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Ancient Bir Madhkur

Located near Wadi Namala, Bir Madhkur is a principal route into Petra. It is a major defensive structure situated in the foothills of Jebel esh-Shera, a mountain range prolonging the mountains of Moab to the east of the Wadi Araba. Throughout the Nabataean -- Roman -- Byzantine periods a number of trade routes crossed over the Wadi Araba linking Petra -- Alla -- Gaza -- Jerusalem. Bir Madhkur may have served as a way-station for the traders as they crossed through the Wadi Araba.

Commanding the site of Bir Madhkur is a small castellum, which is a quadriburgium with four corner towers, measuring just over 30 meters square . The castellum here is in an exceedingly ruinous state with much of the northern wall destroyed by local bulldozing and robbing. The walls, two courses wide, were constructed of worked limestone blocks. Compartments or rooms abut the interior of the wall curtain and surround an open courtyard. The location of the gateway into the fort could not be determined during the time of our visit but probably existed along the damaged northern wall. A large cemetery is located to the northeast ...

Bir Madhkur Project (Wadi Araba Archaeological Research Project)

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium