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Khirbat en-Nahas
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ASU researcher uses NASA satellite to explore archaeological site

Remote sensing has been integral to the field of archaeology for many years, but Arizona State University archaeologist Stephen H. Savage is literally taking the use of that technology to new heights. His brand of remote sensing involves a hyperspectral instrument called Hyperion aboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite.
Savage's focus is Khirbat en-Nahas, a major copper mining and smelting site of the ancient world. Located in an inhospitable valley in Jordan, the area has yielded to Savage and his team evidence of sophisticated economic and political activity dating back about 3,000 years.

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The fictional King Solomon's Mines held a treasure of gold and diamonds, but archaeologists say the real mines may have supplied the ancient king with copper.
Researchers led by Thomas Levy of the University of California, San Diego, and Mohammad Najjar of Jordan's Friends of Archaeology, discovered a copper-production center in southern Jordan that dates to the 10th century B.C., the time of Solomon's reign.
The discovery occurred at Khirbat en-Nahas, which means "ruins of copper" in Arabic. Located south of the Dead Sea, the region was known in the Old Testament as Edom.

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Title: Reassessing the chronology of Biblical Edom: new excavations and 14C dates from Khirbat en-Nahas (Jordan)
Authors: Thomas E. Levy, Russell B. Adams, Mohammad Najjar, Andreas Hauptmann, James D. Anderson, Baruch Brandl, Mark A. Robinson & Thomas Higham

An international team of researchers show how high-precision radiocarbon dating is liberating us from chronological assumptions based on Biblical research. Surface and topographic mapping at the large copper-working site of Khirbat en-Nahas was followed by stratigraphic excavations at an ancient fortress and two metal processing facilities located on the site surface. The results were spectacular. Occupation begins here in the eleventh century BC and the monumental fortress is built in the tenth. If this site can be equated with the rise of the Biblical kingdom of Edom it can now be seen to: have its roots in local Iron Age societies; is considerably earlier than previous scholars assumed; and proves that complex societies existed in Edom long before the influence of Assyrian imperialism was felt in the region from the eighth sixth centuries BC.

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Aerial view of Khirbat en-Nahas with the Iron Age fortress in the foreground, and numerous other buildings and smelting installations (slag mounds) visible on the site surface.
Photo courtesy of ROHR Productions (Nicosia).


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Copper Age
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San Diegans are getting a chance to travel back in time to the Middle East in pre-Biblical times, some 6,000 years ago. Their time machine is a new exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Man.
Journey to the Copper Age opened to the public last week to rave reviews and it is guest-curated by UCSD archaeologist Tom Levy. The show features many of the relics uncovered by Levy on a series of digs over the past two decades in Israel and Jordan, as well as his ethno-archaeological research in India.

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Edom
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A ruined copper mine in Jordan is shedding new light on the biblical civilization known as Edom.

Edomites lived south of the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordan, and are portrayed as the troublesome neighbour of Israelites. Recent excavations of an ancient copper mine have prompted archaeologists to reconsider when the Edomites may have existed.
An international team of experts is arguing that Edom may have come together as a civilization as early as the twelfth century BC. They base their findings on recorded radiation dates, as well as artefacts like arrowheads and ceramics.

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