Excavation and Survey in the Jabbul Plain, Western Syria: The Umm el-Marra Project 1996-1997
The 1996 and 1997 seasons of the Hopkins-Amsterdam project in the Jabbul plain, western Syria, have generated new results on Bronze Age urbanism at Tell Umm el- Marra and elucidated longer-term settlement patterns in the Jabbul region. Excavation results have documented the foundation of Umm el-Marra as a regional center in the Early Bronze Age, provided new data on a period of decentralization in Middle Bronze I, and supplied evidence of the regeneration of urbanism in MB II. Faunal and archaeobotanical analysis broaden our understanding of these developments, attesting to an economy overwhelmingly dependent on the steppe environment, with an emphasis on large-scale onager hunting in MB II. Finally, a regional survey provides data on long-term demographic and socioeconomic trends, furnishing an expansive time range and spatial context for our under- standing of developmental patterns in the region. The survey results supply new information on the limits of the Uruk expansion, cycles of Bronze Age urbanization, changing patterns of steppe exploitation, and demo- graphic and agricultural extensification in the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.