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[abs] The Ayyubid palace in Shawbak

The Ayyubid palace in Shawbak
stratigraphic building archaeology and data management infrastructure.

Pierre Drap*, Michele Nucciotti**


*   Cnrs L-SIS Marseille (F)
**             Università degli Studi di Firenze (I)



The monumental audience hall of the Ayyubid palace in Shawbak is the most relevant architecture survived in the country (and not only) from the age of Salah Al Din and his dynasty.

The building of Shawbak’s palace marked the transformation of the ancient Crusader castle into the new Ayyubid capital city of southern Jordan and was paralleled by the 1212 rebuilding of the urban grid of the fortress.

The Shawbak palace, most probably built under Al Mu’azzam ’Isa (1208-1227), shows a number of distinctive features that, under the archaeological respect, raise some interesting points about southern Jordan in early Ayyubid times.

On one side the palace made an extensive reuse of preserved structures from the former Latin royal palace of Shawbak, highlighting a physical continuity of the see of power between Crusader and Ayyubid times.

Nonetheless, from another point of view, the new palace was also a very innovative structure, both in terms of architectural typology as well as regards building and stone-dressing techniques.

The archaeological study of wall stratigraphies helped clarify hows and whens building took place at this relevant architectural complex.

Archaeological analyses at the Ayyubid palace were carried out by the team of University of Florence in the framework of Jordanian-Italian Shawbak Project between 2005 and 2009. The study underwent a sequence of phases including stratigraphy reconnaissance, 3D photogrammetric modelling and elaboration of stratigraphic elevations based on ortho-rectified photographs. The archaeological study was paralleled by the development and upgrading of a comprehensive archaeological data management infrastructure, developed by the L-SIS lab of Marseille (France) Cnrs, which is in charge of IT development in the framework of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Petra and Shawbak.

The paper presents the first results of the archaeological study on Shawbak Ayyubid palace as well as the most recent upgrades of Show-Back data management system, with special reference to the features used for the discussed case study.

The paper will be presented to - ICHAJ 11

CHANGES AND CHALLENGES – 11th International Conference on the History and Archeology of Jordan
Under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

Paris, 7–14 June 2010


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