Publication date:02 March 2020
Length of book:972 pages
The emergence of ancient urbanism has long held the interest of archaeologists attempting to understand the origins of inequality and its links to early urban life. This volume presents the results of archeological research at the Early Bronze Age sites of Numayra and Ras an-Numayra, conducted to investigate the rise of Early Bronze Age urban society, with a distinctive focus on links between environmental and social systems.
The Dead Sea Plain excavations at Numayra and Ras an-Numayra uncovered extraordinarily well-preserved architecture, artifacts, and faunal and paleoethnobotanical remains that offer exciting and profound insights that enhance our understanding of life in these walled settlements. Under the codirection of R. Thomas Schaub and Walter E. Rast, the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain team designed their research with an explicitly anthropological focus, based on the New Archaeology’s principles for archaeological knowledge production. Their excavations at these sites in the mid-1970s and early 1980s heralded the now-common approach combining archaeology, paleoethnobotany, palynology, bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, geology, and ethnoarchaeology into the research project, with a multidisciplinary team in the field to systematize collection and sampling procedures.
These excavations at Numayra and Ras an-Numayra represent a watershed moment in the history of archaeological research in the southern Levant, setting new standards for scientific methods and a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the past.
—Glenn M. Schwartz, Whiting Professor of Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University