New Book: Mount Machaerus: An Introduction to the Historical, Archaeological, and Pilgrim Site Overlooking the Dead Sea in the Kingdom of Jordan

31 January 2024

The American Center of Research is pleased to announce publication of Mount Machaerus: An Introduction to the Historical, Archaeological, and Pilgrim Site Overlooking the Dead Sea in the Kingdom of Jordan. Written by Hungarian archaeologist and architect Győző Vörös, who led the recent excavations there, and illustrated in full color, this volume encapsulates in an accessible, engaging manner the history of this Roman-era hilltop site and its excavations. It explores both scholarly and artistic interpretations of Machaerus and the biblical story of John the Baptist, for which it is a crucial setting. Whether a reader wishes to learn about this palace of Herod the Great from afar or as a tourist walking among its stones, Mount Machaerus and its full-color illustrations serve as a guide, with fascinating stories and insights. 

In keeping with the American Center of Research’s goal of advancing knowledge of Jordan and the interconnected region, past and present, the full volume is offered as an open-access PDF. Hardcover and paperback editions may be purchased via Amazon.

Győző Vörös is an Academician Fellow and research director of the Hungarian Academy of Arts and project director of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, to name just three of his many appointments. His many honors include the Knight’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit (2016), the Best Scholarly Book in Archaeology Publication Award (Biblical Archaeology Society, 2021), and, in 2022, both the Gold Medal of the Pontificate and the Széchenyi Prize, the highest Hungarian state award for scientific life achievement and outstanding academic contribution.

From the foreword by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal:

The evocative Citadel of Mukawer, or Machaerus to the ancient world, is a site that is redolent with the narrative and wonder of history and faith. It is one of those very special places that seem to exist beyond time and in its own space. It sits in a deeply imbued landscape that brings to life the resting chronicle of belief, devotion and struggle. This abandoned hilltop site with its faded but once-magnificent fortified royal palace, occupies a strategic point overlooking the Dead Sea in the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It has been known to us for generations as Qalat Mishnaqa. This is the place where, according to the Roman historian Flavius Josephus (AJ XVIII 5, 2), one of the holiest men of the biblical era, the Prophet Yahya ibn Zakariyya, was imprisoned and executed by the Jewish Tetrarch Herod Antipas almost 2,000 years ago. This story of death for faith and for love of an ideal makes Mukawer so much more than a fascinating archaeological site. It sits in the landscape of religious memory as a testament and place of pilgrimage, not only for Muslims, but for Christians too. In our country, our beloved Prophet Yehya is Saint John the Baptist by another name. He is the valiant predecessor of Jesus Christ and, indeed, he is rightly considered to be the Patron Saint of Jordan.

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