The work of North American archaeologists in Jordan has, for more than a century, been directed by the quest for a particular desired past, namely that of the history of Israel and its neighbours, such as the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites. The volumes under review here continue this tradition. But, more significantly, they also demonstrate the current efforts by these researchers to bring archaeology out of its provincial past in the heartland of biblical archaeology and towards an engagement with contemporary issues in anthropological archaeology and, less explicitly perhaps, global history. One volume, New insights into the Iron Age archaeology of Edom, reports on the results of a single major research initiative, the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (ELRAP); the other, Southern Transjordan Edomite Plateau and the Dead Sea Rift Valley to the west, synthesises a number of smaller survey projects directed by Burton MacDonald over the past three decades.
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