Wednesday, December 23, 2020

LANDSCAPES OF SURVIVAL: The Archaeology and Epigraphy of Jordan’s North-Eastern Desert and Beyond

Edited by Peter M.M.G. Akkermans | 2020

Paperback ISBN: 9789088909429 | Hardback ISBN: 9789088909436 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x280mm | 396 pp. | Language: English | 52 illus. (bw) | 189 illus. (fc) | Keywords: Jordan; desert; mobility; nomads; pastoralists; archaeology; epigraphy; rock art; prehistory; Bronze Age; Iron Age; Roman; Early Islamic; ancient Near East

The ‘Black Desert’ begins just south of Damascus and comprises some 40,000 km2 of dark and desolate basalt fields, which stretch from southern Syria across north-eastern Jordan and reach the sand sea of the Nefud in Saudi Arabia. The rough and highly arid terrain is often difficult to access and travel through. Despite these uninviting conditions, recent fieldwork has revealed the immense archaeological and epigraphic record of the Black Desert. This material testifies to the prominent successes achieved by indigenous nomadic peoples in exploiting the basalt range through hunting and herding across centuries and millennia.

To date, there is an ever-increasing interest in the archaeology of the Black Desert. In particular, Jordan is home to a range of international research projects, and exciting new discoveries convincingly demonstrate the archaeological affluence of Jordan’s desert landscape. The present volume provides a wide-ranging and up-to-date examination of the archaeology and epigraphy of the immense basalt expanse as well as comparative perspectives from other parts of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. This collection of papers offers detailed insights and analyses on topics ranging from mobility and landscape to developments in settlement and burial practices, as well as the role of rock art and literacy in ancient desert environments. This richly illustrated book is a significant point of reference for what is rapidly becoming a most vibrant and dynamic field of research in the Levant and Arabia. 

List of contributors

Aktham Oweidi

Introduction: landscapes of survival
Peter M.M.G. Akkermans

First inhabitants: the early prehistory of north-east Jordan
Tobias Richter

New techniques for tracing ephemeral occupation in arid, dynamic environments: case studies from Wadi Faynan and Wadi al-Jilat, Jordan
Daniella Vos

Populating the Black Desert: the Late Neolithic presence
Yorke M. Rowan, Gary O. Rollefson and Alexander Wasse

Flamingos in the desert: how a chance encounter shed light on the ‘Burin Neolithic’ of eastern Jordan
Alexander Wasse, Gary Rollefson and Yorke Rowan

Pastoralists of the southern Nefud desert: inter-regional contact and local identity
Maria Guagnin

The works of the old men in Arabia: a comparative analysis
David Kennedy

Defending the ‘land of the devil’: prehistoric hillforts in the Jawa hinterland
Bernd Müller-Neuhof

The Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age of the badia and beyond: implications of the results of the first season of the Western Harra Survey
Stefan L. Smith

East of Azraq: settlement, burial and chronology from the Chalcolithic to the Bronze Age and Iron Age in the Jebel Qurma region, Black Desert, north-east Jordan
Peter M.M.G. Akkermans and Merel L. Brüning

Identifying nomadic camp sites from the Classical and Late Antique periods in the Jebel Qurma region, north-eastern Jordan
Harmen O. Huigens

The Nabataeans as travellers between the desert and the sown
Will M. Kennedy

The desert and the sown: Safaitic outsiders in Palmyrene territory
Jørgen Christian Meyer

The north-eastern badia in Early Islamic times
Karin Bartl

Depicting the camel: representations of the dromedary camel in the Black Desert rock art of Jordan
Nathalie Ø. Brusgaard

Bows on basalt boulders: weaponry in Safaitic rock art from Jebel Qurma, Black Desert, Jordan
Keshia A.N. Akkermans

‘Your own mark for all time’: on wusūm marking practices in the Near East (c. 1800-1960 AD)
Koen Berghuijs

Rock art in Saudi Arabia: a window into the past? First insights of a comparative study of rock art sites in the Riyadh and Najrān regions
Charly Poliakoff

Graffiti and complexity: ways-of-life and languages in the Hellenistic and Roman harrah
Michael C.A. Macdonald

Gaius the Roman and the Kawnites: inscriptional evidence for Roman auxiliary units raised from the nomads of the harrah
Ahmad Al-Jallad, Zeyad Al-Salameen, Yunus Shdeifat and Rafe Harahsheh

Remarks on some recently published inscriptions from the harrah referring to the Nabataeans and the ‘revolt of Damași’
Jérôme Norris

Two new Safaitic inscriptions and the Arabic and Semitic plural demonstrative base

Philip W. Stokes 

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