A copper-smelting site has been discovered by archaeologists which may be able to provide evidence of the biblical story of King David achieving victory over the Kingdom of Edom. Archaeologists have found a fortified wall and sling stones in the Negev’s Timna region, which is where the smelting site is located. The fortified wall was five meters high when the archaeologists found it, but would have once stretched along for hundreds of meters.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef has led the archaeological team that first discovered a 10th century BC wall at the copper-smelting site in the southeastern desert near Timna Park, which is where the very first copper mine may have once been.
Now, archaeologist Ben-Yosef believes that his team may have found evidence of a bloody conflict which occurred when King David was traveling to the land of Edom with soldiers and there was a huge battle beside the Dead Sea with the Edomites.
The Bible says that at one time Edom would have stretched from along the Sinai Peninsula to the border of Canaan and the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly as far west as Eilat, which is where its seaport was located. While King David continued to expand during his reign, Samuel 8:13 states that David’s army conquered 18,000 Edomites who were in the Valley of Salt.
“And David got him a name when he returned from smiting the Arameans in the Valley of Salt, even eighteen thousand men.”
Once King David had achieved his victory, he then changed Edom into an Israelite province which was run by handpicked governors.
Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef explains that copper-smelting sites would have been of huge importance during the 10th century BC and was considered the oil of its time as it was so crucial.
“You cannot overstate the importance of copper in the Levant during the 10th century BC. It was the oil of the time and produced agricultural tools and weapons.”
— Dave Forest (@piercepoints) January 15, 2017
While older accounts say that these mines would have been operated by slaves, Ben-Yosef said that experts within the field of mining would have overseen everything and trained different apprentices to be able to extract what would have been considered an extremely valuable resource at the time, as Breaking News Israel reported.
“We have plenty of archaeological proof to determine that the miners who worked the Timna mines weren’t humble slaves, as had been assumed, but rather expert miners who oversaw the complex, demanding work by apprentices. Today, we are discovering more and more evidence of a concentrated, hierarchical society that interacted extensively with its neighbors, which matches up with texts from the Bible and other sources.”
Donkey manure was also found around the smelting site and an analysis of this revealed that the donkeys were once very well looked after and fed straw, hay, and grapes, so that they would be in perfect health in order to move water and copper around from the site. Ben-Yosef stated the importance of using these animals in order to transport both copper and water.
“You have to remember the copper was used to sustain life, and the nearest water source was 15 kilometers away.”
The next steps that Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and his team of archaeologists will be taking will be to conduct DNA research on all of the organic material that they find located on the copper-smelting site. Ben-Yosef enjoys pondering the idea of being able to do things one day like using DNA in order to reconstruct things from the past, like ancient palm wine, for instance.
“The research potential here is great. Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to reconstruct ancient palm wine and the days of King David.”
What do you think Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and his team of archaeologists will discover next in this smelting site that dates back to King David?
[Featured Image by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images]