Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Biblical and/or Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology, PhD

First Advisor

Randall W. Younker

Second Advisor

Paul J. Ray

Third Advisor

Constance E. C. Gane



Architectural models can be described as small, ceramic, house-shaped structures that come in an often bewildering array of shapes and sizes. They appear all over the ancient Near East, and although evidence shows that they were created as early as the Neolithic period, they seem to have peaked in popularity and proliferation during the Iron Age. A few studies and several typologies have been offered over the years, but none have addressed iconography or artistic motifs as well as shape. Furthermore, no in-depth typology of architectural models within the country of Jordan has been offered. This dissertation explores the symbiotic relationship between art-historical analysis and archaeology by comparing mostly unpublished architectural models and fragments from two sites in Jordan, Tall al-'Umayri and Khirbet 'Ataruz, and paralleling them with the larger corpus of architectural models from surrounding regions.


Drawing on previous studies and typologies, this study involves a comprehensive description of each object from an art-historical viewpoint. Visual inspection and study of these objects first-hand was placed against a broader picture put forth by publications, focusing on iconography, potential interpretation, and architectural models in general. Positioned within the context of the archaeological setting, this analysis has allowed for suggested interpretations about the iconography, creation, use, and proposed cultic practices of which these objects were part.

Results and Conclusions

The results of this study have shown that the architectural models and fragments chosen for research were an important part of a thriving cultic life during the Iron Age at both Tall al-'Umari and Khirbet 'Ataruz. The study has also revealed a busy architectural model industry that is demonstrated by the varying styles, ability levels, and cultural influences found within each object. By analyzing the formal artistic qualities of each object within the archaeological context, the importance that these objects had upon the lives of those who created them as well as the patrons who utilized and worshiped through them has been demonstrated. The analysis of fragments along with more complete forms has also allowed for a greater picture of distribution and has revealed that these objects were more common than previously thought. The compilation of the data gathered in this study called for a new type of typology to be created in order to unify and streamline research for the architectural models of Transjordan. The creation of the Madaba Plains Architectural Model Typology allows for a more streamlined categorization based on type and ornamentation and is easily adaptable as new data comes to light.

Subject Area

'Umayri, Tall al- (Jordan); Khirbet 'Ataruz; Ma'daba (Jordan)--Antiquities; Jordan--Antiquities; Excavations (Archaeology)--Jordan; Ceramics--Jordan


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