- © 2013 by the Seismological Society of America
The reconstruction of the seismic history of an archaeological site is generally based on historical sources and/or archaeoseismological data. However, these data alone give, in most of the cases, only qualitative information and cannot be used to unequivocally recognize the kinematics of past earthquakes and causative fault. A multidisciplinary approach merging archaeological information and geological data is useful to better constrain the age of past earthquakes, identify the fault movement(s), and clarify the seismotectonic picture of a region. The Hisham palace (724–743 A.D. to about 1400 A.D.; Baramki, 1936, 1938; Whitcomb, 1988), which is the main building of the Khirbet al‐Mafjar archaeological site (Jordan Valley), records damages related to past seismic shaking. The site is located within the tectonically active Dead Sea Transform zone in the western Jordan Valley, and it is one of the most famous so‐called desert castles of the early Islamic period (Fig. 1). The 749 A.D. earthquake, for which the macroseismic epicenter is unknown, is identified as responsible for the severe damage at Hisham palace (Amiran et al., 1994). However, a relatively low (VII degree) macroseismic intensity is assigned at Hisham palace for this event, and surface‐faulting evidence has been found about 100 km north of Khirbet al‐Mafjar (Marco et al., 2003). Another earthquake that occurred in the area could also have left traces on the palace architecture, that is, the 1033 A.D. event (Table 1, Fig. 1).