In Smaller Things Forgotten: Using microdebris to enhance our understanding of Middle Islamic Dhiban (Jordan)

Author(s): Nicholas Ames

Year: 2015


This paper presents heavy fraction data from the archaeological site of Dhiban, Jordan, dating to the Middle Islamic period of occupation (late 12th to late 15th centuries CE). Based on a comparative study between larger heavy fraction materials and microartifacts I argue for the importance of smaller material residues in interpreting specific use-space as well as understanding Dhiban in relation to larger regional trends. Using a systematic flotation sampling strategy that recorded volume and provenience, the material was collected from a barrel-vaulted room enclosing a "domestic" space that encompassed a series of successive layered floors. Analysis of the material revealed that smaller residue sizes often do not correlate with larger residue sizes in either abundance or presence of different materials. Ceramics are abundant in larger fraction sizes but relatively infrequently in smaller sizes. Faunal remains of marine vertebrates and invertebrates that provide evidence for long-distance trade and water-resource use are rarely found in larger fraction sizes yet are ubiquitous in even the smallest fraction sizes. This research suggests that smaller fraction sizes are valuable sources of data to supplement archaeological interpretation concerning the material life-ways of past inhabitants.

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Cite this Record

In Smaller Things Forgotten: Using microdebris to enhance our understanding of Middle Islamic Dhiban (Jordan). Nicholas Ames. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397560)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;