Basta, Jordan: Mass Storage and Slaughterhouse city

Location: 30°14′N 35°32′E

Possibly biblical Kadesh Barnea

1.      See also Kadesh Barnea.

2.      See also Petra.

3.      See also Beida: Tool factory city of Moses at Kadesh Barnea.




The author is proposing that Basta was built, occupied and abandoned by the Hebrews in the Late Bronze age 1444-1406 BC. Although Basta has been dated to the PPN (Pre-pottery Neolithic) at around 6500 BC, this is impossible because it predates the creation of earth in 5554 BC. A more likely date of earliest possible occupation is after the Tower of Babel in 2850 BC.


Scripture and ancient literary sources locate Kadesh Barnea in the Petra area. Beidha (Little Petra) is located 5 km north of Petra. Basta is located 12 km SE of Petra on a natural valley that connects the two locations geographically. With an exodus population of around 3.5 million, an occupation in nomadic tents in a 20 km area centered at Petra is to be expected.


Beidha is a large industrial town for manufacturing stone and bone tools wherein no residential dwellings or food preparation or fires of any kind occurred.


Basta is a mass storage city and slaughterhouse where a huge assemblage of kosher bones were excavated. The percentages of pig (sus) bones found at Basta match other sites of known Hebrew occupation like Khirbet el-Maqatir, Shiloh and the cult altar on Mt. Ebal.


Basta was designed and built by a large population in a single short-term occupation phase as a workshop industrial city that lacked basic domestic sleeping and food preparation areas. Both Beidha and Basta, were suddenly abandoned and subsequently preserved by the blowing sands shortly thereafter. 


Beidha and Basta share many similarities:

First, both Basta and Beidha share a close geographic proximity. Basta is a short distance from Petra as you follow a large natural valley between the two cities. Topographically the two cities are connected by the natural terrain.


Second, It is clear that a large, well organized population arrived and founded both Beidha and Basta from a master blueprint plan. Both cities appear to be industrial, work centres that were not intended for residential dwelling. Based upon simple population dynamics in this part of the world, the earliest possible occupation date for both cities is after the Tower of Babel in 2850 BC in spite of the sites designation as PPN at 6500 BC. Basta and Beidha were both large industrial cities that served a large, well organized population and not used for residential dwellings.


Third, both Basta and Beidha feature rectangular-shaped buildings with red painted plaster floors


Fourth, both Beidha and Basta feature a large central room surrounded by smaller rectangular rooms.


Fifth, both Basta and Beidha were large scale commercial operations without residential domestic dwellings. They were work centers not living quarters. Basta was a dry food-storage as evidenced by the small 1x1 meter rooms with access windows, a slaughterhouse as evidenced by the massive assemblage of 100,000 kosher bones found in each of the large rooms, subterranean channels under plastered floors which featured fire places for smoke generation in each of the large rooms and a flint production city as evidenced by the massive dump of flint debitage (man-made chips of flint). Beidha was a manufacturing town for tools and jewelry made of bone, flint and seashells as evidenced by the small object finds through excavations on the floors of the various rooms.


Sixth, no cult center was identified in the excavations at Basta and Beidha.


Seventh, both Basta and Beidha experienced an abrupt, mass abandonment. The doorways of many of the rooms at Beidha were bricked up, sealing the only entrance into the rooms until the time of modern excavation. At Basta, the impressive height of the walls and the sand fill inside the rooms indicates the city was buried after abandoned by the sands soon after abandonment. If the city continued to be occupied, this sand could have easily been dug out and the city re-occupied.


Eighth, excavators found no kiln fired ceramics (pottery) at Basta and Beidha. This is why both sites are designated “pre-pottery Neolithic (PPN). However, there are a number of explanations why no pottery was found. Perhaps this was an extension of the miracle of the Hebrew’s clothing and shoes not wearing out for 40 years in the wilderness. Perhaps their pottery was miraculously prevented from breaking as were their shoes from wearing out. Since both cities were specialized industrial work centers wherein little or no food preparation was evidenced, maybe pottery was not in the city because it was not needed. At Beidha, the excavators noted that no firepits, tabuns or hearths were excavated in the entire city. Where there is no fire, there is no food preparation and no need for pottery. At Basta, a few tabun fragments were excavated along with numerous firepits in the large central rooms, but these may have been used to generate smoke to keep flies away from hanging meat and were therefore not used for food preparation.


Basta and Beidha are different in several ways:

First, while Beidha has one large central room, Basta has three!


Second, the surrounding rooms at Basta are much smaller than those at Beidha which were large enough for workshops. Basta had a network of very small cubicles that are 1 x 1 meter with windows at chest height for ventilation and access. These access windows face out into a large common area, but there are also windows between 1x1 meter cubical rooms.


