The ancient copper mines in Timna, in Israel’s Arava Valley in the Sinai Peninsula, are believed by many to be the site of King Solomon’s mines and believed to have been operated by the early Edomites.
Citing the biblical story about King David traveling with his soldiers to the land of Edom, where a major battle took place with the Edomites by the Dead Sea, Ben-Yosef said his team may have found evidence of the bloody conflict.
According to the Bible, Edom stretched from the Sinai Peninsula to the southern border of Canaan and Kingdom of Judah and as far west as Eilat, where it maintained its seaport. As David expanded his reign, Samuel 8:13 states that his army vanquished 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
Following the victory, David turned Edom into an Israelite province ruled by handpicked governors.
“You cannot overstate the importance of copper in the Levant during the 10th century BC,” said Ben-Yosef. “It was the oil of the time and produced agricultural tools and weapons.” JPost
Archaeologists discovered elements that date back to the biblical era of King David and King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. with a highly organized defense system.
The archeological team, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, first found a wall of the 10th-century BCE copper-smelting site near Timna Park in the southern desert where the world’s first copper mine is believed to have been located.
The archaeologists, led by Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, think these features show that this Iron Age settlement had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade. LiveScience
Unraveling the history of an ancient military fortification.
According to Ben-Yosef, the wall his team found was five meters high and once stretched for hundreds of meters.
In addition to the wall, the archeologists uncovered sling stones, donkey bones and dung on both sides of a gatehouse.
What the donkeys were feed.
Built of sturdy stone to defend against invasions, the fortification had pens for draft animals and other livestock. By studying pollen, seed and fauna in the dung, experts found that the animals were fed with hay and the remains of grapes, which was delivered from the Mediterranean coast hundreds of miles away. FoxNews
“You have to remember the copper was used to [sustain life], and the nearest water source was 15 kilometers away,” he said. JPost
Humans were not feed a slave diet.
Despite ancient accounts that the mines were operated by slaves, the researcher said mining experts likely oversaw and trained apprentices to extricate the valuable natural resource. JPost
Previous research by Ben-Yosef’s team found that the laborers did not have a typical slave’s diet; instead, the metalworkers ate good cuts of meat, pistachios and fish imported from the Mediterranean, suggesting they had a rather high status and were valued for their craft. LiveScience