Floodwater farming and quarrying at Jabal Hamra Arlbieg in the Jordanian desert: Economic support for the classical period Faynan Orefield

Hannah Friedman, Russell Adams, James Anderson, Patrick Byrne, David Gilbertson, John Grattan, Keith Haylock, Lindsay Holman, Chris O. Hunt*, Harry Toland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Recent research has shown that the Faynan Orefield was a scene of intensive metal production during the Classical Period, but the infrastructure supporting this activity is less well known. We present evidence for previously undetected floodwater-farming and quarrying, which contributed to the economic life of the Faynan complex during Classical times. The site is located on an ancient route, south of the main orefield. We describe the hydrological control features of the floodwater farm and a possible place of habitation. Pollen analysis suggests that olives and cereals were cultivated. Exposures of sediment sequences containing buried walls, and ceramics both within and upon these sediments, all indicate that the activity took place during Nabatean to Late Roman/Byzantine times. Two ancient quarried areas were distinguished from natural landforms by a combination of geomorphic properties and variations in the geochemistry of the Mn-Fe rich desert varnish on long-exposed and quarried rock surfaces. Essentially uncontaminated by metal pollution, the site provided uncontaminated produce and building stone to the Faynan Orefield. Sediments and soils on the site are essentially unpolluted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103056
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume42
Early online date30 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Floodwater farming
  • Irrigation
  • Olives
  • Quarrying
  • Desert varnish
  • WADI-FAYNAN
  • ANCIENT
  • NEGEV
  • METALLURGY
  • LANDSCAPE
  • RECONSTRUCTION
  • AGRICULTURE
  • HIGHLANDS
  • CLIMATE
  • SYSTEMS

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