ABILA OF THE DECAPOLIS, JORDAN



The American Expedition to Abila of the Decapolis began field work with a systematic survey of the site during 1980. Excavation and a regional survey program began during 1982. Intensive excavation seasons are held each even numbered year with odd numbered years used for study seasons and more limited testing. The field work at Abila has been directed from 1980 until 2004 by Dr. Harold Mare of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Research in the painted Roman Period tombs has been conducted by French archaeologists. Bernhard Lucke wrote a thesis entitled Abila's Abandonment. John Wineland wrote a dissertation on the coins of Abila with details related to the excavation of the site. Michael Fuller wrote a dissertation on the urban and regional survey of Abila.

The site of Tell Abil in northern Jordan was Abila of the Decapolis during the Early Roman Period. Literary and archaeological evidence (coins, pottery, lamps, glass, architectural features, etc.) indicate that the site was occupied during the Bronze Age (Early, Middle, and Late), Iron Age, Hellenistic Period, Roman Period, Byzantine Period, Umayyad Caliphate and Abbasid Caliphate.

Four regional transect surveys demonstrated the presence of suburban communities, cemeteries, quarries, agricultural fields, aqueducts, farmsteads, and nomadic campsites. The most intensive use of the countryside occurred during the Byzantine/Umayyad Period when the city reached its climax population.

Excavations have exposed the ruins of five Byzantine basilicas built at different locations of the site. The basilica in Area A was built upon the ruins of a Roman temple attributed to the Artemis.

Dr. Harold Mare died in a car accident at Abila during the summer of 2004. Responsibility for the project passed to Dr. David Chapman at Covenant Theological Seminary, then to Dr. David Vila.

Individuals desiring to volunteer for the Abila excavation should write directly to Dr. David Vila, John Brown University, 2000 West University Street, Siloam Springs, AR 72761 Phone: 479.524.7329



Click here for Tomb H-1 information
Click here for Tomb H-2 information
Click here for Tomb H-3 information
Click here for Tomb L-13 information
Click here for Tomb L-15 information
Click here for Tomb L-16 information
Click here for Tomb Q-1 information
Click here for Tomb Q-2 information
Click here for Tomb Q-3 information
Click here for Tomb Q-4 information
Click here for Tomb Q-7 information
Click here for Tomb Q-10 information
Click here for Tomb Q-12 information
Click here for Tomb L - 5 / Q-13 information
Click here for information on lamps found in the tombs at Abila


Click here for information on other tombs


Click here for urban and regional survey information


Click here for Aqueduct information


Click here for Areas A and AA information


Click here for Areas D and DD information


Click here for crew photos from 1980s (usual suspects)


Click here for Ethnographic and Ethnoarchaeological information


Click here for Islamic Pottery (8th - 13th century)


Click here for Islamic pottery (13th - 15th century)
Webpage updated: 25 July 2014
Webpage created: Dec. 4, 1997 by Neathery and Michael Fuller