Khirbat Faynan

Excavate Biblical Punon

The copper mines of Faynan, Jordan, some 30 miles south of the Dead Sea, have garnered attention from Neolithic to modern times. As often discussed in the pages of BAR, the mines (known as the area of Pinon in the Bible) played a major role in Biblical and ancient history. The mines may have been the source of Solomon’s great wealth, and they later came to be a little known site of Christian persecution under the Romans.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

Since 1997, the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (ELRAP), using the latest in high-tech archaeology, has examined the role of mining and metallurgy across 9,000 years of settlement and history in the Faynan region. Volunteers participate in archaeological survey and excavation while mastering an array of digital survey and recording tools. There is also a strong field laboratory component focusing on ceramics, zooarchaeology, archaeometallurgy, lithics, digital photography, GIS and more.
The 2012 season will be devoted to exploring the social and political evolution of the Iron Age kingdom of Edom. The focus will be on landscape archaeology, and will include both test soundings and cutting-edge noninvasive survey techniques, such as ground-penetrating radar and multispectral imaging. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in surveys aimed at understanding the different periods of settlement in the Faynan region.
Volunteers will share large tents in camps linked with the expedition house, which has showers and toilets. The kitchen and camp staff carry out the cooking and cleaning, and full room, board and local travel are included.

Thomas Levy

Thomas LevyThomas 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 NajjarMohammad 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.

Dig Directors

Thomas Levy
Mohammad Najjar

Geographic Location

30 miles southeast of the Dead Sea, and 20 miles northwest of Petra

Periods of Occupation

Early Bronze Age, Iron Age, Nabatean/Roman, Byzantine

Dates of the Dig

October 1 - November 21, 2012

Minimum Stay

Full Period

Application Due

June 15, 2012



Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Yes - 12 to 16 credits - $247/unit - University of California, San Diego


Tent Camp at the expedition house


Matthew Vincent
Department of Anthropology & CALIT2
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone: (858) 534-4551

Open for tours

Yes (local guides available)