For many decades, winters in the Badia meant lower temperatures and an occasional night near freezing. Lack of rainfall in winter often meant adding a second season of drought on top of summer’s usual dry conditions. However, in recent years the winters have been a time of colder temperatures and intense rainfall. In many ways, it’s wonderful news: Jordan’s northeast is drought-ridden and always in desperate need of extra water for local peoples’ homes, animals, and farms.
These rains encourage the Umm el-Jimal Project’s efforts to restore Umm el-Jimal’s ancient water channels and reservoirs to collect this precious resource. In 2010, local authorities and project members completed a preliminary clearing of the site’s main Roman-era water channel. Since then, each winter a number of Umm el-Jimal’s eighteen reservoirs once again have filled with water.
Last week brought the same intense rainfall to northern Jordan, but included a twist that has only happened a few times in living memory: Snow fell and accumulated on the ruins. Project archaeologist Muaffaq Hazza captured this rare event with a series of beautiful photos that give us a unique view of Umm el-Jimal to kick off 2013.
Text by Jeff DeKock, photos by Muaffaq Hazza