New evidence may help decide if 'King Solomon's mines' is a misnomer

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Jerusalem, Feb 2 (ANI): In a new study, an archaeologist has found evidence that sheds new light on the venerable question that whether the term 'King Solomon's mines' is a misnomer or not.

Professor Thomas Levy, of the University of California (UC) San Diego, did the study.

The term 'King Solomon's Mines' was made famous by a 19th century novel of the same name - although, until now, no such mines have been proven to exist during the time period mentioned in the Bible.

Now, Levy, a UC archeologist, has found evidence that sheds new light on the venerable question of whether King David and his son King Solomon controlled the copper industry in the Kingdom of Edom, which is present-day southern Jordan.

Working with Mohammad Najjar of Jordan's Friends of Archeology and others, Levy excavated an ancient copper-production center at Khirbat en-Nahas, down to virgin soil, through more than six meters of industrial smelting debris.

The 2006 dig uncovered new artifacts and with them a new set of radiocarbon dates placing the bulk of industrial-scale production at Khirbat en-Nahas in the 10th century BCE, in line with biblical narrative on the rule of David and Solomon.

Khirbat en-Nahas is in the lowlands of a desolate, arid region south of the Dead Sea in what was once Edom and is today Jordan's Faynan district.

The Bible identifies the area with the Kingdom of Edom, a foe of ancient Israel.

The new data pushes back the archeological chronology some three centuries earlier than the current scholarly consensus.

The research also documents a spike in metallurgic activity at the site during the 9th century BCE, which may also support the history of the Edomites as related by the Bible.

"Now, with data from the first large-scale stratified and systematic excavation of a site in the southern Levant to focus specifically on the role of metallurgy in Edom, we have evidence that complex societies were indeed active in 10th and 9th centuries BCE, and that brings us back to the debate about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible narratives related to this period," said Levy.

"We can't believe everything ancient writings tell us. But, this research represents a confluence between the archeological and scientific data and the Bible," he added.

In the future, Levy intends to focus on who actually controlled the copper industry there - David and Solomon or perhaps regional Edomite leaders, and also on the environmental impacts of the ancient smelting. (ANI)

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