Temple to Allat at Wadi Ramm Temple to Allat at Wadi Ramm

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photo by Jefferson Williams


Transliterated Name Language Name
Er-Ram Nabatean
Iram Nabatean
Jebel er-Ram Arabic جيبيل يرءرام

Er-Ram in Wadi Ramm is not described in any extant texts and what little we know about it comes from inscriptions found on the site. These inscriptions indicate that the Temple was dedicated to the pre-Islamic Arabian Goddess Allat. (Avraham Negev in Stern et al, 1993)

Earthquake in the 1st or 2nd century CE

Temple to Allat Inscription from Temple to Allat

They key seismic discovery at the Temple to Allat is a Thamudic inscription discovered at the ruins on the site. The inscription may have been placed after the site was rebuilt due to earthquake damage. This may reflect be a pattern during this time when the Nabateans rebuilt their temples (e.g., The High Places at Petra, Khirbet Tannur, and the Temple to Allat in Wadi Ramm) soon after earthquakes damaged them. The inscription contains a fragment of a date: and this is written on the day/ . . . of Ab in the year 40 and . . . ,. ' Two alternatives were proposed for dating this inscription (Avi-Yonah, 1975)
  1. The inscription refers to the 41st or 45th year in the reign of Aretas IV; the only Nabatean King who ruled for more than 40 years (he ruled for 49 years - from 9 BCE – 40 CE). This would place the date of the inscription in ~32 or ~36 CE. If all the years between his 41st and 49th regnal years are considered, the inscription would date from ~32 – ~40 CE. No explicit reason was given why only the 41st and 45th years were considered.

  2. The date specifies the era of the Provincia Arabia which would date the inscription as follows:
    Year of Province Arabia Date Range Comments
    41 22 March 146 to 21 March 147 CE Calculated using CHRONOS
    45 22 March 150 to 21 March 151 CE Calculated using CHRONOS
    Again, no explicit reason was given why only the 41st and 45th years were considered. The full date range for the 41st to 49th years of Provincia Arabia is from 22 March 146 to 21 March 155 CE.
Because the excavators found no mention of Aretas IV’s surname (Philopatris) in the inscription, they favored the second date (Avi-Yonah, 1975).

Notes and Further Reading