Nelson Glueck Wins Again

A while back, I published an article about world famous archaeologist Nelson Glueck and his strong statement …

“As a matter of fact, however, it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. (Glueck, Nelson, Rivers in the Desert, New York: Grove Press, 1959, pp. 31-32.)

Glueck apparently also claimed to have found King Solomon’s mines in Faynan/Edom and got laughed at. But a recent discovery has vindicated him. Enjoy …

King Solomon’s Copper Mines?

ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2008) — Did the Bible’s King David and his son Solomon control the copper industry in present-day southern Jordan? Though that remains an open question, the possibility is raised once again by research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For years, scholars have argued whether the Edomites were sufficiently organized by the 10th to 9th centuries BCE to seriously threaten the neighboring Israelites as a true “kingdom.” Between the World Wars, during the “Golden Age” of biblical archaeology, scholars explored, as Levy describes it, with a trowel in one hand and Bible in the other, seeking to fit their Holy Land findings into the sacred story. Based on his 1930s surveys, American archaeologist Nelson Glueck even asserted that he had found King Solomon’s mines in Faynan/Edom. By the 1980s, however, Glueck’s claim had been largely dismissed. A consensus had emerged that the Bible was heavily edited in the 5th century BCE, long after the supposed events, while British excavations of the Edomite highlands in the 1970s-80s suggested the Iron Age had not even come to Edom until the 7th century BCE.

“Now,” said Levy, director of the Levantine Archaeology Lab at UCSD and associate director of the new Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), “with data from the first large-scale stratified and systematic excavation of a site in the southern Levant to focus specifically on the role of metallurgy in Edom, we have evidence that complex societies were indeed active in 10th and 9th centuries BCE and that brings us back to the debate about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible narratives related to this period.”…1027174545.htm

Yes, it sure does. Combine this kind of cool stuff with the ongoing demise of the Documentary Hypothesis, the Rise of the Rohl Chronology and such, and Biblical historicity advocates like me are finally starting to have fun again!

One Response to “Nelson Glueck Wins Again”

  1. lordkalvan says:

    Are you perhaps confusing H. Rider Haggard’s novel and the Bible? Are the dicoveries you refer to better evidence for the historical accuracy of Haggard’s novel than they are of the Bible. It is also intersting to note that the article you cite mentions the use of dating techniques to determine the period to which the site being excavated can be attributed that you have elsewhere cast doubt on, namely C14 dating:

    ‘The archaeological team, Levy said, used high-precision radiocarbon dating on date seeds, sticks of tamarisk and other woods used for charcoal in smelting (along with Bayesian analysis) to obtain the 10th- and 9th-century BCE dates. The analyses were carried out by Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford.’


    So how can you be confident enough to accept the archaeological team’s dates? Is it just because they agree with your own pre-existing preferences?

    I also note that the question of who actually controlled the mines in question is still moot:

    ‘Future research at Khirbat en-Nahas, Levy said, will focus on who actually controlled the copper industry there – Kings David and Solomon or perhaps regional Edomite leaders (who had not been written about in the biblical texts)…..’