GPS coordinates: 32.17969, 36.16185
Coordinates are approximate.
The building is a church, with a single nave that has been preserved; recent looting has completely torn out the chancel. Only the beginning line of the chancel remains.
In interior dimensions, the nave measures 6.60 m in width and 10.50 in length. It seems that radical repairs were made in basalt, in particular with regard to the doorways. Against the walls, inside, were built pillars which certainly were supported by arches. Keystones were found in the rubble. A door opens in the west wall, but it is curiously narrow and does not lead to a clearance; it gives access to a small dead-end room paved with mosaic without decoration, which was covered with the basalt beans for the ceiling. Above this room was at least one floor. Possibly it was a tower, especially since the wall, to the south, has an enlargement which can only be the foundation of an exterior staircase. It is not easy to determine to which phase this piece belongs and when it was added. We consider it as part of the Byzantine whole.
The carpet has been damaged by iconoclasts. It was of good quality; betraying a certain schematization of the decorative motifs, it gained in quality with a palette of lively colours, of which we must mention a blue rarely so lively, in the line of alternating lotuses which adorns the border. The decoration of the carpet itself is organized around four kantharos arranged at the corners and from which spring vines which, by their foliage, delimit 28 circular panels. It is the animated patterns contained in these panels that have been destroyed. None remain intact. Some patterns have been replaced by rough geometric elements, such as spoked wheels, trapezoids, etc. A Greek inscription, short but in perfect condition, is found in a cartouche near a kantharos; it is the signature of the mosaicist, a fact quite rare in Jordan and practically unknown in Palestine. The execution of this work must be in the 7th century, according to the style and the composition.
Along the load-bearing walls of the church, benches run between the abutments and against the facade wall. Built with stones, then coated with a smooth plaster, one will note many repairs. These benches have the special feature of rising in the form of an armrest against the side walls. They do not, however, belong to the first phase of the church: they lean against an older coating which lined the abutments and probably the walls. The presence of banquettes is not usual in churches at this time. It has been suggested that these benches date from after the desecration of the building.
Do churches “81” and “82” belong to a monastic complex?
Two churches both located in the southern district, not being separated only by about fifteen meters, belong to the same architectural ensemble. It is true that the presence of two churches is not enough to interpret this set as monastic. Ended on the south by buildings connected to the south church, it is completed on the north by a large courtyard of 20 X 14 m, with access to the north church, and surrounded on the other three sides by streets. In the middle of the north wall of the courtyard is a small room interpreted as a kitchen, and another oblong room (13.50 X 5.00 m) which occupies the entire width of the building east of the yard. Two symmetrical doors open onto the courtyard.
A survey in the southwest corner of the courtyard showed that this part of the city was certainly not built in an ancient period. We are at the northern limit of the southern district; this district would then be an extension of the city from the end of the 6th century or even in the 7th century
Michele Piccirillo, “Ricerca storica-archaeologica in Giordania III (1983),” Liber annuus – Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, no. 33 (1983): 417–18.
The church, built in basalt, was a building with a single nave (10.5 x 7.75 111790) subdivided by four arcades transverse beams which supported the roof. To the north, it is accessed from the courtyard – onto which also opened church 82 – through a door that led up some steps at the nave. To the south, a door opened onto a large room adjoining the church. To the west, a door led to a small room subdivided by an arcade adjoining the facade of the church.
Of the church sanctuary only a fragment of the chancel stylobate, at the height of the fourth arcade from the nave.
Several masonry and coated benches, covering partially the mosaic of the nave and the wall plaster, were added between the pillars which supported the arcades. In a rather strange way, they rise at the ends, forming against the pillers a kind of armrest. These benches were then remodeled several times.
The nave was decorated with a mosaic carpet surrounded by a geometric double border. The field featured scrolls of vines emerging from four kantharos placed at the corners of the panel. The latter ended in the east with a dedication inscription already badly damaged during the excavations. The animated figures populating the foliage were all removed, then repaired with the same tesserae, which were either randomly arranged, or in such a way as to form geometric patterns in places.
The inscription of dedication placed in a rectangular frame in front of the step of the sanctuary leads us to hypothetically restore the laying of the mosaic – moreover attributed to the 7th century according to stylistic analysis – at the time of the archbishop Theodore de Bosra.
Under the Most Holy Archbishop (Theodore?) was built and decorated with mosaics .. . of the holy place … by the offering
Another inscription, placed in a simple rectangualr frame in the southeast corner of the carpet, bore the signature of the mosaicist
Anastase, son of Domitianos, mosaic artist.
Anne Michel, Les Eglises d’Epoque Byzantine et Umayyade de La Jordanie V-VIII Siecle (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 201–2.
The date of construction of the church remains unknown; the laying of the mosaic is attributed to the seventh century after the stylistic analysis of the pavement and the reading of the dedication inscription.
The church was remodeled, in particular by the addition of the room in frontage, which would have involved, according to the excavators, the installation of the north door. The published plan does not allow examining the solutions of continuity of the masonry, but the steps which precede this door inside the church can indicate a raising of the ground outside the building and a date quite late for the gate.
According to the typological parallels observed in the monastery of Khirbat al-Murassas and the Umayyad palaces of the citadel of Amman and Khirbat al-Mafjar, the excavators dated the installation of benches in the church during the eighth century.
The building was abandoned after the iconoclastic mutilations of the pavement, which were repaired.
Anne Michel, Les Eglises d’Epoque Byzantine et Umayyade de La Jordanie V-VIII Siecle (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 202.
Desreumaux, Alain, and Jean-Baptiste Humbert. “La Première Campagne de Fouilles à Kh. Es-Samra: 1981.” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 26 (1982): 173–82.
Humbert, Jean-Baptiste, and A. Desreumaux. “Huit Campagnes de Fouilles au ‘Khirbet Es-Samra’ (1981-1989).” Revue biblique 97, no. 2 (1990): 252–69.
Michel, Anne. Les Eglises d’Epoque Byzantine et Umayyade de La Jordanie V-VIII Siecle. Turnhout: Brepols, 2001.
Piccirillo, Michele. “Ricerca storica-archaeologica in Giordania III (1983).” Liber annuus – Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, no. 33 (1983): 391–424.
———. The Mosaics of Jordan. American Center of Oriental Research Publications; No. 1. Amman, Jordan: American Center of Oriental Research, 1993.
- Destroyed except for the line of the base of the chancel screen.
- The nave was decorated with a mosaic carpet as was the “sacristy.”
- Main entrance from courtyard in the north
- West entrance to sacristy
- South entrance from a side room?
- Directly next to St. Peter church but lacking a connecting doorway (double church?)
- Protruding apse
- Entrances from the east on either side of the apse
- Π-shaped chancel
- Multiple entrances on all sides
- Ambo on the south
- Exterior chapel to the north
- Π-shaped chancel
- Inscribed mono-apsidal
- Rooms on both sides of the apse
- West entrance
- Ambo on south
- Baptistry in room south of the apse or in the south aisle
- Separate south chapel
- South entrances from side rooms/chapels
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel
- Tri-apsidal usually inscribed
- Altars in the side apses
- Relics and Reliquaries
- Ambo to the north
- Baptistry outside off the atrium or the north aisle
- Marble furnishings (high status imperial association) and imported fine wares
- Decorative elements on chancel screens [specify]
- Separate north chapel
Syrian to Roman conversion
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel replacing Π-shaped chancel
- Side apses inserted into rooms adjacent to the main apse
- Separate north chapel (suppressed south chapel)
- Liturgical furniture with decorative motifs like those at St. Clemente in Rome
It is a hall church. I could have had a rectangular chancel or a single apse.