Polish archaeologists discover Neolithic settlement in Jordan

Archaeologists from Kraków's Jagiellonian University have discovered a settlement dating back to the Neolithic period in northern Jordan.

The discovery of the Neolithic settlement was made by the Kraków-based archaeologists in an inaccessible, and previously unexplored, mountainous region of northern Jordan.

"Munqata'a is the most easterly lying settlement from the late Neolithic period to be discovered to date. Our research can be considered pioneering as no one has yet undertaken excavations in this inaccessible mountainous region," explained expedition leader Piotr Kołodziejczyk in a press release sent to PAP.

The settlement featured stone walls and a central structure - most probably a temple or home of the chief of the settlement. Around the walls, the team discovered many domestic items such as pestles, stone querns (corn grinders), collections of arrows and a vast amount of ceramic crockery. It is thought that the ceramic items were most probably used for the storage of food products.

Gaining access to the mountain valley proved to be not only a scientific challenge but also a logistical one. Access to the site was only possible via hundreds of metres of steep ridge-path, down which the team had to carry equipment, food supplies and water.

Since last year, the Kraków archaeologists have been undertaking research in Munquata'a and in another part of the area, Faysalliyya, a desert region around Shoubak. The site was home to a farming settlement. In another area, the team have also excavated structures dating back to the Chalcolithic period (the Copper Age). Dating the site was made possible through the discovery of ceramics, stone and flint tools.

Funded by a grant from Poland's National Science Centre, the project will continue over the coming years.