The Umayyad House in Jerash
An Umayyad residential quarter, inhabited from 660 to 800 AD, was found recently on the north side of the Southern Decumanus. This Umayyad structure about 600m2, coexists as 5-6 separate units belonging to families that shared the same courtyard. The dwelling units were laid around a courtyard, with one main entrance through a passage way from the colonnaded street in front of the house. The complex extends northwards behind three shops that directly faced the street (southern decumanus) and formed the façade. The complex does not appropriate the shops space for its residential use. The shops were entirely restored, including the upper foundation courses, found in the fill of a cistern, without any major change in layout.
The entrance passage led directly from the street to an irregularly shaped courtyard. At the back of the courtyard there was another opening that led through a staircase to the street on the northern of the complex. The courtyard’s irregular shape was the result of the intersection of the Roman period foundations walls with the Umayyad period, as is clear from the room which intrudes into the middle courtyard space. The rooms are arranged in two wings, east and west of the courtyard. the depths of the rooms of the west wing vary according to the pre-existing conditions that the builders encountered in the area. The eastern wing is also not arranged symmetrically and many rooms are not aligned on the same axis. The arrangement also reflects the division of living quarters. Rooms are grouped in pairs; there are three sets of two-room suites. The front room was earmarked for daily use and the back darker one was used for sleeping. The layout of the units/ apartments reflects a homogeneous pattern.
A sewage drain extends from the end of the courtyard to beneath the entrance. This serves as the only sanitary facility, which was built on an earlier sewage drain. Some walls are preserved up to 3m. above the floor, though the ceiling could not be lower than about 3.5m. The walls were probably mud-plastered, while the roof was supported by wooden beams. An upper storey may have existed, but no evidence is available for confirmation.