The emergence of the Ammonites: Sociocultural transformation on the Transjordan plateau during the Late Bronze/Iron Age transition
AdvisorDever, William G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Ammonites were an ancient people who rose to become an important local kingdom on the Central Transjordanian plateau (Ammon) during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-550 BCE). By combining analysis of archaeological and textual materials, this study traces their development from a semi-nomadic tribal people into one of the region's first small-scale states. Beyond tracing their development, this study explores possible causes for the rise of the Iron Age states of ancient Palestine, such as Ammon. The key cause of this initial rise of states was the disruption of a long standing relationship between the tribal countryside, and the less kin-based urban centers, that was characterized by alternating periods of cooperation and conflict--oscillations described by Alexander Joffe in his 1993 study as "generation, resolution, and regeneration of contradiction between the rural and urban entities that occupied this region." The source of this disruption was external; after Egypt assumed control of Palestine during the Late Bronze Age, they initiated a policy of taxation and corvee that precipitated a final break between the local urban authorities and their subjects both in the towns and in the rural countryside. The tribal sub-structure that always existed among these people enabled them to form coalitions in the hinterlands (generally mountainous areas) that, in turn, facilitated their ability to support themselves and mount an effective campaign of resistance to the oppressive urban authorities. This resistance could take either an active (military) or passive (avoidance) form. After the local urban entities finally collapsed at the end of the Late Bronze Age, these tribal coalitions formed the foundation of a new type of polity--the Iron Age tribal kingdom of Palestine. Ammon, in the relative safety of the more distant central Transjordan highlands, was one of the first of these kingdoms to emerge.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Near Eastern Studies