The Wadi Faynan Project
Wadi Faynan in southern Jordan contained the largest copper deposits in the
Middle East. These deposits were extensively mined from the Chalcolithic until
they were largely exhausted during the Roman period.
The Wadi Faynan Project was established as an archaeological and anthropological
project intended to develop and promote our high standards of research. Under
the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Sumaya, we are working with local agencies and
communities to re-invest this knowledge to serve local needs.
Since 1994, as part of a ten-year research programme and building on the
research carried out by the German Bochum Museum, CBRL teams have begun to
document man's adaptation to a semi-arid environment. CBRL monographs reporting
this work will be published in the near future.
The Wadi Faynan area lies partly within the Dana Nature Reserve, which is
managed by the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).
CBRL currently maintains a field station here, next to the
new RSCN hotel. This field station has accommodation (and camping equipment for
larger teams), work and storage space. Since the beginning of the project we
have worked closely with the RSCN and our collaboration with them represents a
union of palaeo-environmental research with modern ecological management.
Funding has come from many sources, including the British Embassy in Amman, the
Arab Potash Company, the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research
Board, and many British Universities.
The large rubble mound of Khirbat Faynan is the site of the region's principal
Around the site of Khirbat Faynan and extending into numerous side wadis, the
remains of ancient mines, mining camps and smelting sites are evident.
Selected CBRL funded projects
Wadi Faynan Landscape Survey
Professor Graeme Barker & Professor David Mattingly, University of Leicester
and Professor David Gilbertson, Nene Centre for Research, Northampton
A large multi-disciplinary team led by Prof. Barker has been documenting the
land-use of the Wadi Faynan from prehistory to the recent past, with special
regard to the copper mining. Focusing on the extensive field systems in the Wadi,
they have carried out field surveys and paleo-environmental studies to explore
the long-term history of inter-relationships between landscape and people within
this semi-arid environment.
Wadi Faynan 4th/3rd Millennium Project
Dr Karen Wright, University College London
Dr Wright conducted excavations and surveys around the site of WF100 within Wadi
Faynan to explore Early Bronze Age occupation in relation to copper mining in
the area. This study seeks to address a number of issues concerning changes in
ranking systems, shifts in modes of production and nomad/sedentary
Wadi Faynan -Wadi Ghuwayr Early Prehistory Project
Professors Bill Finlayson, Council for British Research in the Levant, and
Steve Mithen, University of Reading
This project has studied the early prehistoric period. Material from the Lower
Palaeolithic onwards has been identified, and a particularly important PPNA
site, Wadi Faynan 16, has been examined by test trenching and geophysical
more details on the Wadi Faynan project
Wadi Faynan Classical Survey
Dr Phil Freeman, University of Liverpool
Dr Freeman's project was designed to explore an area of Classical activity close
to the Wadi Faynan South Cemetery. The survey seeks to understand the link
between these two areas and provide further insight into Classical period
Wadi Faynan South Cemetery Project
Mr George Findlater, University of Edinburgh, Dr Mahmoud El-Najjar and Dr
Abdel-Halin Al Shiyab, Yarmouk University
Founded as a rescue project in response to extensive looting of a Classical
period cemetery in the Wadi Faynan, a team from the CBRL and Yarmouk University
undertook excavation in certain areas to retrieve data. Now in its
post-excavation phase, the project seeks to further our knowledge of Byzantine
burial processes and the pathology of these populations.