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Later Prehistory of the Badia

Later Prehistory of the Badia: Excavation and Surveys in Eastern Jordan, Volume 2

A. V. G. Betts
D. Cropper
L. Martin
C. McCartney
Volume: 11
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Oxbow Books
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Later Prehistory of the Badia
    Book Description:

    The Jordanian badia is an arid region that has been largely protected from modern development by its extreme climate and has preserved a remarkably rich record of its prehistoric past. This is the second of two volumes to document extensive surveys and excavations in the region from Al-Azraq to the Iraqi border over the period 1979-1996. Broadly, it covers the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic of the eastern badia. Over time, an outline prehistory of the region has emerged. Late Epipaleolithic campsites have been found in the north-west of the harra in the foothills of Jebel Druze, while the central basalt region saw a floruit of activity in the late Aceramic Neolithic, when it was used extensively for hunting. This volume covers the following period, which witnessed a further spread of campsites and short-term occupation out around the edges of the harra and across the hamad as far as the lands bordering the Euphrates to the north and east. This period was marked by the first appearance of sheep and goat as one element of the steppic economy alongside traditional practices of hunting and foraging. The concluding chapter discusses these changes and proposes models for the introduction of domesticated animals into the steppe as a precursor to a full nomadic pastoral economy.

    eISBN: 978-1-78297-083-5
    Subjects: History, Archaeology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of figures (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of tables (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of plates (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Abstract (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Preface (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. 1. Background and Methodology (pp. 1-12)
    A. Betts, L. Martin and C. McCartney

    The east Jordanianbadiacomprises the steppe lands on the fringes of, and beyond, the land viable for dry farming, broadly defined by the 200 mm isohyet (Fig. 1.1). The country is sharply divided by the underlying geological formations into two distinct landscapes: the limestonehamad, a low rolling landscape of open gravel plains; and theharra, forbidding black boulder-strewn basalt uplands cut by deep wadis and punctuated by ancient volcanic peaks. The terrain of theharrais rough, rocky and has only two made-up roads crossing it, one of which is tarmac and the other packed gravel. Both of...

  9. 2. Late Neolithic Sites in the Harra (pp. 13-51)
    A. Betts, L. Cooke, A. Garrard, C. McCartney and D. Reese

    Most substantial Late Neolithic sites in theharrahave been found close to the edges of the basalt flows, particularly in the south-west, where theharranarrows and gives way to gravel plains and wind-blown sand. Here there is a combination of sheltered east-facing basalt promontories overlooking open plains which seems to have been particularly attractive to the Late Neolithic population in theharra. Elsewhere, deeper within the basalt plateau, there are traces of Late Neolithic usage, including flint scatters, some possibly associated with structures, but the sites seem to have seen only short-term use and have little build-up of...

  10. 3. Prehistoric Sites at Burqu’ (pp. 52-133)
    A. Betts, L. Martin, F. Matsaert and C. McCartney

    Qasr Burqu’ is a black box-like fortified tower with outbuildings that overlooks a seasonal lake at the eastern edge of theharra. Today the lake stretches over a kilometre in length at its maximum capacity, which is augmented by a modern earth and concrete dam that traps seasonal rainwater (Fig. 3.1). During the period of occupation at the Qasr, sometime between the 4th and the 8th century AD (Helms 1991a, 191), the water in the lake was retained to a lesser extent by a stone dam higher up the wadi, below the Qasr. In earlier times, before the construction of...

  11. 4. Excavations at Mahfour al-Ruweishid (pp. 134-142)
    A. Betts, C. McCartney, H. Pessin and G. Willcox

    Despite extensive survey through thehamadto the east and south of Burqu’, prehistoric sites seemed largely to consist of flint scatters without associated structures. Identifiable Late Neolithic sites were of the ‘burin Neolithic’ variety: scatters of flints along wadis with high proportions of concave truncation burins in the artefact assemblage. The one exception was the site of Mahfour al-Ruweishid, which was located on a mudflat in Wadi Ruweishid a few kilometres north of the modern dam at Feydha. The site consists of a rough circle of fossiliferous limestone blocks of varying size, open on the eastern side (Fig. 4.1)....

  12. 5. Excavations at Tell al-Hibr (pp. 143-155)
    A. Betts and L. Martin

    Some sites of the Chalcolithic/Early Bronze (EB) Age are known in bothharraandhamad, but many more may have gone unrecognized for lack of comparative diagnostic material. Chipped stone assemblages are more basic and less archaeologically recognizable than in earlier periods, and pottery, the main chronological indicator on settlement sites, is either absent from steppic sites or of local crude manufacture with few diagnostic forms (e.g.Bettset al.1998, 135, 136, fig. 6.1). Three sites have been assigned to this period on the basis of certain artefacts which have parallels in known assemblages in the Levant.

    BDS2314 is...

  13. 6. Area Survey in the Hamad (pp. 156-178)
    A. Betts, D. Cropper, W. Lancaster and F. Lancaster

    The Badiyat al-Sham comprises the northern part of the Arabian steppe; it is bounded to north and east by the river Euphrates, to the west by the well-watered highlands of Syria and Palestine and to the south by the Nafudh desert. Most of the region consists of open steppe, and rainfall ranges from 250 mm per annum in the north to less than 50 mm in the south. Running across Jordan from Jebel Druze in southern Syria to Jauf in Saudi Arabia is the basaltharra. East of theharraa series of wadi systems, al-Wudiyan, drains down into the...

  14. 7. The Eastern Badia (pp. 179-191)
    A. Betts and D. Cropper

    The data presented in this volume add significantly to our understanding of the prehistoric occupation of the badia, revealing distinctive settlement patterns, site types and economic strategies over time. When this evidence is considered with that from Dhuweila and the sites at Wadi Jilat and Azraq Basin it is possible to explore differences in land use and subsistence practices throughout the arid zone. Finally, the prehistoric occupation in the badia is examined in relation to the verdant regions, with particular emphasis on the introduction of pastoralism.

    Up until the last two decades of the 20th century the available evidence, or...

  15. Bibliography (pp. 192-196)
  16. Index (pp. 197-198)