Late neolithic cultural landscape in the Al-Jafr Basin, southern Jordan: a brief review in context


  • Sumio Fujii Kanazawa University, Japan



al-Jafr Basin, Late Neolithic, Khashm ‘Arfa, Jabal Juhayra, ‘Awja sites


Late neolithic cultural landscape in the Al-Jafr Basin, southern Jordan: a brief review in context

The Late Neolithic cultural landscape in southern Jordan waspoorly understood due to the deficiency of basic information. However, recent investigations are improving this situation. A good example is providedby the discovery of a Jericho IX pottery assemblage at Munqata’a near Tafileh, which offers a glimpse into the influence of an exotic culture onthe post-PPNB cultural landscape in southern Jordan. However, things are different in the al-Jafr Basin to the east, where a new adaptation strategy to cope with increasing aridification was sought within the context of the traditional PPNB outpost culture. The difference in cultural landscapes between the east and the west in this period ushers in the era of ‘the desertand the sown.’ In preparation for future comparative study, this paper briefly reviews past research outcomes in the basin and discusses the Late Neolithic cultural landscape at the arid margin of southern Jordan.


Avner U. 2002. Studies in the Material and Spiritual Culture of the Negev and Sinai Populations, during the 6th-3rd Millennia B.C. Ph. D. Thesis, Hebrew University. Jerusalem. Abu-Azizeh W., Tarawneh M., Abudanah F. and Al-Salameen A.

Variability within consistency: Cairns and funerary practices of the Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic in the al-Thulaythuwat area, southern Jordan. Levant 46/2, 161-185. DOI:

Bell G. L. 1907. The Desert and the Sown: The Syrian Adventures of the Female Lawrence of Arabia. London.

Betts A. V. G., Cropper D., Martin L. and McCartney C. 2013. The Late Prehistory of the Badia: Excavations and Surveys in Eastern Jordan, vol. 2. Oxford.

Eddy F. W. and Wendorf F. 1999. An Archaeological Investigation of the Central Sinai, Egypt. Boulder.

Fujii S. 2000. Qa’ Abu Tulayha West: An interim report of the 1999 season. ADAJ (Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan) 44, 149-171.

Fujii S. 2001. Qa’ Abu Tulayha West, 2000: An interim report of the fourth season. ADAJ 45, 15-39.

Fujii S. 2005. Harrat al-Juhayra pseudo-settlement: A preliminary report of the al-Jafr Basin Prehistoric Project, 2004. ADAJ 49, 57-70.

Fujii S. 2006. Wadi Abu Tulayha: A preliminary report of the 2005 spring and summer excavation seasons of the Jafr Basin Prehistoric Project, Phase 2. ADAJ 50: 9-31.

Fujii S. 2010a. A comprehensive review of Neolithic water catchment facilities in the Jafr Basin, southern Jordan: A preliminary report of the Jafr Basin Prehistoric Project (Phase 3), 2009. ADAJ 54, 371-386.

Fujii S. 2010b. Domestication of runoff water: Current evidence and new perspectives from the Jafr pastoral Neolithic. Neo-Lithics 2/10, 14-32.

Fujii S. 2013. Chronology of the Jafr prehistory and protohistory: A key to the process of pastoral nomadization in the southern Levant. Syria 90, 49-125. DOI:

Fujii S. 2014a. Make-believe playhouses at Wadi Burma East: A cognitive approach to the Neolithic unilinear settlement in the Jafr Basin, southern Jordan. In B. Finlayson and C. Makarewitz (eds.) Settlement, Survey and Stone. Essays on Near Eastern Prehistory in Honour of Gary Rollefson, 101-116. Berlin.

Fujii S. 2014b. Mosaic representations of feline animals: New finding at ‘Awja 1, a Late Neolithic open sanctuary in southern Jordan.

Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, vol. 3, 549-559. Wiesbaden.

Fujii S. 2015. Rescue excavations at Jabal Juhayra a stratified Neolithic settlement in the al-Jafr Basin. Neo-Lithics 1/15, 23-33.

Fujii S. 2017a. Subsequent excavations at the Neolithic Rockshelter settlement at Jabal Juhayra (al-Jafr Basin, Jordan). Neo-Lithics 2/17, 3-14.

Fujii S. 2017b. A preliminary report on the Neolithic barrage surveys in the eastern Jafr, 2013-2014. ADAJ 5, 585-599.