Third, Basta was designed with an intricate pre-planned subterranean channel system dug into the floors of many of the rooms and then covered with large cap stones. While the design of covering cap stones resembles ancient drainage channels under the two city gates recently excavated at the 10th century city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, their function is puzzling because the channels “dead end” prevents the free flow of air through the channels or access to the outside. One articulated burial was were made in a channel, likely at the time of original construction. Three more jumbles of human bones were found in another channel with the heads arranged in a triangle pattern, likely put there after construction. Four buried bodies is a tiny number considering the large surrounding population and this indicates that these burials were exceptional. The Excavators concluded these channels were used as insulating air chambers to control moisture on the floor above and/or for burials, but their purpose for them remained a mystery. We propose that these channels were built under slaughter room floors of hanging meat in order to not only control moisture but to also function a fluid drain for liquids. Only the larger rooms had fires AND these subterranean channel networks under the floors. We agree with the excavators that the smaller 1x1 meter cubical rooms with the windows were likely used for mass food storage.


Fourth, while no fires, tabuns or hearths of any kind were excavated at Beidha, three large fireplaces were found at Basta, one in each of the three large central rooms. A large ash layer was found in one of the large rooms [number 1] on the surface of the floor in Area B of Basta. These fires were probably used to generate smoke to keep flies away from the hanging, processed meat. These fireplaces showed little evidence of food preparation. Again, only the large rooms at Basta had fires and only the large rooms had the channel network under the floor. It was a slaughterhouse.


Fifth, while a large assemblage of 100,000 kosher bones were found inside the large slaughterhouse rooms at Basta, very few bones were found at the tool factory at Beidha.


This evidence supports the author’s proposal that both Beidha and Basta might be the actual cities occupied by Moses during the conquest in 1444-1406 BC. This is highly speculative yes, but we are certain that the dating of these two cities by the excavators (6500 BC) is off by at least 3200 years because it cannot predate the flood in 3298 BC. This known error in dating represents up to a 100% deviation from the actual date. More research needs to be done in reexamining the dating of Basta and Beidha and pre-pottery Neolithic sites in general. PPN sites are dated with naturalistic evolutionary thinking and timescales solely on the basis of the lack of pottery. Carbon dating is notoriously inaccurate and must be “adjusted” to fit the presupposed times supplied by the excavators to the labs. Carbon dating labs refuse to do blind testing without verbal input of the final expected date. The author has first-hand evidence of labs requiring in advance of testing, where the sample came from and what is the expected date of the sample. Notice the “uncalibrated date” at Basta was ~6000 Before present which produced a date of about 4000 BC. While this is still impossible, being 700 years before the Noahic flood, it illustrates the nature of Carbon dating since this is still 2500 years too YOUNG to match the presupposed PPN date of 6500 BC and therefore needs to be “calibrated”.


“A charcoal date yielded an age of 6055 +/- 255 bp (HV 17192, uncalibrated).” (Basta I The Human Ecology, Gebel, Nissen, p65, 2004 AD)


Steven Rudd, 2006, October 2019




A. Dating the time of occupation:

1.          Associating any PPN site with the Hebrews at Kadesh Barnea in the Late Bronze Age (1444-1440 BC) is viewed by most professional archeologists as impossible and absurd. However, we know dating PPN to 6500 BC is also wrong because it predates the creation of the world in 5554 BC.

a.           PPN sites are determined superficially on the basis of a lack of pottery and rely very heavily on carbon dating.

b.           Carbon and radiometric dating are notoriously arbitrary and unreliable.

2.          “The basic sequence of the Neolithic period in the southern Levant was formulated by Kenyon following her extensive excavations at Jericho in the 1950s (1957; 1960; 1981). She suggested two pre-pottery phases, designated Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). These were followed by a settlement gap that lasted several centuries. Later, two successive pottery phases developed: the Pottery Neolithic A (PNA) and the Pottery Neolithic B (PNB). Kenyon's phasing of the earlier part of this sequence, the Pre-Pottery, was accepted during the 1960s through the 1980s without serious criticism (Perrot 1968; Bar-Yosef 1981a; Stager 1992). Jericho produced quite a large number of radiometric dates for the two earlier Neolithic settlements. Of about twenty dates for the PPNA (Burleigh 1981; 1983), most fall between 10,300 and 9200 BP. Of about twenty dates for the PPNB (Burleigh 1981; 1983), most fall between 9200 and 8200 BP. The two later Neolithic phases (PNA and PNB) at Jericho, however, produced no radiometric dates at all. This produced much speculation on the relative, as well as the absolute, chronology of the later sequence of the Neolithic period in the southern Levant (see discussions in Garfinkel 1999a; 1999b). In this chapter, 13 reliable radiometric determinations from three Neolithic sites (Ashkelon, Sha'ar Hagolan, and Tel 'Ali) are presented. This is a significant addition to the systematic dating of the eighth millennium BP in the southern Levant, clearly helping to solve some of the chronological problems of the period under discussion.” (Neolithic Ashkelon, Yosef Garfinkel, Doron Dag, Qedem 47, p15 2008 AD)

3.          For example, Ubaid pottery dates to 4500-4000 BC using evolutionary Archeological dating, is highly developed and of very high quality. In my book on Nimrod and the archeology of the Tower of Babel, Tortoise pottery from Eridu, found in Temple 8 beside a platform in a niche containing sacrificial goat-fish bones to the water-god Enki.

