Thomas E. Levy, UCSD Levantine Archaeology Lab

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MINE FIELD. Najjar and Levy have recently identified a third type of mining, called a copper-pit mine field. In a survey of the Faynan area (aided by satellite photos), they discovered hundreds of shallow round depressions measuring about 23 feet in diameter. These pit mines, similar to the copper mines at Timna in Israel, were dug into relatively loose earth to provide easy access to naturally broken-up copper ore. These mines date to the early Iron Age and were much easier to work in than the shaft-and-gallery or room-and-pillar types where convicted Christians labored under the Roman and early Byzantine rulers.