Umm El-Jimal

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Umm el-Jimal lies north-east of Amman and is a sizeable and significant archaeological site. It has always been a frontier town and probably began as a Nabatean trading post on the route between Damascus and Petra. The Romans and Byzantines developed it into a fort protecting their border and the town reached its apogee under the Byzantines in around the 5th/6th Century AD as a town of some 5,000 people, before the decline of the Roman Empire and an earthquake led to its abandonment. Today it will appeal to the enthusiastic amateur archaeologist as most of the site is unexcavated, with huge piles of black basalt building blocks littering the ground beneath the remains of some remarkably intact walls and arches. Excavation work has been going on in earnest and plans are in place for detailed information boards to go up around the site and for a museum and visitor centre. Once these are in place, Umm el-Jimal will become one of the most prominent and impressive archaeological sites in Jordan.

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