Fujii S. 2018. Badia Neolithization in southern Jordan: A brief review from current research in the Jafr Basin. In Al-Salameen, Z. M. and Tarawneh, M. B. (eds) Refereed Proceedings of the First Conference on the Archaeology and Tourism of the Maan Governorate, 3rd- 4th October, 2017, Petra-Jordan, 105-124. Maan.

Fujii S., Adachi T., Endo H. and Yamafuji M. 2013. ‘Awja sites: Supplementary investigations of Neolithic open sanctuaries in southernmost Jordan. ADAJ 57, 337-358.

Fujii S., Adachi T., Endo H., Yamafuji M., Arimatsu Y. and Nagaya K. 2013. Excavations at Wadi Nadiya 2 and supplementary investigations of the Jafr Neolithic barrage system. ADAJ 57, 373-398.

Fujii S., Adachi T. and Nagaya K. 2018. Jabal Juhayra, 2014-2015: Excavations of the post-PPNB Layer. ADAJ 59, 193-215.

Fujii S., Adachi T. and Nagaya K. 2019. Jabal Juhayra, 2015-2016: Excavations of the Layer 3 (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B) Settlement. ADAJ 60.

Fujii S., Adachi T. and Nagaya K. forthcoming. Harrat Juhayra 2: Excavations at a Chalcolithic dettlement in the alJafr Basin, southern Jordan. ADAJ 62.

Fujii S., Adachi T., Yamafuji M. and Nagaya K. 2012. ‘Awja 1-3: Neolithic and Chalcolithic open sanctuaries in southernmost Jordan. ADAJ 56, 171-185.

Fujii S., Adachi T., Yamafuji M. and Nagaya K. 2017a. Hashm al-‘Arfa: An early Neolithic encampment in the eastern Jafr Basin, southern Jordan. ADAJ 58, 567-584.

Fujii S., Adachi T., Yamafuji M. and Nagaya K. 2017b. A preliminary report on the Neolithic barrage surveys in the eastern Jafr, 2013-2014. ADAJ 58, 585-599.

Fujii S., al-Mansoor A., Adachi T. and Nagaya K. forthcoming. A preliminary report on the excavations at Wadi Muharraq and Wadi Ghubai sites in NW Arabia. Atlal: The Journal of Saudi Arabian Archaeology.

Gebel H. G. K. 2016. The socio-hydraulic formations of oasis life in NW Arabia : The 5th millennium BCE shepherd environs of Rajajil, Rasif and Qulban Beni Murra. In M. Luciani (ed.) The Archaeology of North Arabia: Oases and Landscapes, 79-113.Vienna.

Goring-Morris A. N. 1993. From foraging to herding in the Negev and Sinai: The early to late Neolithic transition. Paléorient 19/1, 65-89. DOI:

Kołodziejczyk P. 2019. HLC Project 2014-2019. Research activity of Jagiellonian University in southern Jordan. In P. Kołodziejczyk (ed.) Discovering Edom: Polish Archaeological Activity in Southern Jordan, 31-49. Krakow. DOI:

Kołodziejczyk P., Nowak M., Wasilewski M., Witkowska B., Karmowski J., Czarnowicz M., Brzeska-Zastawna A., Zakrzeńska J., Radziwiłko K. and Kościuk J. 2018. HLC Project 2017: Jagiellonian University excavations in southern Jordan. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 27/1, 379-416. DOI:

Peters E. L. 1990. The Bedouin of Cyrenaica: Studies in Personal and Corporate Power. Cambridge. DOI:

Rollefson G. O. 2013. Late Neolithic aggregation patterns in Jordan’s Eastern Badia. Syria 90, 211-230. DOI:

Rollefson G., Rowan Y. and Wasse A. 2014. Late Neolithic colonization of the Eastern Badia of Jordan. Levant 46/2, 285-301. DOI:

Rosen S. A. 1997. Lithics after the Stone Age: A Handbook of Stone Tools from the Levant. London.

Sahlins M. 1961. The segmentary lineage: An organization of predatory expansion. American Anthropologist 63, 322-343. DOI:

Yogev O. 1983. A fifth millennium B.C.E. sanctuary in the ‘Uvda Valley. Qadomoniot 16/4, 118-132.




How to Cite

Fujii, Sumio. 2020. “Late Neolithic Cultural Landscape in the Al-Jafr Basin, Southern Jordan: A Brief Review in Context”. Studies in Ancient Art and Civilisation 24 (December):13-26.