Excavations at Hisham’s Palace

Hisham's Palace

Last week’s staff breakfast, presented by Dr Mahmoud Hawari, Curator of Islamic Collections at the BM, focussed on the excavations at Hisham’s Palace, an 8th century ‘Desert Palace’ 3km north of Tell es-Sultan, ancient Jericho.

Hisham’s Palace is an important early Islamic, Umayyad palace with spectacular architecture and decorative arts including stucco sculpture and carved stone, as well as stunning, now restored, mosaic floors.

A landscape survey of the area revealed a boundary wall enclosing the palace estate, and an aquaduct, reservoir, and water management system. The palace would have generated income via the sale of produce from the estate, as well as being a retreat for local aristocracy.

Hisham’s Palace has undergone five seasons of excavation and survey, and the teams working on the site come from Birzeit University, Palestine (one of whom will be attending this year’s ITP!), Bergen University, Norway and University College London.

The nearby town of Tell es-Sultan/Ancient Jericho has been put forward to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Find out more by following the links below.