The Khirbet al-Khalde Archaeological Project

The Khirbet al-Khalde Archaeological Project is a joint international research project directed by Craig A. Harvey (University of Alberta, Canada), Emanuele E. Intagliata (University of Milan), and Rubina Raja (Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University). The aim of the project is to investigate the remains at Khirbet al-Khalde (Aqaba Governorate – southern Jordan), which in antiquity was located along an important communication and trade artery, the Via Nova Traiana.

The site is situated in the spectacular Wadi al-Yutm, a rocky gorge whose geology is dominated by granite and basalt. The most prominent archaeological features of the site are a rectangular fort defended by four corner towers and a presumed caravanserai. Other remains at the site include two watchtowers, a much-looted cemetery, a 1-km-long aqueduct and at least three rock-cut cisterns.

In July 2023, the project conducted an intensive survey of Khirbet al-Khalde, adopting an integrative and multiscalar methodological approach that included a total surface collection in selected areas of the site, an architectural survey, a damage and risk assessment, a study of past archaeological reports, aerial photographs, and satellite imagery, and drone photography. The site appears to have been occupied at least from the Nabataean period to Late Antiquity.

The Khirbet al-Khalde Archaeological Project is supported by the Augustinus and Carlsberg Foundations and the Danish National Research Foundation (grant: 119) (grants held by Rubina Raja). An ACOR grant (S. Thomas Parker Memorial Fund) was awarded to Craig A. Harvey to support the 2023 season.


Harvey, C. A., Intagliata, E. E., and Raja, R. 2024. Implementation of a multi-scalar approach to the survey of military and trade architecture in Jordan: the case of Khirbet al-Khalde. Antiquity 2024, 1–7.

Harvey, C. A., Intagliata, E. E., Mokránová, K., Raja, R., and Zoppi, M. 2024. ‘Cultural heritage damage assessment at Khirbet al-Khalde in a longue durée perspective: the impact of legacy data and multi-scalar methodologies on survey results’. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 12 (2), 172–195.

Harvey, C.A., Intagliata, E.E., and Raja, R. 2024. ‘Global trade and mobility in the Desert. New investigations at the fort and presumed caravanserai of Khirbet al-Khalde in the southern Jordanian Desert’. Current World Archaeology 123, 28–35.

Papers at conferences and seminars

Craig A. Harvey, Emanuele E. Intagliata, R. Raja, ‘Éclairages nouveaux sur le site archéologique de Khirbet al-Khalde (l’ancien Praesidium): un castellum et caravansérail situé le long de la frontière de l’Empire romain en Arabie’. In Classical Association of Canada 2024 Annual Conference (Quebec City,  Canada – 14–16/05/2024).

Craig A. Harvey, Emanuele E. Intagliata, Rubina Raja, Mara Zoppi, ‘Khirbet al-Khalde e Archeobenessere. Un’occasione mancata?’. In Archeobenessere – spunti di riflessione dagli scavi e ricerche condotte dall’Università degli Studi di Milano (Milano, Fondazione Luigi Rovati – 10/04/2024).

Craig A. Harvey, Emanuele E. Intagliata, Rubina Raja, ‘Introducing the Khirbet al-Khalde Archaeological Project: Initial Results from the Inaugural 2023 Survey Season’.In Annual meeting of the American Society of Oriental Research, session # 5B. Archaeology of Jordan I – Excavation Reports (Chicago, Hilton Chicago – 17/11/2023).

News from the project