Forty five km to the south of Petra and 55km to the north of Aqaba lies Al-Humayma, an extensive archaeological site located in the hyper-arid region of southern Jordan. Humayma was continuously occupied from 90 BC, by the Nabataeans, Romans, and Byzantines until the early Islamic period. In 750, Jordan shifted to the rule of the Abbasids after the Revolution that was initiated from al Humaymah. Several remains and structures have been identified including a Nabataean cultic centre, Nabataean and Roman houses, a large Roman fort (206x146m2) with a bath, five Byzantine churches, an early Islamic palace (Qasr) with a small extra-mural mosque, as well as two reservoirs and more than 50 rock-hewn and built cisterns, wadi barriers and a dam.
The site provides evidence for the most complex water management system known outside of Petra. An aqueduct 26.5km long once brought water from three natural springs in Ras al-Naqab to an open reservoir at the northern edge of the Al-Humayma. The early Islamic palace, located at the eastern edge of the settlement, is a roughly rectangular building (61x50m2) with up to six courses of masonry walls still intact. The entrance leads to a trapezoidal courtyard surrounded by up to three wings of rooms, different from the square court yard arrangement in other Umayyad desert palaces. One room in the western wing on the axis of the principal entrance contained numerous fragments of carved ivory furniture and colorful frescoes with floral and geometric motifs, all dating to the first half of the 8th century AD. There is a small mosque (about 5.75 to 5.60m), ten meters to the southeast of the Qasr, with a concave niche (mihrab) projecting from the qibla wall (facing towards Mecca). Another small mosque of a much later date was discovered to the southwest.