Al Lahun

Dramatically located on the very edge of the northern cliff of Wadi al-Mujib, the site of Lahun was recurrently reoccupied from earliest times up to the present. Rather than take over the ruins of their predecessors, each new wave of settlers preferred to start again on untouched ground.

The Early Bronze Age settlement here, home to an agricultural community from the late 4th millennium BC, was later fortified with huge walls, as were other towns at this period. Clearly the region had become less stable and the villagers felt an increased need to defend themselves against attack. One of their crops was olives, for stone presses for making olive oil have been found here.

Next was an Early Iron Age village with some unusual pillared houses, completely surrounded by a double wall (with rooms in the intervening space). Later a fort was built at the south end, in a commanding position on the rim of Wadi al-Mujib. In the 9th century BC it might have been a storehouse for King Mesha of Moab’s nearby garrison. The site was abandoned not long after.

The next wave of occupation – again in a new location – came several centuries later when the area was part of the Nabataean kingdom. The main monument from this period is a small temple. In the same area there are also some Roman, Mamluk and Ottoman remains.