In this major work Professor MacDonald chronicles an intensive and systematic archaeological survey of the southern flank of the Wadi el Hasa in West–Central Jordan. The survey resulted in the recovery of human evidence spanning the Lower Paleolithic to the Ottoman period (500,000 B.C.–A.D. 1918). The area is cut by a number of impressive and deep, south–to–north flowing wadis. As a region marginal for farming but stable for grazing, it would be the first to “empty out” and the last to “fill up” compared to more favourable regions. The methodology employed included a combination of purposive, predictive, and pedestrian transects. Lithics spanning the Lower Paleolithic to the end of the Early Bronze period (500,000–2000 B.C.) and ceramics covering the period from the Pottery Neolithic to the end of the Ottoman domination (4750 B.C.–A.D. 1918) were collected in the area. Sites surveyed included lithic and sherd scatters, camps, hamlets, villages, roads, milestones, fortresses, watchtowers, and mills.
This research sheds new light on the settlement of the area, which now appears to have been most dense during the Middle Paleolithic, Iron II, Nabataean, and Byzantine periods.
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Burton MacDonald teaches in the Department of Theology at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He has studied and worked in the Middle East for the past twenty years and in Jordan for the past ten years.
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