The Shammakh to Ayl Archaeological Survey, Southern Jordan 2010-2012
By Burton MacDonald, Geoffrey A. Clark, Larry G. Herr, D. Scott Quaintance, Hani Hayajneh and Jurg Eggler
Analysis of the materials, primarily lithics and sherds, collected in the course of this project indicate that the area experienced its highest density of population during the Middle Paleolithic, Neolithic/Chalcolithic, Iron II, Nabataean and Roman, Byzantine, and Late Islamic periods.
Relative to the settlement patterns of the area, it can be concluded that the area was a rural one where the chief activities were agriculture and pastoralism. The many farms, hamlets, villages, and camp sites documented show that the area most probably provisioned, during various archaeological periods, the major international sites of the area.
The project has particular relevance for understanding the major site of Petra during the Nabataean, Roman, and Byzantine periods. In addition, it is important relative to the site of Udhruh during these three periods plus the Early and Late Islamic periods and the site of ash-Shawbak, located immediately to the north of the project's territory, during the Middle Islamic period.
The objectives of The Shammakh to Ayl Archaeological Survey, Southern Jordan project were:
to discover, record, and interpret archaeological sites in an area of approximately 590 km between Shammakh in the north and Ayl in the south in the southern segment of the Transjordan Plateau;
to determine the area's settlement patterns from the Lower Paleolithic (ca. 1.4 mya) to the end of the Late Islamic period (AD 1918); to investigate the Pleistocene (as late as ca. 10,000 B.C.) sediments and lakes in the eastern segment of the survey territory;
to document the many farms, hamlets, and villages that provisioned the major international sites of the area, for example, Ash-Shawbak, Petra, and Udhruh;
to investigate further the Khatt Shabib or ‘Shabib's Wall,’ a low stone wall running in a generally north-south direction through the area;
to record the inscriptions, rock drawings, and wasms (tribal brands) within the area;
and to link up with previous work that the project director and others have carried out in southern Jordan.
These objectives were accomplished by the transecting of 108 random squares and the documenting of 366 sites that range in date from the Lower Paleaolithic to the end of the Late Islamic period. Finally, the project contributed to the writing of the archaeological history of southern Jordan from Wadi al-Hasa in the north to Ras an-Naqab in the south and from the desert on the east to the international border between Jordan and Israel on the west.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables and Appendices
List of Lithic Drawings
Abbreviations and Symbols
Archaeological Periods and Dates
Introduction (Burton MacDonald)
Random Square Descriptions (Burton MacDonald, Larry G. Herr, D. Scott Quaintance, and Geoffrey A. Clark)
Site Descriptions - 1-366 (Burton MacDonald, Larry G. Herr, D. Scott Quaintance, and Geoffrey A. Clark)
The Old Stone Age in the Saas Area (Geoffrey A. Clark)
Settlement Patterns Developed on the Basis of the Ceramics Collected (Burton MacDonald)
Ancient North Arabian Inscriptions, Rock Drawings and Tribal Brands (WASMS) from the Sammah/'Ayl ('El) Region, Southern Jordan (Hani Hayajneh)
Seal Impression on an Iron I Jar Rim (Jurg Eggles)
Summary and Conclusions (Burton MacDonald)
Burton MacDonald is Senior Research Professor, Department of Religious Studies, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since 1970, he has carried out archaeological work in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. He began his archaeological survey work in Jordan in 1979 and has directed and previously published on four projects; The Wadi al-Hasa Archaeological Survey’ (1979-1983), The Southern Ghors and Northeast 'Arabah Archaeological Survey’ (1985-1986), The Tafila-Busayra Archaeological Survey (1999-2001), and The Ayl to Ras an-Naqab Archaeological Survey (2005-2007).
Larry G. Herr is professor at Burman University, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He has done archaeological work in the Near East for the past four decades. He is associate director of the Madaba Plains Project's excavations at Tall al-'Umayri, Jordan, and a past associate editor of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
D. Scott Quaintance is a computer specialist with degrees in linguistics and computer sciences and mathematics from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. He served as administrator of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), Amman, between 1991 and 1993 and prior to his work on both The Tafila-Busayra Archaeological Survey, West-Central Jordan (1999-2001) and the present project, he was administrator of ACOR's Petra Church Project.
Geoffrey A. Clark is a former Regents' Professor in the School of Human Evolution & Social Change at Arizona State University. He is a paleoanthropologist and the author, co-author or editor of over 250 articles, notes, reviews and comments, and 12 monographs and books on human biological and cultural evolution in 'deep time' - the past four million years. His current interests turn on the logic of inference underlying knowledge claims in the various aspects of modern human origins research and with applications of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory in archaeology. He has done fieldwork in Arizona, Mexico, France, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and Jordan. Other research foci include European Mesolithic forager adaptations and the peopling of the Americas.
Hani Hayajneh is a professor in the faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology at Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan. As a member of that faculty he specializes in Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages. He has published a number of research papers, books, articles and reviews on the languages and cultural history of the Levant and Arabia. He has represented Jordan on cultural heritage issues in several international venues, notably the Intergovernmental Committee of the UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Jurg Eggler studied Theology, Semitic Languages and Cultural History, and ancient Near Eastern iconography at Bogenhofen (Austria), Helderberg and Stellenbosch (South Africa), and Fribourg (Switzerland). Since 1998 he has been a research fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation at the University of Fribourg. He co-directed the publication of the corpus of seal-amulets from Jordan, is editor-in-chief of the lexicon on the Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East, and is currently preparing a comprehensive reference work on the iconography of animals in Palestine/Israel and Jordan.
New Titles List
Geoffrey A. Clark
Larry G. Herr
D. Scott Quaintance
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