4.          Another issue to be taken into account on dating both Basta and Beidha, is the required population in relation to both the Noahic flood in 3298 BC and the great dispersion at the time of the Tower of babel in 2850 BC.

a.           With 8 people exiting the ark after the flood (3298 BC) you would have about 800 people in 3200 BC, 300,000 people in 3000 BC during the great Ubaid expansion, and about 12 million at the tower of Babel in 2850 BC.

b.           It is also important to note that most of the earth’s population lived in the area between the Persian Gulf and Mt. Ararat until after the Tower of Babel in 2850 BC when they spread all over the world.

c.           Given the magnitude of operations, the oldest possible date of occupation for both Beidha and Basta is after the Tower of Babel in 2850 BC.

d.           The likely date of founding occupation of the round-roomed buildings at Beidha is 2300-2200 BC.

e.           The likely dating of founding occupation of the rectangular-roomed buildings at Beidha and Basta is probably no later than 2000 BC down to the time of the Exodus.

f.            Clearly, Neolithic settlements existed contemporaneously with Early bronze Age Settlements.

g.           The sophisticated, high quality pottery that has been excavated in ancient Eridu (and many other places in Nimrod’s kingdom) before the Tower of Babel provides good evidence that “stone age” cultures existed both during and long after the invention of pottery.

5.          Professional archeologists use rather crude and simplistic methods of dating pre-pottery Neolithic (PPN) sites.

a.           If a site has no pottery, they automatically date it back to before they believe pottery was first used the world over! This then becomes the date they supply the carbon dating labs, who of course, spit out the results that confirm such dating.

b.           “On brief inspection the flint items looked very homogenous and matched those known from Beidha. Although the architecture was not familiar for this period, the flint industry provided a sound dating to the period of PPNB.” (Basta I, The Human Ecology, Gebel, Nissen, p17, 2004 AD)

c.           Yet we find both Beidha and Basta have a high level of complexity and planning in their city buildings. Both Basta and Beidha have the appearance of being constructed from a master plan in advance of construction with only minor renovations done later.

6.          Scientific looking carbon and radiometric dating reports cannot and will not ever challenge the Biblical age of the earth once you understand both the assumptions and methodology used in dating labs.




B. Basta built from a master archeological plan, designed in advance of construction:

1.         “During the course of the excavation we were of the general impression that we were dealing with a series of well outlined building units set next to each other, indicating that in each case they represent the plan of the initial design. This led us to assume that the entire complex followed a common master plan with the individual units being built more or less at the same time. This applies also to the relation between Units B I and B III.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p173, 2006 AD)

2.         “Sub-Floor Systems: It is assumed that the creation of air chambers without connection to the outside atmosphere aimed at achieving an insulation affect keeping the floors dry. The extent to which this needed to be pre-planned is shown by an additional observation.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p211, 2006 AD)

3.         “As a matter of course, movement was only possible below that part of the terrace where the interior height of the channels would allow it. As another sign of careful planning it is interesting to note, that already in laying out the grid for the walls, there was a difference in the width of the spaces between the walls. While interstices were wide enough in those parts which were going to have the necessary height, interstices were narrower in those parts where because of insufficient height movement was impossible. This kind of layout of the wall grid at the beginning of the work on the terrace shows that in addition to planning height and extension the idea to use these channels as burial ground must have been in mind and been part of the planning procedure. There is another piece of background knowledge involved in the initial planning. This derives from the observation that normal walls including the retaining walls employ much care in erecting stable walls using dressed stones set in mortar. For those walls which were only supposed to support the terrace unworked stones were piled up without mortar. Again one may argue that this way less effort was needed for those walls which could not be seen anyway; but in view of what has been said about insulation it seems probable that it was known that through capillary action mortar would be able to transport moisture upwards into the floors.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p211, 2006 AD)

4.         “The diligence and background knowledge required for the planning of one terrace would have been applied also tothe neighboring building activities, and one may even see something as a master plan at work, sc. a master planner.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p211, 2006 AD)


C. Sub-Floor System:

1.       The Subterranean floor channel system was only in the three large rooms at Basta and did not exist at Beidha. A network of channels existed in each room with a single central access point. The channels dead ended with no access to the outside. They were therefore not for ventilation. They would serve to keep the floors cool and dry. They could also aid in cooling through evaporation of liquids from hanging animal meat. Four human burials were found in two of the channels. This small number of burials and the large number of chambers, coupled with the large population evidences that they were not a form of ancient burial loculi found in first century tombs.

