Friday, April 25, 2008

Jordan Desert Castles - Qasr Kharaneh

This is the first of several brief notes regarding the local archaeology of the region I'll be working in this summer. I don't know if I'll have time to visit all of the sites I'll be listing here - but I'll give it the old "college try" as they say.

I thought I would start with Qasr Kharaneh as it is located directly to the north of where we will be working. You'll undoubtedly see more of this stucture as the summer progresses as we'll be going by this site on a daily basis.

I first visited this site back in 2000 when I did the "Desert Castle Tour" (as it is commonly referred to) with my wife, Tara, and a couple of friends (you know who you are - can we ever forget the "Osama Special" I had rented?). If I recall correctly - Tara never made it into the castle because the heat (and the long day - this was one of our last stops) had finally caught up with her - but I digress.

Qasr Kharaneh, or Kharaneh Castle is an Umayyad period building constructed around the 6th C. AD. There are many opinions on the function and use of this building and I am not going to bore you with the details - other than to say - while the building certainly looks like a castle - there are those who say it was just a glorified caravanserai (I can't say that word!) or that it was just a meeting place for Umayyad chief "mucky-mucks" to chat about business - an Umayyad "Camp David" if you will. Either way - its a cool structure, well preserved. Going inside the Qasr is like stepping back in time and you can just imagine all the goings on in the central courtyard. I hope to get a chance to spend some time inside the castle so I can take a bunch of pictures - who knows...maybe I'll even get to do some KAP of the building!

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