Barracks ("Later Castellum")

Umm al-Jimal, Jordan

The provincial town of Umm al-Jimal, 50km northeast of Amman, was garrisoned by Roman soldiers from about 200 AD onward. This triggered an expansion of trade and commerce, until by 500 AD the town could boast a population of three or four thousand people. The precincts were gradually abandoned following the 7th century Arab conquest and 8th century earthquakes, although they were briefly re-occupied by the French Army in the 1920s, and by the Druze in the 1930s.

This view from the east shows the Roman fort, dated 412/413, that was built in the south end of town (not to be confused with an earlier castellum in the northeast part of town). The fort was constructed, like the rest of the town, from the abundant local stone of black basalt. It consists of a wall surrounding an inner courtyard, the barracks rooms inside of the wall, and two later Byzantine towers that were added around 600 AD. The first tower is seen to the left in this photo; the second tower, in the middle of the photo behind the wall; and the entrance, at the right.