Margaret Ann Judd

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pittsburgh, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9786

Approve Date

April 27, 2019

Project Title

Judd, Margaret (University of Pittsburgh) "Multi-resource subsistence among ancient Jordanian pastoralists and townsfolk: health, diet and paleoethnobiology"

MARGARET JUDD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received funding in April 2019 to aid research on “Multi-resource Subsistence among Ancient Jordanian Pastoralists and Townsfolk: Health, Diet and Paleoethnobiology.” Past nomadic lifeways are poorly known owing to their physical and cultural absence in the archaeological record. A bioarchaeological analysis of nomadic skeletal remains of historic Ottoman nomads from Khirbat al-Mudayna and Tall Jawa sites reveals homogeneous local origins for the group members, and those from Iron Age townsfolk associated with Khirbat al-Mudayna and Early Ottoman semi-settled individuals from Tall-er-Rumeith further north (except one). The nomadic diet and health were quite different. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis combined with dental calculus analysis revealed that while dairy and meat were common to all diets, nomads consumed more of these products. Camel milk consumption appeared during the Ottoman Period but most folk relied on goat, sheep and cattle; fish consumption occurred at Rumeith only. The consumption of fish and camel milk in the past has often been associated with ill health, which may reflect mutual ethnomedical knowledge among the Ottoman groups. No group was considered malnourished owing to the relative absence of skeletal lesions associated with vitamin deficiencies (e.g., scurvy, iron-deficient anemia) or growth disruption causing dental enamel anomalies. Children from all groups were exposed to health issues resulting in premature deaths, while adult nomads experienced extensive injuries and poorer health.