The archaeological excavation of Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj provides the foundation for an unprecedented analysis of agrarian village life during an era of the Levantine Bronze Age characterised previously in terms of urban collapse and a reversion to mobile pastoralism. Interpretation of archaeological and ecological evidence here situates the lifeways of this community amid emerging revised chronologies and reconstructions of village-based society in the third millennium BC. This reconstruction of rural life integrates evidence of regional and local environmental change, agricultural coping strategies, intramural social change, interaction with neighbouring communities and ritual ties with preceding and subsequent periods. This synthesis centred on Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj suggests a strikingly revised portrait of rural society in the course of Near Eastern civilisation.
Steve Falconer (PhD, Anthropology, University of Arizona) has practised anthropological archaeology at New York University, Arizona State University, La Trobe University and the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He co-directed (with P. Fall) the excavation and analysis of Tell el-Hayyat, Tell Abu en-Ni‘aj, Dhahret Umm el-Marar and Zahrat adh-Dhra‘ 1 along the Jordan Rift, and Politiko-Troullia on Cyprus.
Pat Fall (PhD, Geosciences, University of Arizona) is a geoscientist and biogeographer who has investigated ancient agrarian life and landscape formation in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea Basin, Cyprus, the Bahamas, Tonga and Samoa. She has served on the faculties of New York University, Arizona State University, La Trobe University and the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
‘The quality of data presentation … is excellent. … [T]his data set represents what may perhaps be the most complete and comprehensive publication of this type of data for the EB IV and is exceptionally valuable for scholars working in this area. … [T]he authors do more than simply present the final results of their excavations; instead they provide thorough analysis and provide contextualization for these results.’ Prof. Susan Cohen, Montana State University
‘This research certainly has potential ramifications beyond the scope of the Southern Levant. … The discussions of methodologies employed for coping with environment might have interesting ramifications for present-day concerns re. climate change.’ Dr Stefan L. Smith, Ghent University
‘The data presented are of immense value, not only for a better understanding of the settlement history of the region, but also for a broader understanding of human adaptation in times of environmental change.’ Dr Hermann Genz, American University of Beirut
‘Highly original and deals with contemporary Levantine archaeological problems. … Although the excavation took place several decades ago, the authors are on top of the latest chronological debates in the field. … This is an excellent volume.’ Prof. Thomas E. Levy, University of California, San Diego