My research focuses on the history, religion, and culture of ancient Jordan; how empires affect peripheral societies; and historical-critical readings of the Hebrew Bible.
My first book, The Ammonites: Elites, Empires, and Sociopolitical Change (1000–500 BCE), which was published in 2014, investigates the social history of the Ammonites, one of the neighbors of ancient Israel and Judah. While the Bible casts Ammonite origins into the hoary past—the result of incest between Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19)—most of the extant sources for Ammonite history date to the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods (ca. 750–500 BCE). The book investigates the archaeological, epigraphic, and biblical evidence for the course of Ammon’s history, setting it squarely within the context of ancient Near Eastern imperialism. Drawing on cross-cultural parallels from the archaeology of empires, it elucidates the dynamic processes by which the local Ammonite elite negotiated their existence in the face of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires.
I continued that stream of thought in the book I co-edited with Virginia Rimmer Herrmann (Universität Tübingen) entitled Imperial Peripheries in the Neo-Assyrian Period (University Press of Colorado, 2018). It looks at the ways that smaller societies on the edge of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (934–612 BCE) developed and responded to Assyrian Imperialism.
I have also begun work on a broader history of the Ammonites that will move from the Late Bronze Age to the Persian Period. This work is under contract with the Society of Biblical Literature.
Finally, I am part of the Balu’a Regional Archaeological Project (BRAP), which will be conducting its first full season of excavation this summer (2019) at the basalt site of Khirbat al-Balu’a, near Jebel Shihan in Jordan. For more information on this, see the older the mini-updates in The BRAP Beat below and check Facebook for BRAP.