North Jordan during the Early Iron Age: An Historic and Archaeological Synthesis
Zeidan Kafafi [+]
The beginning of the Iron Age (ca. 1200 BC) saw the collapse of the Egyptian and Hittite Empires, events that had repercussions for social and political systems throughout the Levant as late Bronze Age city-states were transformed into various kinds of ethno-political structures. So far as early Iron Age Jordan is concerned, the area south of Wadi az-Zarqa has been relatively well-studied and is known from archaeological and literary sources (e.g., the Bible) to have comprised three small kingdoms (Ammon, Moab and Edom) that extended for about 275 km from north to south along the eastern escarpment of the Jordan Rift. In contrast, the region north of the Wadi az-Zarqa is poorly known. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the Iron Age history of this area based on relatively sparse archaeological data augmented by more fine-grained Assyrian literary sources. Two political entities have been identified (Zobah/Beth-Rehob and Gil'ad/Gil'az?) and are discussed below.