The Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project

Present focus of research: the burial cairns of Jebel Qurma

Throughout the basaltic uplands of north-eastern Jordan, there are countless large and small mounds of stone (cairns), which are the burial places of people who roamed the desert many hundreds or thousands of years ago. These numerous graves have never been systematically investigated, and little is known about their construction, date, and variability, let alone about their deceased occupants. This picture is now changing owing to our ongoing programme of survey and excavation in the Jebel Qurma region. These investigations point towards complex and entangled arrangements of cairn use and mortuary practices over time, with Early Bronze Age cemeteries being replaced by singular, impressive tower tombs and conical ring cairns in the Iron Age and Hellenistic period. The reuse of these tombs is a recurrent feature, emphasizing the focal and enduring importance of these monuments to both the dead and the living.
A tower tomb at the site of QUR-118. This tomb was reused in antiquity
Excavating an apsidal tomb containing multiple burials at the site of QUR-1075.

The burial mound of QUR-147, after excavation. Multiple phases are visible. A: ring cairn, B: burial chamber of ring cairn, C: rock cover of ring cairn, D: remains of tower tomb, set on top of ring cairn

A large tomb on top of a mound, and visible from afar
Excavating a burial chamber