Jabbok River valley inhabited and irrigated for millennia

A recent report by Dutch researchers calls attention to the relation of the irrigation, especially that in the Zerqa River triangle of Jordan, to population and the nature of the communities.

You can make major discoveries by walking across a field and picking up every loose item you find. Dutch researcher Eva Kaptijn succeeded in discovering – based on 100,000 finds – that the Zerqa Valley in Jordan had been successively inhabited and irrigated for more than 13,000 years. But it was not just communities that built irrigation systems: the irrigation systems also built communities.

Archaeologist Eva Kaptijn has given up digging in favour of gathering. With her colleagues, she has been applying an intensive field exploration technique: 15 metres apart, the researchers would walk forward for 50 metres. On the outward leg, they’d pick up all the earthenware and, on the way back, all of the other material. This resulted in more than 100,000 finds, varying from about 13,000 years to just a few decades old. Based on further research on the finds and where they were located, Kaptijn succeeded in working out the extent of habitation in the Zerqa Valley in Jordan over the past millennia.

Read the longer report here.

The Zerqa River is known as the Jabbok in the Bible. It is probably best known as the place where Jacob met with Esau as he returned from Paddan Aram, and where his name was changed to Israel (Genesis 32).

The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. (Genesis 32:22 ESV)

Jordan utilizes the water of the Jabbok (Zerqa) for irrigatation, especially in the Jordan Valley. This photo which I made last year shows the Jabbok a few miles from the Jordan Valley. The mountains are in the Biblical land of Gilead. Before the river reaches this point much of the water has been caught in reservoirs for use by the Jordanians.

The Jabbok (Zerqa) River near the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Jabbok (Zerqa) River near the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

HT: Biblical Paths.

One response to “Jabbok River valley inhabited and irrigated for millennia

  1. Hello Ferrell,

    I am a youth director at an Episcopal Church in Colorado. I was wondering if I may use the image above for a Google site I am creating for my students. I have named the site “Jabbok River”, as this will be a meeting place where we may grapple with our concepts of God and, prayerfully, learn about our true identities in God, limp and all.

    I think this is one of the most beautiful images of the Jabbok on the web, and I would be most grateful if you would allow me to use it.

    In peace,
    Joe Domko

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