2.       “Sub-Floor Systems: One reason for choosing this kind of wall system instead of a solid packing might have been the wish to save on material. But in light of the skills, effort and time required the reason may have been a more important one. It is assumed that the creation of air chambers without connection to the outside atmosphere aimed at achieving an insulation effect keeping the floors dry. The extent to which this needed to be pre-planned is shown by an additional observation. In several of the “channels”, as we came to call these air chambers, we found human burials, at least in those which were high enough to allow a person to move inside. To this end there must have been possibilities to enter these channels once in a while. But in order not to need to open each of the channels individually if necessary, the channel system was devised in a way that a central perpendicular channel would connect the various parallel ones, allowing movement within the entire system starting from one “entrance” only.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p211, 2006 AD)

3.       “In discussing the system of terraces, so far attention has only been given to the initial measures used to create appropriate building ground. Since the terraces served to even out the slope, the sub-floor systems each consisted of a sequence of parallel channels of different heights. However, this is not the only kind of sub-floor construction. In a number of cases in both Areas A and B we find systems of supporting walls and channels all of the same height, which obviously rest on an already even surface. The best example of systems resting on even ground with all parallel channels being only 20 to 30 cms wide is found underneath the floor of Room 10/16 in Area A (Plates 10.C, 11.A-B, and Figs. 11-14). On the entire 7.5m length of the room the supporting walls – and therefore the channels – had the same height of 40 cms. Again, these channels were connected by a central spine, and were covered by rows of stone slabs. As in the case of the slope adjusting system the floor sequence consisted of a number of layers of rubble stones, mud and – where preserved- of plaster resting on top of the lines of stone slabs. Obviously, the construction of this sub-floor system followed the same principle as the slope adjusting systems despite being founded on even ground. As will be seen later, apparently all sub-floor systems encountered in Area B were of this latter kind.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p137, 2006 AD)

4.       “In three of these channels, (61), (24) and (20) human burials were found, while in channel (63) only scattered human bones and a hoard of beads testifies to the fact that it had once also served the same purpose. While the disposal of corpses was no problem in the first channels (63) and (61) with an internal height of up to 100 cms, it must have been quite difficult further N because the last one of these channels (20) had an internal height of only 54 cms (Plate 18.B). The remaining parts of the system in the area of Room 21 could not be followed.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p150, 2006 AD)


D. Industrial storage city and slaughterhouse, not residential houses for living:

1.           Basta had three large rooms, with subterranean channels below their three floors. Each of the three large rooms had fireplaces in them. It was in the large rooms where the assemblage of 100,000 kosher bones were excavated. Each of the 3 large rooms were surrounded by a network of small ~1x1 meter “casemate-like” storage rooms with 3 meter high walls. Each of these tiny rooms had two small 50 cm square windows about chest height in them. The first window opened out to the large open area. The second window connected each small room to the one beside it. We suggest that the large rooms were slaughterhouses where meat was hung. The fireplaces in each of the three large rooms controlled flies from  contaminating the meat. The air channels under the floor kept the floor cool and dry. Meat liquids would also drain off into these chambers providing additional cooling through evaporation. The whole thing was a masterwork of design that would function equally well today. At Beidha, no fireplaces or tabuns were excavated at all and the one large room had no sub floor channels. The different design and function of Beidha as a manufacturing city of bone, stone and sea shell tools is obvious, when compared to Basta.

2.           The absence of any obvious living and sleeping space has initiated discussions about the possibility of a second floor. There is no evidence for it (for a possible exception see the discussion of Unit B VIII). (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p214, 2006 AD)

3.           “The inner space of Unit B I is surrounded on all four sides by rows of small rooms [~1x1 meter], which in most cases are too small to have served for anything else but for storage purposes. Like the central space they were almost all filled with the so-called rubble layers. In no case did we find larger quantities of stones or other materials indicative of a roof construction, let alone of a second storey.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p171, 2006 AD)

4.           “The following major reasons were influential in the preservation of the Basta deposits: …extensive layers of LPPNB flint waste from the workshops on the slopes protected archaeological deposits (Area A, NW Section) (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p206, 2006 AD)

5.           The LPPNB flint workshop dumps in the NW Section appear (slightly) redeposited downslope onto decaying settlement parts (Gebel 1996: Plate 1.A). In the site’s fringes (soundings and drillings in Area C) various sorts of open-air activities are attested, among which are flaking ateliers, garden work, carcass and garbage disposals, dumped leftovers of building materials, and possibly burials (Gebel 2004b, cf. below). (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p17, 2006 AD)

