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Sedentarization and Nomadization in Transjordan in the Early Islamic Period: The Khirbet Rufeis Cave Complex Excavations and Wusum

"The late 8th through the 12th centuries A.D. in Jordan are usually depicted as a stagnant backwater. Newer studies suggest a modified view of this period. Two seasons of excavation of the Khirbet Rufeis cave complex seem to lend credence to this newer proposal. The complex, which possibly originally served as a Khan, was destroyed by an earthquake. In its post-earthquake phase, the cave seems to have been used by tribal elements for seasonal habitation. Part of the complex was turned into a divan and outfitted with a black painted panel on which wusum and occasional words were displayed. The latter seems to reflect a digression in literacy following the withdrawal of the dominant powers from the region. Further, the cave complex gives us a window on the nomadic end of the continuum in the late Early Islamic period."

Author(s):  Ray, Paul J., Jr.; LaBianca, Oystein S
Format:  Presentation
Source:  Presented at: the Annual Meeting of the Americam Schools of Oriental Research, Philadelpha, Penn.. November 19, 1995