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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“Well, at least it’s a dry heat…”: Roman Soldiers at ‘Ayn Gharandal on the Arabian Frontier

Erin Darby, Assistant ProfessorRobert Darby, LecturerCollege of Arts and Sciences - Department of Religious Studies

Located in one of the most extreme physical environments on earth, the archaeological site of ‘Ayn Gharandal, Jordan, lies along the eastern frontier of the Late Roman and Byzantine empires and contains a fort, a bathhouse, and an aqueduct system. For the past four years, the ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project, under the direction of Robert Darby and Erin Darby, has surveyed and excavated structures at the site, where even the preliminary results promise to contribute greatly to our understanding of the Late Roman military and its control of regional trade networks, civilian populations, and natural resources in the Middle East. This presentation will demonstrate the importance of ‘Ayn Gharandal by first describing the regional and environmental context, discussing the preliminary finds from survey and excavation, and drawing conclusions from the data about the Late Roman army’s presence in this desolate region and the soldiers garrisoned at ‘Ayn Gharandal.​

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