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German scholar explores Jordan’s ancient monasteries

8 Oct 2017

AMMAN — The oldest known monastery in Jordan is on Mount Nebo, a place which the Roman female pilgrim Egeria visited at the end of 4th century AD, said Jutta Häser, who received her PhD at Free University of Berlin in 1998.

“We know about around 15 monasteries in the Byzantine period all over Jordan but probably there were more,” the German archaeologist, specialising in Near Eastern Archaeology, noted.

Monasticism came from Egypt to Jordan, she explained, adding that monastic communities must have been an important part of society in the Byzantine period like in other regions.

However, since we have only very few excavated sites and even less historical sources, it is hard to assess their relevance, Häser told The Jordan Times in a recent e-mail interview.

“Most of the monasteries we know can be dated to the 5th to 7th century,” she continued, noting that “we know some sites by mosaic inscriptions which existed till the early 8th century”.

The end of monasticism was caused by probably several reasons, she explained.