Jawa, Jordan

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Coordinates: 32°20′06″N 37°00′12″E / 32.33500°N 37.00333°E / 32.33500; 37.00333

This article is about the Early Bronze Age proto-urban site in Jordan's basalt desert. For the Iron Age village in central Jordan, see Tall Jawa
Jawa, eastern Jordan.jpg
View of Jawa from the south
Jawa, Jordan is located in Jordan
Jawa, Jordan
Shown within Jordan
RegionMafraq Governorate
Coordinates32°20′06″N 37°00′12″E / 32.335°N 37.003333°E / 32.335; 37.003333

Jawa is the site of the oldest proto-urban development in Jordan, dating from the late 4th millennium BC (Early Bronze Age). It is located in one of the driest areas of the black (basalt) desert of Eastern Jordan.[1]


The town was built by a group of perhaps 2,000 migrants coming from the North or East. They had some understanding of urban life, as well as hydrology. It extended over 100,000 m2[1] and consisted of a walled town and extensive earthworks to divert winter floods from the Wadi into a series of reservoirs. This work would have had to be completed by the first winter after the groups arrival; otherwise they would not have survived the following summer. It is estimated the work would have taken a minimum workforce of 700.[2]

The population had large herds of sheep, goats and some cattle. Estimates based on bone counts indicate there may have been as many as 10,000 sheep and goats as well as 800 cattle. There were also 200 equids and 160 dogs.[3] From seed remains it is apparent that some of the water was also used for irrigation agriculture. The inhabitants ate barley, wheat, chickpeas, lentils and grapes.[4]

The lifetime of the town was extremely short. Its maximum population may have reached 5,000.[5]

There is a fortified building in the center of the ruins of the original town. It is believed to date from 2000 to 1500 BC and is not associated with any other stone structures.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Helms, Svend (1981) Jawa. Lost City of the Black Desert. Methuen. ISBN 0-416-74080-4. p.4
  2. ^ Helms p.77
  3. ^ Helms. p.189. Analysis by Ilse Kohler
  4. ^ Helms. p.247. Analysis by G.H. Willcox
  5. ^ Helms. p.130
  6. ^ Helms. p.6