Economic Strategies of Provincial Elites in Ayyubid Southern Jordan

Author(s): Ian Jones; Mohammad Najjar; Thomas Levy

Year: 2017


The late 12th and 13th centuries AD in the southern Levant are a period of increasing political centralization, ending the political instability caused by the fragmentation of the ‘Abbasid Empire in the 10th century AD. While the 11th and early 12th centuries are marked by near-constant shifts in political sovereignty, by the 13th century control was contested only between the Ayyubid rulers of Cairo and Damascus. A third center — Karak, in central Jordan — was, however, able to achieve political autonomy, if only briefly, during the 13th century, largely through maintaining economic autonomy. The elites of Cairo and Damascus recognized and attempted to disrupt this economic autonomy, but with only limited success. This paper presents evidence from recent archaeological research at one of the "nodes" of this economic strategy, the copper ore resource district of Faynan, in southern Jordan, where copper production saw a brief revival during the 12th and 13th centuries AD. This strategy of maintaining political autonomy is also compared to other strategies that have been archaeologically and historially observed in the Levant both earlier and later in the Islamic periods.

Cite this Record

Economic Strategies of Provincial Elites in Ayyubid Southern Jordan. Ian Jones, Mohammad Najjar, Thomas Levy. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430312)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17644