Washington: New findings from an archaeological excavation prove that copper mines in Israel believed to have been built by the ancient Egyptians in the 13th century BCE actually originated three centuries later, during legendary King Solomon`s reign.
Based on the radiocarbon dating of material unearthed at a new site in Timna Valley in Israel`s Aravah Desert, the findings overturn the archaeological consensus of the last several decades.
Scholarly work and materials found in the area suggest the mines were operated by the Edomites, a semi-nomadic tribal confederation that according to the Bible warred constantly with Israel.
Now a national park, Timna Valley was an ancient copper production district with thousands of mines and dozens of smelting sites. In February 2013, Ben-Yosef and a team of researchers and students excavated a previously untouched site in the valley, known as the Slaves` Hill.
The area is a massive smelting camp containing the remains of hundreds of furnaces and layers of copper slag, the waste created during the smelting process.
In addition to the furnaces, the researchers unearthed an impressive collection of clothing, fabrics, and ropes made using advanced weaving technology; foods, like dates, grapes, and pistachios; ceramics; and various types of metallurgical installations.
The world-renowned Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford in England dated 11 of the items to the 10th century BCE, when according to the Bible King Solomon ruled the Kingdom of Israel.