Jawa, a unique Chalcolithic fortress town over 5000 years old. Massive black basalt walls loom ahead on a steep, rocky ledge alongside the wadi. Jawa is an enigmatic site- its construction was an enormous undertaking. Yet the people who built it, their origins unknown, abandoned their town after less than 50 years.

Perhaps the greatest skill of the Jawaites was Hydrology. In such a bleak environment where springs are rare and access to ground water virtually impossible it is crucial to harness the winter rains. Over 8km of stone canals, diversions, dams and reservoirs at Jawa and along the Wadi Rajil attest to the complex and efficient water system devised by the Jawaites. Rainwater was deflected into canals at three points, which brought the water to circular reservoirs, several of, which are clearly visible to the west and south of the town.

A few decades at most, after the fortress and water system were built, Jawa was attacked. The excavator suggests that this complex was a Middle Bronze Age caravanserai, a stopping place on the route between Syria/Mesopotamia and Arabia and Palestine.


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