Environmental constraints on ancient copper production in the aravah valley: Implications of the newly discovered site of khirbet manaiyah in southern Jordan

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Abstract

The paper presents the recently discovered copper smelting site of Khirbet Manaiyah and its relations to the copper ore deposits and ancient production systems in the nearby Timna Valley. The unique location of the site, in the foothills of southern Edom and away from the ore sources, sheds light on the environmental factors that shaped and limited the production of copper in this region through the millennia. The site is one of the largest ancient smelting camps in the southern Aravah known today, containing several hundred tons of slag. Thus, it was probably the search for fuel sources that dictated its location-near an extensive spread of acacia trees that grew on the alluvial fans on the eastern side of the Aravah. It is also suggested that the site, whose smelting technology cannot date earlier than the late 10th century BCE, represents an Iron IIA activity related to the transformation in smelting technology that followed the campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I to the southern Levant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-202
Number of pages17
JournalTel Aviv
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Copper production
  • Faynan
  • Iron Age
  • Khirbet manaiyah
  • Timna

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