This listing expired on August 1, 2012. Please contact for any updated information.
Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project

Location: Jordan

October 1, 2012 to November 22, 2012

Application Deadline: 
Friday, May 18, 2012

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon cisa3_archaeologyfieldschool2012.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of California, San Diego

Project Director:

Prof. Thomas Levy and Dr. Mohammad Najjar

Project Description

Since 1997, the UC San Diego Levantine Archaeology Laboratory has worked closely with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan on a deep-time study of the role of mining and metallurgy on cultural evolution over a period of nine-thousand years – from the Neolithic period to Islamic times – in Jordan’s Faynan district, some 50 km south of the Dead Sea. Faynan, located near the beautiful Dana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is home to one of the world’s best preserved ancient copper mining and metallurgy districts. The UCSD project is called the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project, or ELRAP.  ELRAP is special because of its focus on developing and using a high-tech, on-site digital archaeology system. Students will gain extensive experience not only participating in archaeological survey and excavation, but also mastering an array of digital survey and recording tools. There is also a strong daily field laboratory component where students work in labs including ceramics, zooarchaeology, archaeometallurgy, lithics, digital photography, GIS and more.

The 2012 season will focus on the investigation of the largest habitation site in this ancient copper ore resource zone. The site is Khirbat Faynan (Biblical Punon; Roman/Byzantine Phaino). Preliminary research in 2011 demonstrated important settlement phases during the Early Bronze II-III periods (ca. 2300 – 2000 BC), Iron Age (ca. 1200 – 500 BC), as well as Nabatean/Roman/Byzantine (350 BC – 638 AD). The working hypothesis is that Khirbat Faynan served as the political and economic center of copper production in Faynan during these periods. Advanced digital archaeology methods will be used to record the excavation process.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early Bronze Age, Iron Age, Nabataean Period, Roman Period, Byzantine Period, Early Islamic Period

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full season

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No experience required

Room and Board Arrangements

Project participants will live in a tent camp outside of the village of al-Qurayqira.  The tents are large enough for 10-12 people, but we generally only have 3-4 per tent.  All meals are provided while participants are in camp, and cooking and cleanup are done by camp staff.  Weekends are spent in cities, generally Aqaba or Amman (we also spend one long weekend in Petra) and transportation to the city is included in program fees.  Students are responsible for their own room and board on weekends.

$2450 for whole season

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
University of California – San Diego
Number of credits offered 16


Contact Information
Matthew Vincent
UCSD, Dept. of Anthropology, 9500 Gilman Dr. #0532
La Jolla
Recommended Bibliography: 

Levy, Thomas E., Mohammad Najjar, and Thomas Higham
    2010    Ancient texts and archaeology revisited - radiocarbon and Biblical dating in the southern Levant. Antiquity 84:834-847.

Levy, Thomas E., Thomas Higham, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Neil G. Smith, Erez Ben-Yosef, Mark Robinson, Stefan Münger, Kyle Knabb, Jürgen P. Schulze, Mohammad Najjar, and Lisa Tauxe
    2008    High-precision radiocarbon dating and historical biblical archaeology in southern Jordan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(43):16460-16465.

Levy, Thomas E., and Mohammad Najjar
    2006    Edom and Copper: The Emergence of Ancient Israel's Rival. Biblical Archaeology Review 32:24-35, 70.

Najjar, Mohammad, and Thomas E. Levy
    2011    Condemned to the Mines: Copper Production & Christian Persecution. Biblical Archaeology Review 37(6):30-39, 71.