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In a recent study of the characteristics of early states, Steiner suggests that Iron Age Moab had two economic spheres: the royal economy and the local economy. The local sphere consists of the economy of people living in villages and in small, fortified towns, and of the pastoral population. While agriculture was the backbone of this economy, crafts and industries such as pottery production, metalworking, and the production of textiles were designed to meet the needs of the local market. As more evidence becomes available through current excavations, this description of one facet of a small state’s economic organization can now be tested against the archaeological record. Finds from a pillared industrial building in the fortified town of Khirbat al-Mudayna on the Wadi ath-Thamad include two inscribed scale weights and one uninscribed weight. Also recovered from Iron Age contexts are seven seals and three bullae. Although this corpus is small in number, it represents a group of artifacts directly related to the local economy and includes the first occurrence of inscribed weights in Moab. This paper presents those weights, seals, and bullae in their archaeological context and studies their implications.


This article was originally published in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 328: 31-48. © 2003 American Schools of Oriental Research. Reproduced with permission.