Khirbat al-Jariya


Copper Ore at the Core of an Ancient Economy

Preliminary excavations at the site focused on excavating a single house and associated copper slag mound at Khirbat al-Jariya. Radiocarbon dates from the stratified excavations span the 12th to 10th centuries BCE in Jordan’s Faynan copper ore district. These dates show that the site was in operation from the time of the collapse of the great Late Bronze Age civilizations in the eastern Mediterranean to the arrival of Egyptians in the region under Sheshonq I (Shishak from the Hebrew Bible). Our preliminary research suggests that this copper production site was organized by local tribes — perhaps people related to the foundation of the Biblical kingdom of Edom.


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Geographic Location

Faynan copper ore district, southern Jordan

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age

Minimum Stay

Full period


Thomas Levy

Thomas Levy holds the Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands at the University of California, San Diego. He specializes in the archaeology of the Levant and has done fieldwork in Jordan since 1997.

Mohammad Najjar

Mohammad Najjar is affiliated with the University of California, San Diego’s Levantine Archaeology Lab and has also been a director of excavations at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.