The site has been extensively excavated since 1980. The excavations have shown habitation at Abila from ca. 4000 BC to 1500 AD, and have yielded numerous artifacts, and unearthed remains of city walls, a theater, and a sixth century church. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Abilenus in Palaestina; the seat has been vacant since 1977.
Abila or Ancient Raphana lies (15 km)to the north of Irbid, east of Umm Qais, 2 km (1 mi) east of Hartha. The largest site is located amidst verdant agricultural fields near the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring. Abila is more brutal than Jerash and Umm Qais. Roman temples, Byzantine churches and early mosques lie amidst olive groves and wheat fields.
Excavations indicate that the site was inhabited more than 5000 years ago in the early Bronze Age, and appears to have been continually used by man since then. While several of its ancient structures have been excavated including aqueducts, tombs, gates and public buildings, Abila is especially fascinating because so much of its remains unexcavated, yet visible of the surface of the ground.
- Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 0-691-03169-X), p. 69.