Main image: Selection of objects

Recovered Material Culture

While Umm el-Jimal is often referenced by scholars for its excellent architecture and inscriptions, over the past four decades excavations and surveys have revealed a significant number of everyday objects. Archaeologists often refer to recovered items like these collectively as material culture, since the objects reflect the cultures and perspectives of the people that created them. Thinking carefully about their design, use, and decoration may provide information about how their creators lived.

Broadly speaking, objects found at Umm el-Jimal illustrate the lives of its citizens as a rural community focused on animal husbandry and agriculture. In addition to widespread Ceramics, lamps and other household goods, small jewelry and cosmetic items, small amounts of glassware, and ornamental architectural features have all been uncovered in the site's homes, buildings, and cemeteries. Together, these everyday artifacts—and their location within the project's excavations—are evidence which reinforces the perspective that while Umm el-Jimal's residents successfully adapted to life on the frontiers of empire, neither was the town as materially prosperous as more cosmopolitan centers such as Bostra.

Lamp closeup

View the Online Exhibit

To discover some of the specific artifacts recovered at Umm el-Jimal, head to the Museum section's interactive Artifact Exhibit. The exhibit includes recovery details for a variety of objects, as well as more information about their use and social context.