6.           Domestic vs. Communal Space: On the whole, next to nothing was found on the floors of rooms and complexes that could be indicative of use or function. A differentiation between domestic or communal space proves difficult and rests entirely on our impressions. Criteria are gained only from a study of the ground plans. As far as we can recognize clear units, most belong to the Basta House type, consisting of a central space with a row of small chambers attached to at least one side. There is one unit in each area, however, which clearly diverges from this scheme. In both cases, the main feature is an elongated hall, perhaps doubled in the case of Rooms 10/16 in Area A, and even arranged in three parallel rooms in the case of Building Unit VIII in Area B. They obviously were meant to serve a different purpose from the “Basta House”. But on which level? A hint may be found in the different size. While the examples of the Basta House range in size from 10,5 to 71,5 m2 – the largest space of the latter one amounting to 13,7 m2 -, one of the long rooms of Unit B VIII in its preserved length alone measures 13,4 m2; while the large hall 10/16 in Area A has an internal surface of 22 m2. On the one hand, because of their size the central spaces of all Basta Houses cannot be meant to accommodate a larger number of people let alone a communal gathering; but on the other hand, the difference in size of the long rooms is not so significant to force us to attribute a communal function to them. Still, such an outspoken difference in layout and room size adds to the general impression of high complexity. Although they follow a clear design principle the function of the “Basta House” is far from settled, but it is very likely that it served domestic purposes. This is supported by the find of grinding slabs, some hand stones and a pestle close to the floor of Room 20 of Building Unit B I. A household function is also indicated by the large fireplace in the central space of that same unit. At the same time, however, it should be noted that we did not find indicators of other activities like butchering (animal bones were found in the fill but not on floors), nor of any working or finishing of stone tools or implements.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p214, 2006 AD)

7.           Two, or possibly three, Early Pottery Neolithic sherds, the figurine hoard (cf. below) of B 102, and PPNC/Yarmoukian- related arrowheads and a chipped stone flake industry were identified from these layers (a similar industry was identified at the site of Ba‘ja V). In B 83, B 65, and upper B 34 such finds are associated with curvilinear and straight wall fragments of a “flimsy” type (e.g. B 34, wall Locus 6 with associated deposits Loci 13-16). In addition, the debitage of an in situ chipped lithics workshop dump and a hoard of Tridacna sp. (for bead production) were found in the Lower Rubble Layers.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p39, 2006 AD)

8.           “A much more common kind of wall openings are the so-called “windows” in LPPNB building interiors. They vary in size, from 35 x 50 cms to 45 x 65 cms. These “windows” were the interior connections between adjacent rooms. In contrast to doors, large limestone slabs were used as lintels (Fig. 6 and Plate 61.A) as well as for the thresholds or window sills. The surface of most sills was smoothed (Plates 61.A-C, and 62.A). This means that either people crawled through these narrow “windows”, or that sacks or other containers were dragged through – depending on what purpose we assign to these little rooms. Window flannings were well constructed. Thresholds or sills were between 60 and 75 cms above floor level, though there are some exceptions. In accordance with the modern traditional architecture (see supra) small openings of about 15 x 15 cms may have served for air circulation (e.g. Square B 85, Locus 8). As known from the traditional architecture of the region they could be easily closed with one or two stones and opened again. They were found in high or very low positions in the interior walls. Contrary to what could be expected they were never found in exterior walls, though they may have been located in the missing upper parts of the houses.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p197, 2006 AD)

9.           “Although none equaled the main building in size and number of rooms, a common principle was discernible as in all cases a central space is bordered at least on one side by a row of small rooms. In all cases the walls of the central space show an attached pillar, probably part of a roofing construction, and again a fire place was found in all central spaces.” (Basta I The Human Ecology, Gebel, Nissen, p20, 2004 AD)

10.       “The large room in Area B had a large ashy area. The fires were likely to generate smoke in order to keep the flies off the hanging meat in these rooms under which lay the subterranean channels to catch fluids and keep the floor dry. “Plate 42.C. Area B, Square B 68. View E into the central Space 1 of Building Unit B I. Note particularly the dark ashy area in front of the protruding Wall [10]. 1988.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p276, 2006 AD)

11.       “For Room B I,1 [large central room in Area B] the results are not clear. There are two possibilities:  or this area was partly covered. A total coverage can be excluded because this was the way the house could be entered through; on the other hand, smoke originating from the large fire place in front of the protruding Wall [10] (Nissen, Muheisen, and Gebel 1991) had to be given the chance to escape. The buttresses of B I,1, then, would have served as support for this partial roofing constructions.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p199, 2006 AD)


E. Use of red paint on floors and walls:

1.        Multi-coloured painted plaster pieces were excavated at Basta. The floors were painted red. It is unclear if the floors were entirely painted red, or if they had a 30 cm stripe painted around the perimeter like we find at Beidha. The connection of red painted floors at both Beidha and Basta is important. Other ancient sites also accented their floors with red paint and perimeter stripes.

2.        “In a few cases in Area A we came across remains of red-stained plaster floors (Plate 17.C), with traces of these terminating in a round moulding close to the walls suggesting a continuation up the walls, but we never found anything in situ. This observation is supported by one of the cuts in the area of the modern village (Cut 8; described in Nissen, Muheisen and Gebel 2004: 16) where remains of a red plaster floor ended in a round moulding leading into a vertical line of plaster which may have been part of a wall plaster. Only during the 1989 Season were we fortunate in being presented with larger plaques of painted wall plaster (Plate 50.C) in Room 2 of Building Unit B VIII – again in the fill – and finally with two rather small patches in Space 19 in Square B 50 with remains of painted plaster still adhering to the wall (Plates 34.C and 35.A; Fig. 24). For details see 2.3.3. There is little doubt that originally all walls would have been plastered and painted.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p135, 2006 AD)

