Moab and Edom

26. Aia - (Kh. 'Ay ?)

Aia on the slope of the valley is depicted as a citadel with a gate, protected by two towers on both sides. This site was identified with various cities in the land of Moab: especially with the village of Ai, south of Karak. But this site is unlikely, as Avi-Yonah indicates. The ancient site of al-'Ainah, ancient Ainuatha in the Notitia Dignitatum has also been proposed. The site is known for its rich olive groves. However, the modern village is completely abandoned and there are no ruins to support a fort. The site of Muhayy east of Dhat Ra's was recently surveyed by Miller as part of his archaeological survey of the Kerak plateau and he recognized it as an important settlement with Iron Age to Byzantine and Islamic occupation. It occupies a high mound, with impressive ruins. Numerous Byzantine tombs were unfortunately looted in modern times (Miller 1991: 163-166). The site of 'Ainun, south of Kerak, is where important Byzantine artifacts were found in 1938, during the construction of a modern house.

Fawzi Zayadine, "The Karak District in the Madaba Map", in The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997, Jerusalem 1999, 229-230 (extract)

See also the complete article: The Karak District in the Madaba Map, by Fawzi Zayadine

Michael Avi-Yonah (The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, 41)
In Onomasticon 64,21 mention is made of a Gai ('in the land of Moab, over against Beth-Peor' -Deut 34,6-). The village indicated is near Beth-Peor (Betomarsea?), but the lack of reference to Moses´ Tomb which Eusebius mentions in this context makes an identification of these names improbable. It is also difficult to assume that this site in the western slope of the mountains can be regarded (ib.) as 'the top of Pisgah which looketh down upon the desert' (Num 21,20; On. ib.). Possibly the author meant the locality called Ainuatha in the Notitia dignitatum (81,25) and now identified with el´Aine on the northern bank of the river Zared; the suggestion of Musil (Kh. ´Ayy south of Kérak) is unlikely.

Herbert Donner (The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Kampen 1992, 41)
The village, mentioned nowhere in Byzantine sources, is identical with Hirbat 'Ay about six km. Southwest of al-Karak.

For more sources and bibliography see:
F.-M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine.II (Paris 1938), s.v. "Gaia", 324.

Map Section 4 Place Sources

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