Lowland Edom and the high and low chronologies: Edomite state formation, the bible and recent archaeological research in Southern Jordan

Thomas E. Levy, Mohammad Najjar, Johannes Van Der Plicht, Neil Smith, Hendrik J. Bruins, Thomas Higham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This study explores the chronological assumptions that underlie the past 40 years of Iron Age archaeological investigations in southern Jordan and offers an alternative framework based on the application of high precision radiocarbon dating. The 2002 University of California, San Diego— Department of Antiquities of Jordan (UCSD—DOAJ) archaeological excavations at the copper production center of Khirbat en-Nahas (KEN) demonstrate monumental building and industrial scale copper production in two major phases dating to the 12th-11th and 10th-9th centuries BCE. Stratigraphic excavations, new high precision radiocarbon dating using short-life samples, and small finds such as ceramics, scarabs, and arrowheads from the site show the centrality of the Iron Age landscape in the copper ore-rich lowlands of Edom for the formation of complex societies in this part of the southern Levant. The new data presented here challenge previous assumptions about the Iron Age in Jordan, such as (a) the formation of the Iron Age kingdom of Edom only took place in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE and (b) no monumental building activities took place in Transjordan during the 10th century BCE. Bayesian statistical analyses of the radiocarbon dates from KEN are presented by Higham et al. (Chapter 11, this volume). This study discusses some of the archaeological and historical implications of the latest suite of high precision radiocarbon dates obtained from the Oxford and Groningen radiocarbon laboratories from the recent excavations at the Iron Age metal production center at Khirbat en-Nahas in Jordan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781845534981
ISBN (Print)9781845530570
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Thomas E. Levy and Thomas Higham 2005. All Rights Reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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