3.        “The earliest in situ deposits in a room are related – if preserved at all – to the original BII room function (reconstructed stratigraphy): food processing and preparation, storage, etc., but mostly are disturbed by 3). It is striking that – in contrast to Area A – almost no intact plastered floors were found in Area B; red-stained plaster floors are completely missing, but may have existed judging from fragments deposited sparsely in the room fills. It may also be that for a few rooms the earliest floors of BII were not reached. The role of plaster recycling is imperfectly understood at Basta, but may be a source of explanation for the missing floor evidence.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p40, 2006 AD)


F. Single occupation site, large scale abandonment, buried rapidly by desert sands:

Basta has all the earmarks of not only being a single occupation site but one that was abandoned en masse, then buried through desert sandstorms.

1.             “If this scenario were true it would offer an explanation for the unaltered layout of the building units in Area B. Area B could be one of those newly resettled areas which had remained open for a while. However, this would have happened not too long before the large-scale abandonment of the site. Thus this quarter did not have time to undergo those alterations which any living quarter would be affected by over the course of generations – with one possible exception: the changes affecting Units I and III. Area A, on the other hand, would be an example of a quarter which rather than being abandoned and left open after the decomposition of a housing complex had been devoted to another function.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p216, 2006 AD)

2.            “Most of the drainages appear too restricted for the amount of the transported flow. The Basta evidence suggests that they must have started shortly after the abandonment of the settlement, since the walls of the ruin were still standing tall.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p20, 2006 AD)

3.            “In Basta the matrix of sediments is mainly silty and fine-sandy. Silty sediments possess a poorer structural stability than clayish sediments and a higher flexibility than sandy sediments. Post-LPPNB mud and debris flows are a common feature for the preservation of LPPNB sites in Southern and Central Jordan. Most often it remains unclear from where this material originated. Most of the potential catchments appear too restricted to provide the amount of the transported material, and sometimes the present-day topography does not allow us to envisage how these accumulations arrived at the place of their deposition. Seen from Basta, these were substantial sedimentation events, each taking place within a very restricted period. The Basta evidence suggests that they must have started shortly after the abandonment of the settlement, since the flows entered the ruin when walls were still standing tall.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p206, 2006 AD)

4.            “Most of the architectural remains are more or less contemporary and constitute our main phase, Phase BII. Though we do not know much about earlier remains, Phase II is definitely nowhere the oldest occupation. If by nothing else, this can be seen from the fact that all “channel systems” found in Area B are of the type consisting of channels of the same height, showing that they rested on an already even surface, most probably provided by an earlier slope adjusting system like the one of Phase III in Area A.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p158, 2006 AD)

5.            “Offering proposals for architectural reconstructions one has to keep in mind that any reconstruction cannot be more than a snapshot, focusing on one moment within a living process of development both of a given building and of a complex consisting of several building units. It is therefore necessary to decide which moment the reconstruction is going to be illustrated, the last one before the abandonment which would include all alterations occurred during the life-time of the building, or the initial one.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p182, 2006 AD)

6.            “Depending on what state of development is intended to show, everything that happened after the abandonment has to be eliminated in order to reconstruct this last stage; or, for the reconstruction of the initial stage all alterations have to be peeled off.” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p185, 2006 AD)

7.            Site Preservation: The following major reasons were influential in the preservation of the Basta deposits: - large intra-site masses of building material and small room ground plans are responsible for a rapid filling of the rooms (especially during their decay), thus causing high wall preservation - re-use and maintenance of major walls/ terrace walls helped their continuous preservation and thus the height of preservation - extensive layers of LPPNB flint waste from the workshops on the slopes protected archaeological deposits (Area A, NW Section) - huge accumulations of weathering products and high aeolian silt proportions developed rapidly during the LPPNB and especially in the two millennia after (e.g. Area C), and buried the Neolithic deposits” (Basta II The Architecture And Stratigraphy, Gebel, Nissen, Zaid, p206, 2006 AD)


G. Kosher Faunal Bone Report:

Faunal Report: A Massive assemblage of 100,000 kosher bones, possibly from the 38 years at Kadesh Barnea. The excavators at Basta commented that this low percentage of pig bones was because pigs don’t live in hot, dry areas. Yet they go on to note that there is an excellent water supply in the city year-round and diverse vegetation including forests in the nearby wadis. We also know that in the Late Bronze age, that Canaan was full forested with lush highly productive soils, while today it is rock, sand and thistle except where human irrigation is supplied. The author has done restoration work on the Hebrew altar on Mt. Ebal under Adam Zertal in 2005 AD, then excavated Maqatir (2011-1016) and currently excavating Shiloh (2017-present) where the massive bone dump was found in Area D and analyzed their Faunal bone reports. Faunal reports from all four sites have been compared and found to all contain low levels of pig bones that match the signature of Hebrew occupation. The results below come directly from the published faunal reports of these excavation sites.


