Book Series Jerash Papers, vol. 11

The History and Pottery of a Middle Islamic Settlement

Final Publications from the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project V

Alex Peterson

  • Pages: approx. 360 p.
  • Size:220 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:22 b/w, 25 col., 3 tables b/w., 478 images in appendix
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60335-3
  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming (Jun/23)



Dr. Alex Peterson is from New Hampshire in the USA and developed a love for archaeology after travelling the world with the military and through graduate studies.  He earned his PhD from the University of Aarhus, where he was a researcher at the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Urban Network Evolutions and part of the Ceramics in Context project.  Dr. Peterson now lives in Hawaii where he works as an archaeologist with the Defence POW/MIA Agency.


In 2015, the Danish-German Northwest Quarter Project working in Jerash uncovered a Middle Islamic farmstead. Subsequent excavations revealed that this settlement, far from marking a devline at the site, is in fact indicative of a broader active and dynamic rural community living within the ancient urban landscape of Jerash. This volume offers an in-depth focus on this Islamic settlement, with a particular focus on the ceramic material yielded by the site, which is here fully quantified and contextually analysed alongside historical sources. Through this approach, the author has reconstructed a new synthesis of Middle Islamic settlement history, shedding new light on the economic and social structures of a rural community in northern Jordan, as well as establishing a typology that can be used to refi ne the chronologies of Middle Islamic Jerash.


List of Illustrations Acknowledgements

Chapter 1: Introduction

Investigating Middle Islamic Pottery from the Northwest Quarter of Jerash

Past Research on Middle Islamic Pottery

Handmade Geometric Painted Ware (HMGP) and Plain Handmade Wares

Glazed Wares

Other Middle Islamic Ceramic Types

Avenues of Approach for Future Research

Theory and Approach to the Ceramic Material from Jerash

Formation Processes

From Theory to Practice

Design of the Catalogue and Discussion of the Contexts

Typology Theory and Design

Research Aims and Summary

Chapter 2: Jerash جرش

An Introduction to the Study Area: Jerash, Jordan

Early Islamic Jerash

Abbasid Evidence

Middle Islamic Jerash (Ayyubid-Mamluk Period)

Late Islamic Jerash (Ottoman Period)

The Danish-German Northwest Quarter Project

2011 Geophysical Survey

The 2012 Campaign

The 2013 Campaign

The 2014 and 2015 Campaigns

The 2016 Campaign

Middle Islamic Settlement in the Northwest Quarter of Jerash: The Ayyubid-Mamluk Courtyard House and Domestic Complex

Chapter 3: Overview of the Pottery from the Northwest Quarter


Handmade Geometric Painted Ware (HMGP)

HMGP Closed Vessels (Jugs, Jars, and Juglets)

HMGP Open Vessels (Bowls, Basins, and Plates)

Misc. HMGP Sherds

Plain Unpainted Handmade Ware

Plain Unpainted Handmade Closed Vessels

Plain Unpainted Handmade Open Vessels

Plain Unpainted Handmade Misc. Vessels

Cooking Ware

Glazed Wares

Wheelmade Pottery

Other Pottery Types

Petrographic Analysis and Ceramic Production Networks

Insights on Diet and Consumption

Remarks on the Pottery Assemblage

Chapter 4: Contextual Analysis of the Middle Islamic Ceramics

Introduction to a Contextual Approach


Contextual Analysis of Trenches Relating to the Courtyard House (Trenches C, D, and T)

Trench C (South-West Corner of the Courtyard House)

Trench D (North-East Corner of the Courtyard House)

Trench T (North-West Corner of the Courtyard House)

The Courtyard House: Discussion and Interpretations

Trenches Relating to Complex A and B (Trenches B and E)

Trench E (South-West Corner of Complex B)

Trench B (Eastern Slope of Complex A)

Discussion and Interpretations Regarding Complex A and B

Analysis of Context Category 2: Temporary Activity with no Structures, but Associated with Contemporary Events (Trenches I, K, and U)

Trench I (Investigating the Slope North of the Middle Islamic Complex)

Trench K (East of the Middle Islamic Terrace)

Trench U (Slope South of the Middle Islamic Complex)

Context Category 3: Analysis of Pottery with no Relation to Either Permanent Structures or Temporary Activity


Refining the Chronology of Middle Islamic Ceramics from Jerash

Insights into the Functions and Daily Life of the Middle Islamic Settlement

Nature of Settlement in the Northwest Quarter of Jerash

Chapter 5: Developing the Middle Islamic Ceramic Typology for Jerash and Examining it within its Wider Regional Context

Introduction to the Typology

Features of the Jerash Middle Islamic Typology

Family A: Handmade Geometric Painted Pottery (Domestic) (HMGP)

Family B: Unpainted Handmade Pottery

Family C: Glazed Pottery

Family D: Wheelmade Vessels

Family E: Illumination

The Uses of the Jerash Middle Islamic Typology

Using the Typology for Dating Deposits

Other Functions

Final Remarks on the Typology

Discussion of the Jerash Northwest Quarter Typology within a Wider Regional Context

Pottery Found in Jerash and its Immediate Hinterlands

Pottery from Sites in Northern Jordan

Pottery from Sites in Central and Southern Jordan

Conclusions on the Regional Discussion

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Appendix: Catalog of Middle Islamic Ceramics from the Northwest Quarter of Jerash

Introduction to the Catalogue


Handmade Geometric Painted Ware

Closed Vessels

Open Vessels

Misc. or Indistinct Vessels

Plain Unpainted Handmade Ware

Closed Vessels

Open Vessels

Misc. or Indistinct Vessels

Cooking Vessels

Glazed Ware Vessels

Wheelmade Vessels

Misc. Objects

Works Cited

Primary Sources and Online Databases