• Name: Paul McLerran
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Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project

This year, a team from the University of California, San Diego will excavate and survey in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's Faynan district, 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 mining and metallurgy districts. Since 1997, UC San Diego has worked closely with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan on a deep-time, nine thousand year long, study of the role of mining and metallurgy on cultural evolution – from the Neolithic period to Islamic times. Known as the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project or ELRAP, its 2009 season will be devoted to excavating one of the largest Iron Age (ca. 1200 – 900 BCE) copper production sites in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Called Khirbat en-Nahas (Arabic, means ‘Ruins of Copper’), the site was the center of the earliest industrial scale metal production in the area and dates to the Biblical period. Excavations will focus on exploring some of the earliest metal production layers and administrative buildings at the site. In addition, the team will explore mines, and survey for hidden fortresses. The ELRAP project is special because it is at the center of using a high-tech on-site GIS digital archaeology system. Students 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. Local field trips, weekend trips and a special 3-day visit to the spectacular site of Petra – the Rose Red City - will take place. Petra was recently voted one of the new 7 wonders of the world and the team will spend three days visiting the area.

Are you interested in joining the team? Find out more by going to the website at www.anthro.ucsd.edu/~tlevy/index_files/Edom.htm.

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