1.      Mt. Ebal, Faunal Remains from Mount Ebal, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Tel Aviv 13-14, 1986-1987 AD

a.       “Mount Ebal differs from other Iron Age sites in the absence of certain species such as equids, pigs, gazelles and domestic and wild carnivores, and in the presence of a high frequency of fallow deer. In addition, the comparative data on burnt bones suggests a slightly higher (though not significant) frequency at Mount Ebal than that expected from a bone sample of this size. All of these features indicate a different pattern of animal utilization at Mount Ebal to that found at other Iron Age habitation sites.” (Faunal Remains from Mount Ebal, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Tel Aviv 13-14, p187, 1986-1987 AD)

2.      Kh. El-Maqatir: Faunal Bone Report by Abra Spiciarich and Lidar Sapir-Hen, December 2017.

a.       Pigs are not common in Maqatir assemblages. Their frequency is highest in the IA assemblage (3%). This frequency, although relatively low, is high comparing to other IA assemblages of the region (Sapir-Hen et al. 2013). Pigs are notably absent in the LH-ER, when the Second Temple in nearby Jerusalem was active, and the biblical dietary laws (Deut. 14 and Lev. 11) were already written and redacted. The low presence of pigs in Maqatir may also be related to the local environment, which is semi-arid and not optimal for raising pigs (see e.g. Horwitz and Studer 2005)”. (Faunal Bone Report by Abra Spiciarich and Lidar Sapir-Hen, December 2017 AD)

3.      Shiloh:

a.       “Most of the material of this stratum came from the lower part of the glacis in Area D. It totaled 651 identified bones, with an MNI of 20. Only one bone belonged to a wild animal. Small ruminants represented 84.3% and cattle 1 l.5% of all animal remains. The frequency of pig remains was relatively high (3.5%). A remarkable feature of this stratum is the absence of deer and equid bones.” (Shiloh Excavations, Israel Finkelstein, p312, 1993 AD)

b.      STRATUM VI: LATE BRONZE AGE” “A stratum of dumped debris containing an enormous amount of Late Bronze Age pottery and animal bones overlies the MB III city wall, Wall M332 and Stone Fill 417. It is the only deposit of this period found at Shiloh and was not associated with any architectural remains. The debris (L. 407) is composed of a light-coloured grey material, mostly ash, with piles of stones of various sizes in several places (Figs. 3.12-13). It was exposed in an oval area of about 150 sq. m. (ca. 18 m. on the northwest-southeast axis and 10 m. on the northeast-southwest axis) in Squares L/M31, L/N32 and M/N33 (Fig. 3.3). We succeeded in defining its northern, eastern and western boundaries, while on the south it continues at least up to Square N35 (where there were fewer bones in the deposit). Its depth varies from about 0.5 m. on its perimeter to about 1.5 m. in Square N32, next to the MB III city wall. No layers whatsoever were distinguished within it.  Fragments of hundreds of vessels were found in Debris 407. Many were broken into a few large pieces but in most cases they were not found in concentrations permitting restoration. Only in two places were there sherds of bowls lying one inside the other, but even here complete bowls could not be easily reconstructed. Some vessels were found filled with bones and solidified ash (Fig. 3.14). There were also several dozen Cypriot sherds. Most of the pottery is of the LB I horizon. There is also a small quantity of LBII pottery, although not from the end of the period. The bone recovered from Debris 407 shed considerable light on the economy and social organization of the hill country people in the Late Bronze Age (Chapters 15, 19).  Among the small objects found in this deposit are a fragment of a female figurine, a fly-shaped gold pendant, a handle with a cylinder seal impression and a rough stone bowl with traces of pigment inside (Chapters 8-10).  In view of these finds, the Late Bronze Age debris is interpreted as a favissa of offerings which were brought to a shrine (Chapter 19). Before the debris was dumped the stones of a section of the MB III city wan M321 and Wall M332 were robbed. This evidence indicates that the favissa is not in situ, but was moved here at a later date. The fact that Debris 407 is cut by Iron I silos leaves two possible periods for its deposition here - a later phase of the Late Bronze Age or an early phase of Iron I. In the Late Bronze Age there was no large scale building activity at the site, while the Iron I construction projects must have required stones which were apparently robbed from the MB III fortification. Hence the following course of events may be suggested: The MB III fortification system was partly damaged during the Late Bronze Age when the site was not occupied by a settlement. In the early Iron Age I some of its stones were robbed. In a later phase of the Iron Age I, during construction work on the mound, a Late Bronze Age favissa was found and removed to the robber trench in Area D. In a yet later phase of this period silos were dug into this debris. (Shiloh Excavations, Israel Finkelstein, p43, 1993 AD)

