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Conservation of early Islamic bathhouse in Al Muwaqqar under way

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Sep 25,2021 - Last updated at Sep 25,2021

A part of a bathhouse considered dating back to early Islamic period in Al Muwaqqar area near Amman (Photo by Saeb Rawashdeh)

AMMAN — A team of archaeologists, restorers and students is currently working on the documentation and conservation of an early Islamic bath complex in Al Muwaqqar near Amman, noted a German professor of archaeology. 

With the permission of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, the project is jointly directed by Professor Oliver Pilz, long-term lecturer of the German Academic Exchange Service  at the University of Jordan’s School of Archaeology and Tourism, and Ruba Seisah, who is an assistant professor at the same university, organisers said.  

“The project is fully funded by the Cultural Conservation Programme of the German Federal Foreign Office through the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Jordan,” Pilz said.

The complex includes a bathhouse with mosaic floors as well as various water installations, including a large reservoir providing the water supply, Seisah said.

She added that inside the bathhouse, there are two water basins originally clad with marble slabs. 

“The basins are supplied and discharged by a complex system of stone channels and terracotta pipes,” said Pilz.

Under the guidance of Italian mosaic restoration expert Franco Sciorilli, a team of two Jordanian restorers is working on the consolidation and conservation of the four mosaic floors of the bath complex, Pilz noted. 

“The mosaic floors, which are unfortunately partly destroyed, are polychrome and show geometrical and floral motifs, such as interlaced bands, lozenges and flowers,” he said.

Located approximately 700m southeast of Qasr Al Muwaqqar, one of the so-called Umayyad desert castles, the bathhouse was used by those who resided in the castle, the caliph and his entourage, explained Pilz.

The bathhouse dates back to the early Islamic period and this theory is supported by its connection with the Qasr Al Muwaqqar, noted Seisah.

 

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