The Finnish Jabal Hārūn Project: An Assessment
Zbigniew Fiema [+]
University of Helsinki
The Finnish Jabal Haroun Project (FJHP) was a multidisciplinary investigation at Jabal Haroun (the Mountain of the Prophet Aaron) located near the ancient Nabataean city of Petra in southern Jordan. According to Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, the mountain is the burial place of Aaron, Moses’ brother. Between 1997 and 2013, the FJHP has carried out archaeological excavations at a Byzantine monastery located on the plateau of the mountain and dedicated to St. Aaron. The fieldwork has revealed that the sanctity of the mountain preceded the Byzantine period as the site was initially occupied by a Nabataean sanctuary of the 1st century BC/AD date. In the later 5th century, a basilica with adjacent chapel and the associated monastic infrastructure were built at the site. The Byzantine monastery which incorporated the earlier Nabataean remains, had a memorial character clearly associated with pilgrimages. The church was richly decorated with marble furnishings, glass wall mosaics and a mosaic floor in the narthex. The ecclesiastical occupation of the church had ended by the late 8th century but other structures were probably still in use in the Crusader period.