The 2015 Khirbat Ataruz Project took place from May 13 to June 2 to examine the temple complex that was discovered in the previous seasons (2000-2012) and to explore its eastern (Field E) and northern (Field F; Robert Bates) boundaries. Our fieldwork also centered on Field B (Ralph Hawkins and Aaron Schade), an area corresponding to the southwest edge of the mound that includes the city’s defense wall system related to the Iron Age temple at the acropolis.
The project was directed by Chang-Ho Ji (La Sierra University) with assistance of Robert Bates (Field F; Andrews University), Ralph Hawkins (Field B; Averett University), and Aaron Schade (Field B; Brigham Young University). Team members also included students and volunteers (Amy Harrison, John Harrison, Hannah Hawkins, Choong-Ryeol Lee, and Sarah Palmer) from Averett University, Brigham Young University, and Korean Sahm Yook University. The project was assisted by sixteen local workers, and Mr. Abdelrahim Aldwikat represented the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, providing valuable assistance and consultation throughout the fieldwork season.
The excavation results led to the conclusion that the remains in Field E dated to Iron IIA and early IIB (the ninth-eighth centuries BCE) and formed part of the temple courtyard, possibly its outer courtyard. The excavations of Square B1-B2 suggest that the city wall was built during the Iron IIA period as well, which implies that it was constructed as part of the temple building project. Square B3 demonstrates that the Field B area was reused by Iron IIB inhabitants for food preparation purposes. For Field F, we unearthed late Iron IIB domestic buildings with many walls and floors, remains mostly attributable to the eighth-seventh centuries BCE.
As in previous seasons, excavated walls and installations were temporarily preserved with cement for maintenance and protection until a full-scale preservation and conservation takes place. The team is planning to conduct a full-scale preservation project later, after excavations of the acropolis area are completed. Around that time, we also anticipate formally presenting the site to scholars, visitors, tourists, and local people with appropriate sign posts and descriptions.