'Death...more desirable than life'? The human skeletal record and toxicological implications of ancient copper mining and smelting in Wadi Faynan, southwestern Jordan

John Grattan, Steven Huxley, Lotus Abu Karaki, Harry Toland, David Gilbertson, Brian Pyatt, Ziad Al Saad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Skeletal material from 36 people, dating from the early Christian era, who lived by or worked in the notorious Roman copper mines of Phaeno, were analysed to determine their exposure to copper and lead. We demonstrate that many of the bones analysed had a substantially higher concentration of these cations than modern individuals exposed to metals through industrial processes. Health, toxicological and environmental implications of these data are reviewed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2002

Keywords

  • ancient industry
  • ancient pollution
  • copper
  • human bone
  • lead
  • smelting

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