Suggested Reading List (Archaeology of Jordan)

Suggested Reading List compiled by Barbara A. Porter, ACOR Director

The ACOR Library has some 35,000 volumes on Jordan and the region. You can readily see our holdings by pulling down the catalogue from the library menu.

Jordan – Archaeology, Ancient History and Nature

Myriam Ababsa (ed.). Atlas of Jordan: History, Territories and Society. Beirut: Institut Français du Proche Orient, 2013. This long awaited succinct summary of Jordan’s physical conditions, history, and contemporary challenges was only published in July 2013.

 Russell B. Adams (ed.). Jordan: An Archaeological Reader. Equinox Publishing, Ltd. 2008. This diachronic perspective contains chapters based on historical period and is an excellent academic source for understanding the archaeology of Jordan with extensive bibliographic references.

 Piotr Bienkowski (ed.). Treasures from an Ancient Land: The Art of Jordan. Trustees of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, 1991.

 Thomas E. Levy, P.M. Michèle Daviau, Randall W. Younker and May Shaer (eds.). Crossing Jordan: North American Contributions to the Archaeology of Jordan. London: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2007. This volume was created for the 10th International Conference on the History of Archaeology of Jordan for which I was a main organizer in 2007 in Washington D.C. It provides very detailed information on recent work in Jordan by American and Canadian teams.

 Michele Piccirillo. The Mosaics of Jordan. Amman: American Center of Oriental Research. (1993, reprinted). ACOR’s best seller with helpful text and wonderful photographs documenting the mosaics known in Jordan up to 1992 as written by the late Father Michele who presided over Mt. Nebo until his death in 2008.

David Kennedy. The Roman Army in Jordan. London: Council for British Research in the Levant, 2004. This small volume is a must for those trying to track the forts and installations established in the Roman period. Perhaps my favorite book on Jordan.

David Kennedy and Robert Bewley. Ancient Jordan from the Air. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2004. Captured in this volume are a fraction of the thousands of aerial photos taken by this team that are available via and searching this site is highly recommended.

Burton MacDonald. Pilgrimage in Early Christian Jordan: A Literary and Archaeological Guide. Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books, 2010. This Canadian scholar with long ties with ACOR presents both background and site specific entries to introduce many sites.

Isabelle Ruben. Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of Petra. Amman: Petra National Trust, 2006. This is a very handy guide that is relevant beyond Petra as well.

Isabelle Ruben and Jane Taylor. Beyond the Jordan: Baptism, Prophecy and Pilgrimage East of the River Jordan. Amman: The Latin Vicariate/Fund for the Church of the Baptism of Christ, 2010. The main premise is to follow the route of the 4th century female pilgrim Egeria.

Jane Taylor. Jordan: Images from the Air. (Amman: Al Uzza Books, 2005). Through aerial photography, Jordan is captured from north to south. 


Northedge, Alastair. Studies on Roman and Islamic Amman Volume 1: History, Site and Architecture. New York:Oxford University Press. (1992)


David Kennedy. Gerasa and the Decapolis: A ‘Virtual Island’ in Northwest Jordan. London: Duckworth, 2007. An overview of the area around Jerash which encompasses recent studies.

Madaba and Region

Patricia M. Bikai and Thomas A. Dailey (ed.). Madaba: Cultural Heritage. Amman: ACOR, 1996. This ACOR publication includes chapters on the history of Madaba and archaeological work conducted there at the time ACOR was helping establish a park.

Michele Piccirillo and Eugenio Alliata, eds. The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997. Travelling through theByzantine Umayyad Period. Jerusalem: Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. (1998)

Douglas R. Clark, Larry G. Herr, Øystein S. LaBianca, and Randall W. Younker (eds.). The Madaba Plains Project: Forty Years of Archaeological Research in Jordan’s Past. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing Ltd. Insightful summary of the archaeological activity around Madaba.


Christian Augé and Jean-Marie Dentzer. Petra: Lost City of the Ancient World. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000. Part of the “Discoveries” series with many illustrations and facts on Petra and an accessible version of the French view of Petra.

Patricia M. Bikai (ed.). The Petra Church, by Z. T. Fiema, C. Kanellopoulos, T. Waliszewski, and R. Schick. Amman: ACOR, 2001. This publication of the work conducted by ACOR in Petra from 1992 to 1998 is multi-authored and very detailed. For the Petra Papyri found in the church in December 1993, the four volumes published from 2002 to 2013 are available at ACOR.

Glenn Markoe (ed.). Petra Rediscovered: Lost City of the Nabataeans. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers in association with the Cincinnati Art Museum, 2003. This catalogue for the major exhibit first viewed at the Museum of Natural History in New York has very important entries on aspects on the world of the Nabataeans and on the fairly recent excavations in Petra such as the ACOR Petra Church.

Judith McKenzie. The Architecture of Petra. London: British Academy, British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, British Institute in Amman for Archaeology and History. (1990)

Jane Taylor. Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. London: I. B. Tauris, 2001, 2007, 2012. This book provides a very accessible background on the Nabataeans into Byzantine time.

Jane Taylor. Petra. Amman: Al Uzza Books, 1993, 1196, 2005. This succinct account of the important facts needed to understand Petra is one that I tell all who go to Petra to acquire.

Marguerite van Geldermalsen. Married to a Bedouin. London: Virago Press, 2006. With many subsequent reprintings in English and other languages.

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