Recent excavations in south-eastern Wadi ‘Araba in Jordan have revealed the first early Islamic-period copper-smelting site known in the eastern side of the valley, which extends south of the Dead Sea to the Gulf of ‘Aqaba. Five test pits were excavated in 2012 at Khirbat al–Mana‘iyya, a prominent copper-smelting camp in south-eastern Wadi ‘Araba, Jordan. The results of these excavations demonstrate that the site was primarily active in the seventh–ninth century AD. Its distance from the copper sources of south-west ‘Araba suggests that its location was chosen based on proximity to wood and water resources, rather than copper ore deposits. The discovery that the site dates to the early Islamic period has implications for previous and future work in south-east ‘Araba. In particular, it challenges the common—until now—view of the region as virtually devoid of settlement during this period.
- early Islamic
- southern ‘Araba