October 29, 2008

Ancient Copper Mines Date to Solomon

An ancient copper mining site in Jordan could be linked to the time of the Old Testament's King David and his son Solomon, researchers say.

Thomas Levy of the University of California-San Diego said industrial smelting debris, or slag, from the copper production center at Khirbat en-Nahas in northern Jordan dates to the 10th century B.C. -- which is in line with biblical narrative on the rule of David and Solomon.

The new data pushes back the archaeological chronology about three centuries earlier than the current scholarly consensus, the university said Tuesday in a news release.

Levy said researchers used radiocarbon dating on date seeds, sticks of tamarisk and other woods used for charcoal in smelting to determine the age of the mines. The mines were found in the desert, south of the Dead Sea, in what was once Edom and is today Jordan's Faynan district. The Old Testament identifies the area with the Kingdom of Edom, the report said.

The findings are published in in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences