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Elusa (Haluza) - From Nabataean Trading Post to Late Antique Metropolis in the Northern Negev


The city Elusa (Haluza), which was founded by the Nabataeans, is located at the northern edge of the Negev desert und was probably established as a caravan station on the incense route controlled by Petra that runs from Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea in the 3rd century BC. From Roman imperial times to late antiquity, it developed into the largest urban center of the region. Due to a period of humidity lasting from the 3rd to 6th century AD, one of the most producing wine-growing regions of the eastern Mediterranean developed in the northern Negev with far-reaching trading connections. Elusa was the administrative and economic center with the only theater in the region and its own bishop’s see. Today, the city is part of the UNESCO world heritage “Incense Route”. The settlement with ca. 45 ha surface area and its large necropoles lays, mostly unexplored, beneath the desert sands. So far it has only been examined in some rather small areas. The structure and development between the 3rd century BC and 8th century AD is mostly unknown. The project aims to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the city and its surrounding area by using non-invasive methods (e.g. remote sensing, geophysical prospections, surveys, geochemical soil analysis), targeted stratigraphic excavations and manifold material analysis.





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Qualification thesis:

  • N. Pickartz, Durchführung und Auswertung von geophysikalischen Messungen auf der archäologischen Fundstelle Elusa (Master 2014)
  • Ch. Schöne, Forschungsgeschichte und Topographie von Elusa (Bachelor 2016)
  • S. Lehnig, Auswertung der Tierknochenfunde (Master 2016)
  • D. Wozniok, Auswertung des Oberflächensurveys (Master 2017)
  • L. Niehues, Nabatäische Karawansereien - Kontext und Versuch einer Typologisierung (Bachelor 2017)
  • Ch. Schöne, Elusa. Urbanistische Untersuchungen einer antiken Metropole im Negev (Master 2018)
  • Ch. Schöne, Stadt und Mikroregion im nördlichen Negev. Siedlungs- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte einer Wüstenrandregion (PhD project, since 2019)
  • F. Jordan, Untersuchungen zur christlichen Sakraltopographie von Elusa (PhD project, since 2019)
  • D. Wozniok, Abfallorganisation und ihre wirtschaftliche Bedeutung für die Städte in der Kaiserzeit und Spätantike (Dissertationsprojekt, since 2019)