The 1800s was marked by major political and economic reforms in the Ottoman empire, starting in 1839 under the Ottoman sultan Mahmoud II and continuing through the 19th and early 20th century by Sultan Abdülhamid II. The sultans worked to centralize, secularize, and modernize Ottoman rule by instigating a series of social and economic reforms (the Tanzimat). In 1858, new land laws were implemented that encouraged private land ownership and agricultural intensification, with the tax revenues from agricultural products, particularly grain, facilitating increased Ottoman involvement in the global market. In Jordan’s Belqa’ region, this model contrasted sharply with the traditional tribal-based system of land rights and power structure, not to mention the traditional agropastoral or nomadic subsistence economy. The effect of these reforms on local tribal communities can only be gleaned from textual and archival sources, but they suggest a model of economic disruption. Here, we explore the bioarchaeological evidence from late 19th-century burials from the site of Hisban, located in one of the most fertile regions of central Jordan, the Madaba Plain. Most of these individuals lived and died after the institution of the Tanzimat land laws in 1858, and thus comparing evidence of disease and malnutrition to pre-Tanzimat samples may illuminate the resiliency of the local populace to economic and political changes.