Radon and 'King Solomon's Miners': Faynan Orefield, Jordanian Desert

Grattan, J.P., Gillmore, G.K., Gilbertson, D.D., Pyatt, F.B., Hunt, C.O., McLaren, S.J., Phillips, P.S. and Denman, A.R. (2004) Radon and 'King Solomon's Miners': Faynan Orefield, Jordanian Desert. Science of the Total Environment, 319(1-3), pp. 99-113. ISSN (print) 0048-9697


Concentrations of 222Rn were measured in ancient copper mines which exploited the Faynan Orefield in the South-Western Jordanian Desert. The concentrations of radon gas detected indicate that the ancient metal workers would have been exposed to a significant health risk and indicate that any future attempt to exploit the copper ores must deal with the hazard identified. Seasonal variations in radon concentrations are noted and these are linked to the ventilation of the mines. These modern data are used to explore the differential exposure to radon and the health of ancient mining communities.

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