4.      Basta: Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p66, 1991 AD

a.           “The frequency of burned bones in the Basta caprine collection is very low (0.8 %, Table 20). The affected bones did not concentrate in special areas of the settlement. It seems evident that the detritus from hearths was mixed with other debris from slaughtering and consumption of cooked meals.  (Basta I The Human Ecology, Gebel, Nissen, p265, 2004 AD)

b.           “An opportunity to examine aspects of animal exploitation in the Levantine Pre-Pottery Neolithic В period was presented when excavations at Basta uncovered another huge collection of bones (more than 100 000 specimens), dating to the 7th millennium B.C. … The site of Basta is located in the southern Levant near the famous Nabatean site of Petra (Jordan), about 12 km south-south east of Wadi Musa. It lies at 1420-1460 m above sea level in a limestone-area within a mountainous belt that parallels the Jordan Rift Valley along its eastern margin.” (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p59, 1991 AD)

c.           Excavation activities have been concentrated mainly in two areas, defined as A and В (11). Sediments were excavated by arbitrary 10 cm layers. About 60% of the deposit was dry-screened through 5 and 2 mm meshes. The remaining samples were collected by hand. Through sieving, thousands of tiny bone-splinters were recovered. The bones were first cleansed of dirt and calcium concretions with water and dilute acetic acid, then slowly dried. A high percentage of the Basta bone material falls into the category of residue from slaughter and consumption.” (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p60, 1991 AD)

d.           “The excavation site is located within a small modern village bordering a wadi. It lies near a copious spring, which has existed beyond living memory. Four seasons of excavation have uncovered impressive architecture, well preserved walls forming several smaller and larger units (storage facilities?) with red and white plastered floors (some with channel-like substructures), open spaces, a burial area and large numbers of associated material including thousands of lithic artifacts, some stone vessels, grinding stones, bracelets, beads, mother-of-pearl ornaments, bone tools, carbonized seeds, charcoal and many animal bones. Based on the typology of flint artifacts and on the basis of radiocarbon dates, the settlement was dated to the late Pre-Pottery Neo- lithic В period.” (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p60, 1991 AD)

e.           “The size of ancient Basta can be estimated to have stretched over an area at least 10 ha large. Thus it is among the largest known PPNB sites in the Near East. Two of the most striking features of Basta are the excellent building technique and the remarkably regular arrangement of rooms, a ground plan that is thought to have been master-minded before construction. The overall archaeological impression and preliminary results suggest a well organized inner structure of the settlement, and this organization is probably reflected in the management of agriculture, husbandry and exploitation of natural resources.” (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p60, 1991 AD)

f.            “But more than 95 % of the material consists of heavily fragmented bones, reflected for example in the average weight of an unidentified specimen of 1.1 gram and an identified specimen of 4.3 gram. These figures point to very intensive exploitation of the animals' carcasses, although only 2 % of the bones show cut-marks or any other special evidence of disarticulation, butchering, defleshing or meat processing besides the fragmentation.” (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p61, 1991 AD)

g.           “The comparatively low ratio of Sus [pig] remains at Basta (0.3% of all identified bones, tab. 2) may be related to the dry environment, a less suitable habitat for these animals. Unfortunately 80% of the bones are restricted to fragments of elements from subadult and juvenile individuals. Only very few fragments of long-bones are from adult pigs. This high frequency of immature pigs might be considered as indicative of domestication : a few adult pigs were kept for breeding, the majority being killed and consumed as young animals. However, this interpretation cannot be substantiated by morphological or metrical differences, because no measurable bones or part of bones with articulated epiphyses are preserved.”  (Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p66, 1991 AD)



Kh. El-Maqatir


Assemblage = 383

Shiloh Area D

 LB Dump Stratum VI

Assemblage = 2973

Mt. Ebal Altar

Iron I

Assemblage = 741



Assemblage = 100,000


















































1.       NISP = Number identifiable specimens present: total number of bone/fragments collected.

2.       NISP% = Percentage of number identifiable specimens present: I.e. of all bones, what percentage were pig, etc.

3.       MNI  =  Minimum number of Individuals. Whole animal count: Body count of whole animal represented before death.

4.       PPN = Pre-pottery Neolithic


Kh. El-Maqatir: Faunal Bone Report, Abra Spiciarich and Lidar Sapir-Hen, December 2017 AD

Shiloh Excavations, Israel Finkelstein, 1993 AD

Mt. Ebal, Faunal Remains from Mount Ebal, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Tel Aviv 13-14, 1986-1987 AD

Analysis of mammalian bones from Basta, a Pre-pottery Neolithic Site, Cornelia Becker, Paléorient, Vol 17, No 1, p66, 1991 AD




Although speculative, there is evidence to support the theory that Basta (and Beidha) was built and occupied by the Hebrews during their 38 years in the Kadesh Barnea area of Petra from 1444-1406 BC. Basta was designed and build by a large population in a single short-term occupation phase as an industrial storage city and slaughterhouse that lacked basic domestic sleeping quarters and food preparation areas. It was suddenly abandoned and subsequently preserved by the blowing sands shortly thereafter. More research needs to be done in dating apottery sites (apottery = a lack of fired ceramics) and recognition that such sites clearly were contemporaneous during many archeological ages including Early, Middle and Late Bronze archeological ages. If the Hebrews did occupy Beidha and Basta, it would explain a number of unique features of a unique population in a unique period of history.


By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.


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