The remains of an ancient copper mining and smelting center lie near the Dead Sea in modern-day Jordan. One of the largest of its kind, it may be one of the legendary mines belonging to King Solomon. Many modern scholars reject this possibility, considering it to be later than Solomon’s time. But recent carbon dating has upended the “long-accepted dates” for the site, lending strength to the historicity of Israel’s wisest ruler.1
Critics of biblical history have doubted the very existence of Solomon and his father, David. Scholars known as “minimalists” have contended that there is no evidence of a nation-state advanced enough at the time of Solomon to have overseen an operation as massive as that represented by this copper mine. Instead of relying on the biblical record, they have instead attempted to build a history based on archaeological artifacts, even though different stories can be told to explain any set of artifacts. But the ongoing research at Khirbat en-Nahas (KEN) in Jordan is making non-Bible histories increasingly difficult to believe.
A recent online article in Popular Archaeology stated, “The significance of the discoveries at KEN fall within the context of a larger debate about chronology and the credibility of traditional interpretations about the very existence of the kingdoms of David and Solomon as depicted in the Hebrew Bible.”1
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