Copper ruins in Jordan bolster biblical record of King Solomon

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A massive copper smelting plant in the biblical land of Edom is at least three centuries older than researchers previously believed, placing it firmly in the biblical timeline of King Solomon, the first ruler of a united Israel 3,000 years ago, researchers reported Monday.

The existence of Solomon has been questioned by some scholars over the last two decades because of the paucity of archaeological evidence supporting the biblical record and the belief that there were no complex societies in Israel or Edom capable of building fortresses, monuments and other complex public works, such as large mines, in the 10th century BC.

"This is the most hotly debated period in biblical archaeology today," said archaeologist Thomas E. Levy of UC San Diego, who reported the new radiocarbon dates for the copper smelting operation in modern-day Jordan in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We're not answering the question" of whether Solomon existed, he said. "But we've brought empirical data that shows we have to reevaluate those questions. We're back in the ballgame now."...

Critics, however, charge that Levy is overinterpreting the importance of the radiocarbon dates...

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Peter L Johnson - 10/29/2008

L.A.Times has an excellent video of the dig.

The site can be found here;hl=en&geocode=&q=dead+sea,+jordan&sll=-32.599153,151.618293&sspn=0.194945,0.44426&ie=UTF8&ll=30.680186,35.436299&spn=0.004074,0.006974&t=h&z=18