BAR 37:06, Nov/Dec 2011
Condemned to the Mines
Copper production & Christian persecution
Damnatio ad metalla—condemned to the mines! Tantamount to a death sentence.
For the past 20 years, we have been exploring these mines about 30 miles southeast of the Dead Sea in the Faynan district of Jordan.a In ancient times, these copper mines represented hell on earth to those condemned to work here. Today, the area’s stark natural beauty and unusual history, both metallurgical and social, draw researchers and eco-tourists from around the world.
The Faynan mines are some of the world’s best-preserved ancient mining and metallurgy landscapes. In recognition of this and as part of the Dana Nature Reserve, the area has been declared part of a UNESCO Biosphere.