More terraced fields than wadi, Wadi Jadid is locally renowned for its remarkable collection of early Bronze Age burial chambers and stone memorials. Known as dolmens (‘dolmen’ means stone table), the latter date to between 5000 and 3000 BC and consist of two upright stones capped by a bridging stone. How the huge bridging stones were winched into position remains unknown: it's little wonder that social anthropologists regard them as proof of early social cohesion.
There are about 40 dolmens scattered across this unmarked site, with at least 12 in good condition, though some are badly graffitied. Some locals know the site as Beit Al Ghula ('House of Ghosts'). There are thousands more scattered across Jordan, especially around Ar Rawdah.
From the road, it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the nearest dolmen and an hour to reach more distant groups. The site is near the village of Al Fiha, 10km southwest of Madaba, but you need to be in the know to find it. The best way to visit is by checking on directions with the Mariam Hotel in Madaba, downloading a map from the hotel's website or joining a tour (JD12, plus JD3 for each hour spent at the site).
With your own vehicle, you can continue downhill to the Dead Sea (30 minutes) after Wadi Jadid. The road is narrow and potholed towards the end, but it threads through beautiful and varied terrain, with Bedouin camps, green valleys of grapevines, olive groves and citrus orchards. As it descends to the desert floor, the road passes a spring with a small waterfall – almost miraculous in the arid landscape.