Khirbat al-Mudayna : a preliminary faunal report
Popkin, Peter Reginald William
Khirbat al-Mudayna on the Wadi ath-Thamad is an Iron Age II site in central Jordan located on the northern border of ancient Moab. Excavation of Mudayna by field school students from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Saskatchewan has been ongoing since 1996 and will continue in 2001. This study presents a preliminary analysis of over 8000 animal bones that have been recovered from Mudayna since excavation began. The analysis of the faunal remains is based around theories of sheep and goat herd management strategies, developed by Redding, and meat distribution strategies developed by Zeder. It also considers the food systems theories that LaBianca has proposed in his work with the faunal remains at Tell Hesban. The types and amounts of faunal material recovered from Mudayna are compared with the fauna excavated at Hesban, located 30 kms northwest of Mudayna, as they are the only extensive collection of fauna reported on from the Iron Age Transjordan. Analysis of the Mudayna faunal material shows that herd security was the primary goal of the Iron Age herders and a system of direct to consumer distribution was in place at Mudayna. The Mudayna fauna confirms LaBianca's theories about the nature of the Transjordanian Iron Age tribal kingdoms. The fauna demonstrate the importance of tribal connections within the society as well as emphasize the lack of distinction between the "urban elite" and the "rural tribesman". The Mudayna fauna also show that the Iron Age environment was more lush than today, supporting richer pasture, shrubs and trees. This faunal analysis will be useful as a comparative tool for future work in Transjordan.