Name of Object:



Aqaba, Jordan

Holding Museum:

Aqaba Archaeological Museum


Hegira first half of the 2nd century / AD first half of the 8th century

Type of object:

Weight, metalwork

Museum Inventory Number:

AM 51

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Moulded bronze.


Height (in the range) 4–25 mm, width (in the range) 1.3–2.5 cm, weight (in the range) 2.1–149 g

Period / Dynasty:





Bronze weights that are not inscribed but which have a variety of shapes and decoration, the typology includes: the barrel form, a truncated bi-conical shape; the polyhedral type, with sides cut into polygonal facets; the very common brick shape; and the square shape. They are often pierced in the centre for safe-keeping, to keep them together as a unit, and in order to carry them easily.

These bronze weights relate to two monetary systems: the values for the dirham (silver) and dinar (gold) coins. The stratigraphic contexts of the Aqaba weights give some idea about the variations seen in these weights; heavier weights are more elaborate, the lighter weights simpler. The heavier weights could have been used to weigh merchandise heavier than coins.

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How date and origin were established:

The weights were dated by their stratigraphic context and in relation to pottery shards found at the same site.

How Object was obtained:

These weights were obtained during an archaeological excavation carried out in Aqaba in 1987–94.

How provenance was established:

The weights were recovered during an archaeological excavation in Aqaba, the original place of production is uncertain.

Selected bibliography:

Whitcomb, D., Ayla: Art and Industry in the Islamic Fort of Aqaba, Chicago, 1995, p.19.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy, Manal Basyouni "Weights" in Discover Islamic Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;jo;Mus01_D;16;en&id=weights_and_measures

Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy

Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
, Manal BasyouniManal Basyouni

Manal Basyouni is an archaeologist and Curator at Aqaba Museum at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. She studied at the University of Jordan where she gained her BA in Archaeology. She has been affiliated to the Department of Antiquities as Curator of Aqaba Museum since 1997. She has carried out several excavations in the southern part of Jordan especially in al-Humayma, Wadi Rum and Ayla.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: JO 27