New techniques for tracing ephemeral occupation in arid, dynamic environments – case studies from Wadi Faynan and Wadi el-Jilat, Jordan

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    Can we identify transitory, ephemeral camp sites in dynamic environments? How can we
    maximise the information gained from such sites, depicting mobile-pastoral subsistence,
    to enable a consideration of spatial patterns of activity? Ephemeral occupation is
    underrepresented within archaeological investigations, perhaps because short-lived sites
    are notoriously difficult to interpret due to the poor preservation of their remains. However,
    information about ancient modes of existence in peripheral areas carries much value for
    the interpretation of past ways of life that are currently understated within archaeological
    narratives. This paper will discuss recent methodological developments in geoarchaeology,
    which may enable us to maximise the information gained from ephemeral sites, even
    after a long period of abandonment. The value of reconstructing ‘marginal’ lifestyles for
    archaeological accounts will be discussed, addressing the visibility of subsistence strategies
    which have dominated many landscapes in the Near East since the Neolithic. The potential
    of the application of a dual methodology, using phytolith and geochemical soil analysis, to
    achieve a better understanding of the use of space at ephemeral archaeological sites will be
    explored by presenting two case studies from Jordan
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLandscapes of Survival
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Archaeology and Epigraphy of Jordan’s North-Eastern Desert and Beyond
    EditorsPeter M.M.G. Akkermans
    PublisherSidestone press
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Print)9789088909436, 9789088909429
    Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020

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