Sites & cities that bear the name of Khirbat Faynan

Khirbat Faynan

Today in : Jordan
First trace of activity : ca. 10,900 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 15th century C.E
Recorded names : Phaeno, Phaino, Punon, פונון

Description : Khirbat Faynan, known in late Roman and Byzantine texts as Phaino or Phaeno, is an archaeological site in Wadi Faynan, southern Jordan. It lies just south of the Dead Sea in Jordan. The site was an ancient copper mine that overlooks two Wadis and is the location of one of the best and most well preserved ancient mining and metallurgy districts in the world. Early Bronze Age The environment in Faynan had become increasingly arid around 4,000 BCE, as the settlement expanded out into the main wadi. During the Early Bronze Age which was approximately 3,500 BCE, more structured systems of irrigated farming had been developed due to the aridity of the area. These field systems are still visible and conserve many elements of the earliest irrigation systems and techniques used during this time. While mining for metals as well as ore processing began to intensify in Khirbat Faynan during the Iron Age, both practices in farming and irrigation as well as smelting had become more sophisticated under the Nabatean kingdom. Bronze and Iron Ages Located at the confluence of Wadi Dana and Wadi Ghuwayr, the settlement was occupied from the Early Bronze Age, with carbon dating showing activity at the site as early as 10,900 BCE. The mining and smelting activities intensified during the Iron Age. In the Bible The site has been identified with biblical Punon, one of the stations of the Exodus (Numbers 33:42-43). Nabataean period In the time of the Nabataean kingdom, both the farming and smelting activities reached a new degree of sophistication. The site drastically increased in activity when the Roman Empire had successfully annexed the Nabatean Kingdom in 106 CE. Roman and Byzantine periods In the Roman and Byzantine periods, it was the center of the area's extensive copper mining complex, the largest in the Southern Levant. Claims of early Christian authors including Eusebius and Athanasius of Alexandria of large numbers of Christians and heretics being deported to Phaeno, where they suffered under terrible conditions or even martyrdom, have not been supported by the study of 45 skeletons from the 4th- to 6th-century cemetery excavated at the site.

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