House 5

A plan and profile of House 5
A plan and profile of House 5.

House 5 is located approximately 25m northeast of the East Church Complex. Excavation was undertaken in an attempt to further clarify the apparent 4th-century residential development of the central zone. As work on the other houses indicated that some of their occupants were Manichaean, it was also deemed important to ascertain whether or not the occupants of House 5 may have been.

The structure is preserved to second floor level and exhibits a stairwell. All the major rooms appear to have had barrel-vaulting as well as niches and plastering typical of the other houses examined in the area. An extensive excavation of some of the rooms to floor level was not possible however, as many of the supporting walls were found to be in a precarious state of preservation. Original lower floor levels in particular could not be accessed.

Very few texts and only a few Greek ostraka were found during the course of excavation. The artefacts unearthed comprised mainly of ceramics which, found throughout all of the deposits, proved to be of the 4th century CE in date. This occupation date is also supported by the find of 4 bronze coins within the earth floors of the room above the central western room that cover the period of Licinius to Julian (313-363 CE).

A series of mounds are visible due east of the house and appear to have much vitrified clay upon their surfaces. It is likely that this signals the activities of an industrial zone such as pottery manufacture.


An extensive list of publications relating to Ismant el-Kharab is available for consultation.

House 5

A general overview of House 5 (foreground) with the Large East Church visible across to the right, looking south.
Imported spouted jug from Room 5 (Object Registration Number A/9/10).
Human head (Object Registration Numbers A/9/17 and A/9/19).
View of the north end of House 5 after partial clearance, looking west.
A general overview of House 5, looking southeast.
ub-divided space on the roof of Room 3.
The level of the fill deposit in Room 5, looking south.
The stairwell in Room 4 leading up to the roof area.
Upper section of the east wall in Room 5, showing the poor state of preservation.
Wall niche in the western wall of Room 5 with an embedded vessel.
Western wall and vaulting of Room 5, showing the level of debris and sand fill in the room.
Post-excavation view of the eastern wall of Room 5 with doors into Rooms 3 and 4.
Post-excavation view of the northern end of Room 5, showing through to Room 1.