» Home > In the News

Copper mines of Jordan (Edom)

10 June 2011

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/april-2011/article/archaeologists-r… is a story about the start of a new season at copper mines SE of the Dead Sea in what was ancient Edom. Previously, the mining activities were assumed to date as late as the 7th century BC but it seems in last season's dig they obtained a 12th to 10th century C14 date by the new Bayesian methodology. Hence, expectations are high that these are indeed the copper mines fabled to have come under the jurisdiction of Solomon. The site contains over a hundred buildings visible on the surface, including a large fortress with architectural similarities elsewhere in the Levant, and huge mounds of slag – waste ore. However, there was also evidence of an Egyptian presence – from the Third Intermediate Period. Whilst this might excite archaeologists in tune with the orthodox chronology it is not quite so exciting from a revisionist front – as it brings us back down to the 8th and 7th centuries. Now, if material of the 20th dynasty were found, that may be a little more like it – we can hope. One other area of doubt. We can't seize on these C14 dates as proof of the united monarchy if similar dates from the destruction level at Nineveh are taken as evidence C14 in the Levant and Near East is between 150 and 200 years in error. We can't have our cake and eat it. However, it will be worth paying attention to what actually is found in the new season's dig.

Skip to content