40 m from where the En Gedi Core (DsEn) was taken in 1997 . This erosional gully was not present when the En Gedi core was taken. It developed afterwards due to the steady drop in the level of the Dead Sea which has lowered base levels and creates continually deeper erosional features on the lake margins. Due to cost, these samples have not yet been dated but lab analysis of this material should resolve dating ambiguities in En Gedi. The samples are well distributed in depth (68 - 303 cm. deep) and can be viewed here in the Outcrop Library. Radiocarbon from the En Gedi Core can be viewed here. In the Google sheets presented on the radiocarbon page for the En Gedi Core, Neugebauer's radiocarbon samples and a reconciliation table can be viewed by clicking on the tab labeled Nueg15.

En Gedi Core (DSEn) Photos

Core Depths were measured from surface. The core was taken about a meter above the Dead Sea level which was ~ -411 m in 1997. In 2011, Jefferson Williams measured the elevation of the surface where the En Gedi Core (DSEn) was taken using his GPS. The recorded elevation was -411 m however GPS is less accurate measuring elevation than it is for Lat. and Long. so this depth measurement should be considered approximate.

Image Description Image Description Image Description Image Description
Composite Core
Sections C1, A2, A3, A4

19-397 cm.
Litholog and
Composite Core

47-325 cm.
Litholog
Entire Core

-30 cm.-1022 cm.
Litholog
Legend
Section C1

19-114 cm.
Section A2

114-196 cm.
Section A3

200-296 cm.
Section A4

300-397 cm.
1458 CE Quake

65-80 cm.
1202, 1212, and 1293 CE Quakes

90-115 cm.
1033 CE Quake

131-143 cm.
Thin Section
A3_3_1a

259.7-269.9 cm.
Thin Section
A3_3_2

271.5-273.7 cm.
Thin Section
A3_3_3

273.5-283.5 cm.
Thin Section
A3_4_1

283.3-293.4 cm.
SEM Image
250x Magnification
Sample EG13

Nahal Ze ‘elim (Site ZA-2)
Kagan et al (2011) dated a 5 cm. thick Type 4 seismite at a depth of 445 cm. to 86-164 AD (1 σ) and assigned a date of 115 AD. The 115 AD date refers to the Trajan Quake which was too far away to have created a Dead Sea seismite so a correction has been made to associate this seismite with the early second century CE Incense Road Earthquake.

.
ZA-2

Image Description Source
Age Model Kagan et al (2011)
Age Model - big Kagan et al (2011)
Age Model with annotated dates Kagan (2011)
Age Model with annotated dates - big Kagan (2011)
Annotated Photo of ZA-3
ZA-3 = N wall of gully
ZA-2 = S wall of same gully
Kagan et al (2015)

Arava

On-site fault rupture suggests a minimum moment magnitude MW of 6.5 (Mcalpin, 2009:312).
Taybeh Trench
LeFevre et al. (2018) identified a seismic event (E4) in the Taybeh trench in the Arava which they modeled between 14 BC and 205 AD and associated with the early second century CE Incense Road Earthquake.

Taybeh Trench Earthquakes
Figure S5: Computed age model from OxCal v4.26 for the seismic events recorded in the trench. LeFevre et al. (2018)


Taybeh Trench

Image Description Source
Age Model Lefevre et al (2018)
Age Model - big Lefevre et al (2018)
Trench Log Lefevre et al (2018)
Annotated Trench photomosaic Lefevre et al (2018)
Stratigraphic Column Lefevre et al (2018)
Stratigraphic Column - big Lefevre et al (2018)

Qatar Trench
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. This large spread in age caused them to consider two possible earthquakes as the cause; the early second century CE Incense Road Earthquake and the southern Cyril Earthquake of 363 CE. They preferred the southern Cyril Earthquake of 363 CE based on weighing other evidence
noteArcheoseismic Evidence, Historical Reports, and Dead Sea Seismite Evidence.
not related to their paleoseismic study and noted that further investigation was required.

Qatar Trench

Image Description Source
Age Model Klinger et al (2015)
Age Model - big Klinger et al (2015)
Trench Log Klinger et al (2015)
Simplified Trench Log Klinger et al (2015)

Notes

Russell (1985) reports that Elias of Nisbis writing around 1019 AD in his book Chronographia has an earthquake report similar to the one reported by Eusebius. In a French translation of Chronographia (top of p. 57) we can read (converted to English)
An 438 - In that year there was an earthquake: Nicopolis and Caesarea were overthrown.
A.G. 438 comes from the Seleucid calendar and is often abbreviated as A.G.(Anno Graecorum). Russell(1985) relates that A.G. 438 corresponds to 126/7 AD. Chronographia in original Syriac can be found here.

Paleoclimate - Droughts

Footnotes

[1] A parasang is a Persian mile. There are differing accounts of the exact distance of a parasang. Karcz (2004) states that this is 4000 yards which is in approximate agreement with other estimates. Using the reckoning of Karcz (2004), 400 parasangs equals to 1463 km. Although 400 parasangs by 400 parasangs does seem like an impossible distance, this is not necessarily a reason to reject this account. The ancient sources frequently exaggerate when it come to numbers and this is particularly the case in religious/spiritual literature. In addition 400 parasangs may be a symbolic number and/or a euphemism for a wide area. 400 parasangs was also used in a Talmudic account to describe the extent of the Pig on the Wall Quake.

[2] The stationing of a Roman Garrison after the conquest of Masada is corroborated 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.
The next occupation of Masada after the earthquakes was a Byzantine settlement in the 5th century AD.

References