Archeological Museum, Amman

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  • Archeological Museum
    by leics
  • Archeological Museum
    by leics
  • Archeological Museum
    by leics
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    Amman through the ages 2: Ain Ghazal

    by leics Written Feb 1, 2015

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    The small Jordanian Archaeological Museum on the Citadel is unmissable for at least one of its displays: the stunning, and truly ancient, humanoid 'statues' discovered in 1983 in Ain Ghazal.

    The statues are made of plaster laid over a basic form created by weaving together twigs and reeds. There are 28 of them altogether (others are on display in museums elsewhere, including in the UK and the USA) and they were discovered in 1983 in the early Neolithic site of Ain Ghazal. The statues are around 9000 years old and their discovery completely upended our ideas about the Neolithic ('new stone age') pre-pottery period. They are amongst the oldest, if not the oldest, large-scale representations of the human form.

    Some statues clearly represent one person, some two (a partnered couple, perhaps?), most have (or had) legs, arms, hands and feet.... and all have their pupils made of and their eyes outlined in black. They were originally painted to represent clothes and features.

    The statues were found buried in two caches on the site, which was a settlement of large, multi-roomed houses (remember, this was 7-9000 years ago...forget your ideas about 'stone age' people living in caves!). The plaster used for the statues was also used to line the walls of the houses and also for plates, bowls, figurines and pendants.

    Of course many of the statues, when discovered, were damaged and broke and you can clearly see where conservators have 'stuck' them back together.

    Why were they made and why were they buried together? We don't know. It is as simple as that. Perhaps that was just what you did when a loved one died. You paid someone to make a representation of your loved one and then you placed it in a safe place with all the other ancestors? I doubt we will ever know for certain.

    I found these statues fascinating. Not just because of their uniqueness and the extreme antiquity but also because, somehow, they seemed to me more 'real' than many of later sculptures of individuals I've seen. Somehow, they seemed to me more like real people than much more 'realistic' and beautifully-executed stone sculptures.

    Visit the little archaeological museum and see what you think. But don't visit Amman without seeing the Ain Ghazal statues....

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    Amman through the ages: 1

    by leics Written Feb 1, 2015

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    The small, old-fashioned, Jordanian Archaeological Museum was built in 1951 and stands within the many archaeological remains sited on the 'Citadel'.

    Judging by the gaps in its display cases when I visited it seems very likely that most of its contents have already been moved to the almost-brand-new Jordan Museum in Ras al-Ayn, Downtown:

    http://jordanmuseum.jo/en

    I didn't get chance to visit that museum though it certainly looks well worth exploring. Next time...

    But the little archaeological museum in the Citadel, despite its size and despite the fact that some of its display cases were empty, holds some artefacts which I found absolutely stunning (see other tip) and others which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing.

    The museum is set out in chronological order, so (if you turn right on the way in and not left as I did!) you'll start with the very oldest artefacts from Jordanian prehistoric sites and gradually work your way round to Ottoman times.

    All the artefacts are labelled in English as well as Arabic, though not a huge amount of information is given (mostly just what the artefact is, its date and its site of discovery). I didn't check whether a more detailed guide was available at the little shop. If there is, I'd suggest it's worth buying so that you can set the artefacts more clearly in their context.

    Quite apart from the unique and amazing Ain Ghazal statues (it's worth seeking out the museum just to see these...see separate tip) there are some fascinating and very early human representations, Iron Age anthropoid clay coffins, Roman and earlier sculptures and some beautiful pottery from the Umayyad and later periods.

    Although the museum itself is on level ground, access is via several steps...I'm not sure if there is another entrance for those who have mobility difficulties.

    If you are visiting Amman's 'Citadel' site it really is worth visiting this little museum. It still holds a great deal to fascinate and amaze.

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    The museum inside the citadel

    by xaver Written Jan 7, 2014

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    This is a small museum open untill 4 pm, one hour less than the citadel. This museum hosts a good collection of items dating from all era of Jordanian and regional history such as a 6000 years old skull coming from Jericho. In winter with temperature near the zero degrees and the strong wind, the museum can also be the only warm place where to have a stop inside the citadel, this at least, is the main use we did of it.

    citadel
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    National Archaeological Museum

    by MM212 Updated Aug 21, 2012

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    The Citadel's only modern building houses the National Archaeological Museum. Though small, the museum displays an important collection of statues, artefacts and other objects found within the citadel and all over Jordan. The collection comes from various periods dating as far back as 4000 BC through the Ammonite, Graeco-Roman, Byzantine and Omayyad epochs. Among the more important objects on display is one of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, brought over from Palestine after their discovery decades ago. The rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls were seized (another word for stolen?) by Israel from the Palestinian Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem after the 6-day war in 1967 during which Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. Both Jordan, which administered the West Bank and East Jerusalem until the war, and the current Palestinian government continue to claim the Dead Scrolls and demand that Israel return them to their rightful owners.

