3,000-Year-Old Copper Slag Proves Obscure Biblical Kingdom of Edom Was Real, New Study Says


Excavations of ancient copper mines have added weight to the Biblical account of a kingdom that existed before Israel – a major discovery for a region where archaeology matters as much for politics as it does for history.

Analysis of copper mines in Edom – a historic area in modern-day Jordan and Israel south of the Dead Sea – is seen as evidence that the state mentioned in the Book of Genesis did exist.

Edom appears in the book as a state that existed “before kings ruled the children of Israel.” The Hebrew word Edom means “red”, and the name of the area is associated with Esau, the elder son of patriarch Isaac, because he had a reddish look at birth. Incidentally, the mountainous landscape of Edom famously glows with a reddish hue.

The land here is rich in copper and once was home to many smelting sites supported by copper mines. Researchers from the University of California at San Diego and Tel Aviv University have studied slag heaps (waste material) left by the copper mines in the two key centres of production, Faynan and Timna, located some 100 kilometres apart.

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