Building Farmsteads in the Desert: Capitalism, Colonialism, and the Transformation of Rural Landscapes in Late Ottoman Period Transjordan

  • Lynda Carroll
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)


During the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire initiated economic and political reforms to address its faltering economy, civil unrest, and military losses. In its rural provinces, the state initiated a series of reforms that encouraged both capital investment and an attempt at Ottoman colonialism based on European models. In the Balqa’ region of Transjordan, this resulted in the transformation of the rural countryside, the creation of large rural farmsteads, and an increase in agricultural production. This also resulted in the settlement of Bedu, as many pastoralists were turned into agricultural workers. A postcolonial archaeology of this transformation provides a voice to people who lived under the Ottoman state and challenged the imposition of capitalism and colonial models. At Qasr Hisban, Bedu used both the hidden spaces of local caves, and the architecture of the expanding farmstead, to create their own challenges to the structures of state, capitalism and Ottoman colonialism.


Tribal Group Land Tenure System Domestic Space Tribal Leader Hide Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Archaeological survey for this study was supported by the 2001 Tall Hisban investigations of the Madaba Plains Project Consortium. This work would not be possible without the continued support and dialogues I have enjoyed over the years with Bethany Walker (Missouri State University) and Sten LaBianca (Andrews University), and the hard work of their many team members, especially Lean Fakhouri (University of Jordan) and her team who conducted the ­architectural study of Beyt Nabulsi during the 2001 field season. I am also grateful to Sarah Croucher and Lindsay Weiss for inviting me to contribute to this volume, and for their comments and suggestions. This work has benefited from all of their help, while all omissions and errors are the author’s alone.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Archaeology FacilityBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA

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