Copper mines in the Aravah of Israel were most likely Solomon’s property, not the Egyptians’, new date estimates show, supporting the Biblical chronology.
“Proof of Solomon’s Mines in Israel” reads a headline on PhysOrg. The famous copper mines of Timna, a national park in Israel near Eilat on the Red Sea, have been re-dated to the time of Solomon by radiocarbon testing of date and olive pits. More detail is on the Haaretz website for subscribers.
The new date swings the pendulum from the “Egyptian paradigm” that claims they were bronze-age mines when Egypt controlled Canaan, back to the “Solomonic paradigm” that the mines were indeed “King Solomon’s mines,” or at least were in operation during his reign. Powerful king that he was, it seems reasonable that he was in control of the extensive mining operation.
The re-evaluation also sheds light on the copper works in Edom. Todd Bolen on Bible Places Blog reserves judgment on who owned the mines, but notes that the Edomites were subjects of Solomon and could have worked the mines to pay tribute. Noting the reversal of fortune of advocates for the Egyptian paradigm, he said,
If I had time, it would be interesting to go back through the literature and review the statements of those who used the absence of evidence at Timna from Solomon’s time as evidence against the biblical account. Once again we see why we should hold to the assured results of archaeological research lightly.
An open-access copy of the archaeologists’ report on BASOR is available here.
Another example that if you wait long enough, claims doubting the historicity of the Biblical account get falsified.