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Settlement patterns and military organisation in the region of Udhruh (Southern Jordan) in the Roman and Byzantine periods

"This thesis considers the changes to settlement and land use that occurred in the region of Udhruh, southern Jordan,following the annexation of the Nabataean kingdom by Rome in AD 106 until the Early Islamic period. The region experienced a long flourishing period of history as part of the Nabataean kingdom in the hinterland of the capital at Petra.H istorical and archaeologica resources clearly indicate its importance throughout most of the historical periods after the Roman conquest. A legionary fortress is still fairly well preserved at Udhruh and other military structures have long been suspected at Ayl and Sadaqa and elsewhere. Apart from Alistair Killick's study in the 1980s( not yet fully published), the area has received little scholarly attention. This study provides for the first time a detailed survey of about 336 archaeological sites, most of which were undocumented. These were recorded in the course of two seasons of fieldwork and many of these sites demonstrated continued occupation and activity up to the last century. Overall, there is exceptional preservation and very little disturbance of the archaeological remains from the period under study. The thesis also considers evidence for the region found in historical documents. Udhruh, for instance, was second on the Beersheba Edict list of tax-paying towns in the province of Palestenia Terfla during the Byzantine period. Udhruh and al-Jerba are also said to have paid the poll tax to the Muslims in AD 630. Finally, apart from investigating the shifts in settlement patterns, the thesis provides a clear understanding of the military organisation in the region and its relation to the broad system of the limes Arabicus. There is also a detailed discussion of the road system and its relation to the imperial road system such as the via nova Traiana and the ancient trade routes. This study also presents a detailed investigation of the water supply systems and the techniques used by the inhabitants of the region to overcome the shortage of water resources in a dry zone of Jordan and its impact on the economic situation of the area. Other significant archaeological features such as Khatt Shabib were also considered in this study."

Author(s):  Abudanh, Fawzi
Format:  Book
Publisher:  Newcastle University
Publication City:  Newcastle
Date:  2006