An ancient site 17.6
km W of Amman, consisting of a mound, now partly
inhabited, with ancient buildings and other remains to
the NW, W, and SW. To the NW of the mound is a steep
cliff in which natural and artfficial caves were excavated.
To the SW of the mound are remains of a large building
known as Qasr el-Abd, “the fortress of the slave.” Between this building and the caves are remains of the so-called “square building,” and of a water conduit.
These ruins have long been identified by many scholars with the fortress of Tyrus, the capital of the land of
the Tobiads, built at the beginning of the 2d c. B.C. by
Hyrcanus who resided there between 187 and 175
(Joseph. AJ 12.233
On the mound six occupation levels have been observed beginning with the Chalcolithic period (5th millennium B.C.). The Early Bronze Age is represented by scanty building remains. In the Iron Age I (11th c. B.C.)
the settlement was surrounded by a wall. This probably
is the Biblical Ramath-mizpeh, conquered by the Ammonites at the end of the century. The site was then
abandoned until, as already noted, Tyrus of the Tobiads
was built by Hyrcanus ca. 182 B.C. The dating of the different buildings of this phase is done mainly by pottery.
During most of the 2d c. B.C. the site was abandoned
but ca. 100 B.C. the settlement was surrounded by a
casemate wall. This settlement was abandoned by the
middle of the 1st c. A.D. At the end of this century the
old buildings were reconstructed with minor changes.
After the destruction of the settlement at the end of the
2d c. A.D. new traces of habitation were discovered. No
building remains later than 200 A.D. were observed on
Of the buildings on the mound itself one is dated to
ca. 175 B.C. The building (12.5 x 9 m) stood within an
enclosure (18.5 x 18 m). The walls of the building were
plastered white outside, white and pink inside.
To the SW of the mound, the so-called “square building,” was probably built at the beginning of the 2d c.
B.C., when the Qasr el-Abd was built. Identified over the
years as a fortress, palace, funerary monument, and
temple, it is now generally agreed that it was a temple.
Erected on a platform (30 x 15 m) it faces N-NW, and
is approached by five monumental steps. Entrance to the
building is gained through a porch distyle in antis. On
all four corners of the basilica-like building staircase
towers led onto a balcony which rested on attached half
columns on the lateral walls and on two rows of columns. Two pairs of lions were set high up on the wall
of the facade. The building contained a pronaos, naos
and opisthodomos, thus complying with the ancient
Canaanite-Syrian plan of temple.
H. C. Butler, Syria
, II (1919) 1-22;
P. W. Lapp, BASOR
165 (1962) 16-34; 171 (1963) 8-39; M.J.B. Brett, ibid., 39-45; D. K. Hill, ibid., 45-55.