Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Archaeological Museum in Amman

Located on the site of our famous citadel, there is a small but well appointed archaeological museum.
The collection ranges from the Paleolithic era to the islamic era (so covering several hundred thousand years). The museum displays artifacts found in all the archaeological sites around Jordan, you can see items of daily life such as pottery, tools, but also statues, coins...

One of the most important exhibits are these plaster statues from "Ain Ghazal". They date back from the pre-pottery Neolothic era, around 6000 BC.

They look a bit extraterrestrial to me!

They were discovered in a cache at a site, located on the outskirts of Amman in 1983 and then some more in 1985. The statues are made of plaster applied to an interior reed armature. They are thought to be funeral statues and could commemorate deceased family members in more important families. The statues were found buried underneath the floors of uninhabited houses. The theory is that these statues were made for ancestor worship and when no longer needed, they were then "buried".

Another very interesting thing to see is the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Discovered at Quram, Israel in 1947

In spring 1947, a bedouin discovered jars containing scrolls in the caves facing Qumran. The scrolls make up a veritable library, with a time span ranging 2 centuries BC. The texts are written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. All the books from the old testament are included. Many documents concerning the activities of the Essene (a Jewish sect) were also found.

A copy of the Mesha Stele (aka Moabite Stone) is also on display at the Museum. The original one can be found at the Louvre in Paris, France. The Stele was discovered in Dhiban (ancient Dibon) in 1868. This stone constitutes a direct account of the history of the world that is related to the Bible.

Mesha Stele in the Louvre

Some more interesting things on display at the Museum

To the left: some very rare sarcophagi dating from the Iron Age. To the right: marble head of the goddess Tyche, daughter of Zeus. Goddess of fortune and protectrice of Amman. It was found in the Garden of the Museum in 1957.

A little note: the first time we went to the Citadel, we didn't pay an entrance fee, but this time we did. 150fils for residents and 2JD for the non-resident.

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