Sites & cities that bear the name of Deir Alla

Deir Alla

Today in : Jordan
First trace of activity : ca. 16th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 5th century B.C.E
Recorded names : 'Darʿala?, Tar'ellah'?, Sukkot?

Description : Deir Alla (Arabic: دير علا) is the site of an ancient Near Eastern town in Balqa Governorate, Jordan, thought to be the biblical Pethor. The town was a sanctuary and metal-working centre, ringed by smelting furnaces built against the exterior of the city walls, whose successive rebuildings, dated by ceramics from the Late Bronze Age, sixteenth century BCE, to the fifth century BCE, accumulated as a tell based on a low natural hill. The hopeful identification of the site as the Biblical Sukkot is not confirmed by any inscription at the site. However, in Jerusalem Talmud Zeraim Shevi'it 9:2, Sukkot is referred as 'Darʿala or Tar'ellah' hence maybe deformed later into Deir Alla.Deir Alla was the first Bronze Age city excavated in Jordan. The initial expectations were of establishing a relative chronology of Palestine pottery in the transition between the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, established through meticulous stratigraphy. It was intended to span a gap between established chronologies at Jericho and Samaria.The oldest sanctuary at Deir Alla dates to the Late Bronze Age; it was peacefully rebuilt at intervals, the floor being raised as the tell accumulated height, and the squared altar stone renewed, each new one placed atop the previous one. The final sanctuary was obliterated in a fierce fire; the blackened remains of an Egyptian jar bearing the cartouche of Queen Twosret gives a terminus post quem of ca 1200 BCE, a date consonant with other twelfth-century urban destruction in the Ancient Near East. Unlike some other destroyed sites, Deir Alla's habitation continued after the disaster, without a break, into the Iron Age; the discontinuity was a cultural one, with highly developed pottery of a separate ceramic tradition post-dating the destruction. On 20 August 2010, it recorded a scorching temperature of 51.1C, the new official highest temperature in the history of Jordan.

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