Save the date: ARTE 28.5.22; 21:05 Das geheimnisvolle Steinzeit-Dorf - Was die Gräber von Ba'ja erzählen

ARTE will broadcast the film 28th, May, at  21:05 in Germany and at 21:40 in France (and again 05th, June at 14:55 in Germany and at 10:35 in France).


You can still watch the film here.

Fig. 1 Reconstructed necklace of Jamila of Ba`ja (Late PNB, c. 7250-7000 BCE): Multi-lined necklace made of 2580+ beads, as displayed now in the new Petra Museum, Wadi Musa. (Photo: A. Costes, Ba`ja N.P.) 

Short Report on the Field Season 2021

9000-year-old necklace and grave now on display in the New Petra Museum

The 15th field season at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Ba`ja (c. 7500-6800 calBCE) was carried out in the framework of the DFG-Project Household and Death in Ba`ja hosted at Free University of Berlin. 

The main aims of the short season were to return two one-year loans, including the 9000-year-old necklace of “Jamila”, to reconstruct the sophisticated cist-burial in the New Petra Museum [read more here]  and to do a short rescue excavation [read more here] at the site with a small team. On 10th, October 2021, the new exhibition of both, the necklace and the grave, was inaugurated by PDTRA Commissioner Suleiman Farajat. The whole season as well as the laboratory works in Stuttgart were documented by EPO-film director Barbara Puskás for ARTE/ ORF III. The documentary traces the scientific research on the burial from its discovery until its exhibition in the New Petra Museum [read more here]. 

Conservation and restoration work was possible thanks to an additional grant of the German-Research-Foundation, the Franz-and-Eva-Rutzen-Stiftung and private sponsors of ex oriente e.V. It was a cooperation project between the Department of Antiquities Amman, the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (Hussein al Sababha and Mousa Serbil, Yarmouk University), together with the presentation of the necklace of Jamila (conserved by Alice Costes and Andrea Fischer, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, and reconstructed in cooperation with Hala Alarashi, CEPAM Nice), coordinated by Marion Benz (Free University Berlin).

Rescue excavations in two rooms in Area C at Ba`ja were directed by Hans Georg K. Gebel, Free University Berlin in cooperation with Julia Gresky, German Archaeological Institute Berlin, assisted by Prehistory student Melina Frotscher and up to five workmen from the Ammarin village of Beidha.

The season was successfully closed by preliminary agreements for continued research in Ba`ja as a joint-project with the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Yarmouk University of Irbid, following the closing DFG-Project Household and Death in Ba‘ja.

In sum, the 2021 season completed the fieldwork for the Household and Death in Ba`ja-Project, within the frameworks of available funds and means. The project’s current evaluations will identify the anthropological and archaeothanatological priorities and potentials for the future foci of the rich Ba`ja research area and will initiate a refocusing and refinement of the Ba`ja Neolithic Project and its research questions.


Hans Georg K. Gebel and Marion Benz

Ba`ja Neolithic Project, field co-directors


The season’s aims were achieved by the cooperation and thanks to the support of the following institutions: Department of Antiquities (Aktham Oweidi), Yarmouk University (Hani Hayajneh), PDTRA and Petra Archaeological Park (Suleiman Farajat, Ismail Abu Amoud, Ibrahim Farajat), Petra Museum (Naher al-Rawadieh), Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design  (Andrea Fischer), EPO Film Vienna (Barbara Puskás), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ex oriente at Free University of Berlin and the Franz-und-Eva-Rutzen-Stiftung. We are grateful for the overwhelming help of all these people and last but not least, to the Ammarin community for their hospitality and to our supportive workmen.

Ba`ja 2019 Season, Interim Report published open access

The Ba`ja 2019 Season interim report is the first volume of the new special issue series of Neo-Lithics Newsletter. If you are interested in publishing your interim report online open access without any fees, please contact the editors of ex oriente e.V. for the guidelines and conditions.

New OSL-Dating Programme

During the 2019a spring-season, our colleague Sahar al Khasawneh (see photo on the left) from the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Yarmouk University, Irbid, started a new OSL-dating programme at Ba`ja. Drillings were taken on two surfaces of a big rockfall located on top of the excavated architecture in the southern part of Area D, in order to gain OSL dates for the related high-energy-event, a supposed earthquake. A wall damage mapping related to high-energy forces and events was carried out by Bilal Khrisat and Hans Georg K. Gebel in spring 2019, too. Using OSL for earthquake dating is a new subject in OSL and archaeological research, carried out jointly by Sahar al Khasawneh, Bilal Khrisat, Hans Georg K. Gebel and Christoph Purschwitz (Video: S. al Khasawneh, Photos: M. Benz, S. al-Shoubaki, S. al Khasawneh)

(Foto: H.G.K. Gebel, Ba`ja N.P.)

Short Report on the Field Season 2019

The 13th field season, in April 2019, at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Ba`ja (c. 7500-6800 cal BCE) was again devoted to field research for the special research topic on Household and Death in Ba`ja, carried out at Free University of Berlin by a grant of the German Research Foundation… read more

Short Report on the Field Season 2018

The 2018 season confirmed that Late PPNB site of Ba`ja is characterized by intramural cemeteries and intramural deposits of buried – most likely terminated – households, primary household contexts, and dumped materials of household production in room fills. More evidence was found for a later occupation at Ba`ja during the FPPNB/ PPNC… read more

(Foto: M. Benz, Ba`ja N.P.)
(Foto: C. Purschwitz, Ba`ja N.P.)

Short Report on the Field Season 2016

By the 2016 season, a third phase of the long-term project started: to test the site’spotential for a deep-knowledge research on Household and Death in Jordan’s late 8th millennium BCE. Sedentary village life was still at its beginnings… read more