A geophysical survey at Zahrat adh-Dhra‘ 2 and its implications for Pre-Pottery Neolithic A architectural traditions in the southern Levant

Phillip Charles Edwards, Armin Schmidt


A geophysical survey of subsurface architectural remains at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) site of Zahrat adh-Dhra‘ 2 (ZAD 2), located south-east of the Dead Sea in Jordan, has provided new perspectives on building practices and settlement layout at the site. ZAD 2 was conducive to geophysical prospecting because it is a short-lived, relatively shallow occupation consisting of one major constructional episode; additionally, the site is unencumbered by later cultural remains at the surface and is grounded on deep natural sediments. Prior measured differences in magnetic susceptibility between the imported limestone used for construction and the natural calcarenitic sands incorporated as fill in the site provided the impetus to conduct the survey. A magnetometer survey was carried out using a Geoscan Research FM256 fluxgate gradiometer, and a handheld ZH (SM-30) magnetic susceptibility meter was used to record additional measurements in the field. The recording traverses were spaced 0.5 meters apart within a set-out grid measuring 40 meters by 40 meters. The results indicate that ZAD 2 is larger and architecturally more elaborate than had been envisaged and bring the site closer in scale and complexity to other regional PPNA sites, such as Dhra‘ and Wadi Faynan 16.


Geophysical prospection, magnetometer survey, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period, Jordan, Dead Sea, architectural practices, settlement layout

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