Jericho: Hisham's Palace (Khirbet el-Mafjar)

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Hisham’s Palace (Qasr Hisham; Khirbet el-Mafjar) is located about 2000 meters due north of the center of Jericho and approximately 1500 meters northwest of Tell al-Sultan. It was once connected to the Tell by an aqueduct. The site served as a winter palace during the early Islamic period (the Umayyad Dynasty) of the early 8th century. Construction is contributed to Caliph Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik and/or his successor, al-Walid II. Excavations began in earnest in the 1930’s and have continued intermittently to the present. The palace complex includes a pavilion (which had a fountain), palace (with cold bath or “sirdab” and expansive courtyard), multiple mosques, a domed audience hall with elaborate bath system of its own, grape press, stables, several gates, and a few other structures related to the agricultural section of the estate. The site is known for outstanding mosaics, particularly in the audience hall. Photos in this collection were taken by Dr. Beth M. Sheppard during May of 2023.