A team of archeologists have identified an excavated site in Israel’s Timna Valley as the location of King Solomon’s Mines, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The site itself was first discovered in 1934 by American archaeologist Nelson Clueck, but it was thought to be a camp for slaves and hence was referred to as “Slave’s Hill.”
It’s only the newest archeological team, led by Erez Ben-Yosef, that decided Clueck’s original identification was off, showing that the diets and clothing found there were more likely found in a “hierarchical, sophisticated society,” according to a Sci-News report.
“We found animal bones and dung piles so intact, we could analyze the food the animals were fed with precision. The food suggests special treatment and care, in accordance with the key role of the donkeys in the copper production and in trade in a logistically challenging region,” Ben-Yosef told Sci-News.
Dating of the site to 10th Century B.C.E. then led to identification with King Solomon, and the wealth of copper in the area led to the mine hypothesis.
“The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, but archaeology can no longer be used to contradict them,” Ben-Yosef said.