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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes results of preliminary research by the ‘Follow the Pots’ project, centring on the sites of Bab adh-Dhra’, Naqa/Safi, and Fifa. These three extensive Early Bronze Age (EBA, .3600–2000 BCE) cemeteries on the southeastern Dead Sea Plain in Jordan offer a unique opportunity to study mortuary practices at a time when the social landscape changed dramatically as people moved into fortified towns for the first time. Unfortunately these sites have suffered decades of plundering due to demand for grave goods sold in antiquities markets globally. Beyond evaluating the immense loss of evidence from this dynamic period in human prehistory, this case study explores the complex relationship between the first and second lives of these 5,000-year-old grave goods by focusing on the issue of materiality. The chapter examines the meanings and values attached to archaeological material culture by multiple stakeholders, including looters, archaeologists, shopkeepers, and consumers of EBA archaeological material culture from the southeastern Dead Sea Plain.

Keywords: Early Bronze Age, Jordan, materiality, looting, ethnography, values

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