    Ancient Head, Dec 2010 National Archaeological Museum, Dec 2010 Museum building in background, Aug 2008 Dec 2010
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    The National archaeological Museum, Amman

    by crazyman2 Written Oct 14, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a small museum with an interesting collection of artefacts.
    Most of the items are in glass cases but there are some things which can be walked around etc.
    There are Roman, Nabatean, Neolithic, Byzantine, Islamic and Christian pieces including some Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, there is an 8000+ year old human on display and a number of funery artefacts.
    Photography is allowed.
    Access is up some steep steps so if you find walking difficult...

    Would I visit here again? Yes, although my guide said that it could be moving to a new site.

    Who took the bodies? Dead Sea Scrolls mmm... Most of the artefacts have information in English Local tourists at the street vendors

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    AMMAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

    by MiguelMV Written Jan 6, 2006

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    Small but very interesting museum at Amman's Citadel. It worths a visit.

    It contains several archaelogical pieces from different places in Jordan, and various periods, from Paleolithic to Middle Ages. It includes some primitve sculptures (claimed to be the first ever done by humans), Dead Sea scrolls and Nabatean godess' relieves.

    Double faced head Primitive sculptures Entrance of the museum Sculpture of Tyche Dead Sea scrolls
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    Roman objects

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jun 28, 2005

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    Inside the museum you can see many Roman objects like small statues and sculputers.
    Inside the museum there is also the Balwa Stone, which was found in Wadi al-Mawjib, and on it there is the king Kemosh, Godness Moabites, the God Astarte.
    In the musum there are also some anthropoid sarcofagis (11th century BC) and also some omayyade sculputers.

    Roman objects
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    Witness with two faces

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jun 28, 2005

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    One of the most nice things that you can see inside the museum are the witness with two faces. They probably were built in the 7th century BC adn they were discoverd in the Citadel of Amman where they were used as capitels. They have got black eyes with ivory pupils.

    Witness with two faces
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    National Archeological Museum

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jun 28, 2005

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    Near the Temple of Hercules you can see this nice small museum. Inside it you can find very nice objects, from the shulls over 6000 years old to the nice Omayyade sculptures. Inside you can see also some Papyris of the Dead Sea dicovered in 1952.

    National Archeological Museum: a Byzantine statue
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    Fact or Fiction?

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 4, 2005

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    One of the treasures of the Archaeological Museum in Amman is the Copper Scroll, the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls to have been found by archaeologists on an organized expedition rather than by Bedouin tribesmen, whose first discoveries of the scrolls were accidental.
    Considered by many to be the most intriguing of all the Dead Sea Scrolls, this one is unique for being engraved on a sheet of copper rather than written on paper or leather, for the different form of Hebrew it is written in and for its content. Whereas all the other scrolls are of a religious nature, this one is a precise desription of a great treasure and of the place where it is hidden.
    Ever since its discovery in 1952 this scroll has been the subject of controversy. Is it a work of fiction -a literary telling of a story about a treasure - or is it a carefully recorded inventory of a real treasure and its hiding place?
    The jury is still out on that. The passing of time has meant the places described with such accuracy can no longer be recognized even if they still exist and, to date, no treasure has ever been found. A job for Indiana Jones perhaps.

    The metal of the scroll was so corroded when it was found it could not be unrolled without irreversable damage. After much debate it was cut into narrow sections. What you see in the museum is an imprint taken from some of those sections, as well as several of the sections themselves

    leyle

    The Copper Scroll
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    The National Archaeological Museum

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 4, 2005

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    Though only small, the Archaeological museum on the Amman's citadel contains a number of quite unique and important finds dating from pre-history through to Islamic times.

    Among the really important artifacts are items from Teleilat Ghassul, a Chalcolithic site in the Jordan Valley that was one of the very first towns in the region including strange humanoid terracotta coffins and a frescoed wall.

    Iron Age pottery, Greek coins, Roman glass and Mameluke grenades - evidence of the tide of history that has washed over this place. It really is worth an hour or so of your time.

    The museum opens from 1000 -1330 and 1500-1800

    Small, well laid out and labelled Byzantine quail Chalcolithic coffins Romao-Greek sculpture Mameluke hand grenades
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    The archeology museum

    by Djinn76 Written Dec 27, 2004

    On the citadel itself you can visit as well a small archeology museum. Don't miss this opportunity, some really nice pieces are exhibited there : statues, coins, jewel, mosaics... You can admire objects as old as several thousand years old or much more recent objects...

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    • Archeology
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