Umm ar-Rasas is located 30km southeast of Madaba in the Amman Governorate in central Jordan. It was once accessible by branches of the King's Highway, and is situated in the semi-arid steppe region of the Jordanian Desert. The site has been allied to the biblical settlement of Mephaat mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah. The Roman military utilized the site as a strategic garrison, but it was later converted and inhabited by Christian and Islamic communities. In 2004, the site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is valued by archaeologists for its extensive ruins dating to the Roman, Byzantine, and early Muslim periods. The Franciscan academic society in Jerusalem, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, carried out excavations at the North end of the site in 1986, but much of the area remains buried under debris.