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The Jawan Chamber Tomb

Adapted from a report by F.S. Vidal, Dammam, December 1953

I. Description of work and remains:

    On March 22, 1952, an unidentified building, buried inside a mound of earth, was accidentally discovered at the Jawan quarry, which is operated by Aramco and lies 6 kilometers north of Safwa . The find was reported on the following morning. On the afternoon of the same day I made a preliminary investigation.

    March 25th, Mr. T.C. Barger and I reported on this to His Highness Amir Saud Ibn Jiluwi, and, as the building was within a lease area for which the company was responsible, His Highness asked the Company to undertake a complete archaeological investigation and report to him on the results. This is being done in this memorandum, after completion of the main portion of the work, which required four and half months of excavation, and one and a half years of laboratory studies. Further laboratory and museum consultation work is needed in order to fill in the less important details, and this work is being continued.

    The Jawan building studied is a large chamber tomb (roughly 25' by 70'), with the rectangular central chamber, entered into through a long passage coming in from the west. Out of the central chamber open 5 alcoves: one to the east, and two each to the south and north. The north and south alcoves have one burial pit each, while the east alcove has two, one behind the other.

    On the outside of the building (see figs 1 and 3) were four additional burial boxes, built against the wall of the main structure: at the northeast, southeast, south and southwest. The entire tomb is constructed of the local limestone. The walls are of limestone rubble and have been faced with juss (the local gypsum mortar) on the outside. The inside walls are also of limestone, but cut in very fine rectangular blocks, fitted together with very little mortar (see fig.4).

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