The capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Amman, has a special hill that is of particular interest to archaeology and history enthusiasts. Referred to by locals as Jabal al-Qal’a and known to western tourists in the city as the Citadel or Citadel Hill, this mount holds a wealth of interesting sites for the history-obsessed traveller, from the ruins of the Temple of Hercules to those of the Byzantine Church of Amman. One place that every traveller passing by the Citadel should definitely go to is the Jordan Archaeological Museum, also perched on the hill’s heights. This relatively small museum-it has only two storeys, with a total of 525 metres between them-has some big pieces, so to speak, with exhibits spanning a vast period of the region’s history, all the way back from the Paleolithic to the 15th century.
The Jordan Archaeological Musem was founded in 1951, and it holds a true treasure trove of information in its modest establishment. Aside from an impressive coin collection, it also house countless sculptures and pottery pieces from the Umayyad and Mamluk periods, as well as-surely among the most popular relics from this area-several of the very well-known Dead Sea Scrolls.
It is perhaps not so great a surprise that there are so many ancient pieces of human history to be found here. This as one of the first regions in the world to see civilisation, after all, and Amman itself already had a settlement of farming peoples by the New Stone Era, in the site of ‘Ain Ghazal. It has passed through the hands of the peoples of Assyria and Persia, the rulers of Macedonia, and even the Ancient Romans. It is a place, in other words, with a history so old it can barely be traced back to its origins any longer.
Some points of the past are easier to trace than others, of course. Take the nearby excavation site of ‘Ain Ghazal, which has left a considerable amount of evidence for archaeologists and historians studying civilisations in this region during the Neolithic. Several of the ‘Ain Ghazal artefacts, including the famous human figurines of plaster from the site, can in fact be found in the Jordan Archaeological Museum, and tend to attract a lot of people even today. Besides these figurines, you can also check out the Iron Age sarcophagi in the museum, as well as the establishment’s copy of the Mesha Stele of 850 BCE, which commemorated the Moabite king’s triumphs against the people of Israel. And besides these are so many more other artefacts of interest.
If you do plan to pay a visit to the Jordan Archaeological Museum, you should take note of the proper times and days for a visit. The museum’s regular hours would be from 9:00-17:00hrs in the winter season, but it keeps longer hours in summer, staying open until 19:00hrs. Check if there are any holidays before you go, of course, since it shall be closed then, as well as during Fridays.