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Trench O

LOCATION: the ridge on the western side of the complex
DIMENSIONS: ca. 7 x 6 m
INTERPRETATION: a room belonging to a large structure (see Trench K) which existed at the site in the Nabataean-Roman times, i.e., before the monastic/pilgrimage complex was built. The function of the room during the Byzantine period is unknown.

DESCRIPTION: the excavations exposed a large, well-built room with 3 arches, which features several phases of occupation. Its original walls were built of large ashlars, in Nabataean style. Probably, the room was originally two-story high, the lower one supported by arches. Only a floor buildup is evidenced for this phase. Following a (seismic?) disaster, the room was rebuilt. The arches received supportive walls, and a new floor was laid out which consisted of layers of mortar, flat stones and a plastered top surface. Another disaster ended this phase of occupation but the room was again rebuilt, including the arches and their supporting installations. A new mortar floor was laid out ca 30 cm higher than the earlier one. In the center of the room a pit was dug, probably a storage place for food or valuables. After another damage the room was gradually abandoned.

FINDS: coins

Text: Zbigniew T. Fiema