The Art Archive/Archaeological Museum, Amman

This early sixth-century B.C.E. carving of the Assyrian love-war goddess Astarte was also found on the Amman Citadel (compare with photo of small statue of an Ammonite king). The Citadel was inhabited as early as the Neolithic period; it then served as the capital of the Semitic-speaking Ammonite kingdom during the Iron Age (c. 1000–582 B.C.E.)—a period in which the Ammonites were often bitter rivals of the biblical Israelites. Later, in Hellenistic and Roman times, the Citadel was a sacred precinct reserved for temples. With the rise of the early Islamic Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 C.E.), it became the site of a lavish governor’s palace (see photo of palace in “Philadelphia of the Decapolis”).