Science and Nature

King Solomon’s mines in Spain? No longer going, experts articulate.

The Queen of Sheba before King Solomon, shown in this miniature artwork from the 15th-century Grimani Breviary manuscript.

The Queen of Sheba sooner than King Solomon, confirmed on this limited artwork from the 15th-century Grimani Breviary manuscript.
(Enlighten credit: DeAgostini/Getty Photos)

A maritime archaeologist has suggest a dauntless conception — that King Solomon, a king of Israel who controlled an big amount of wealth in accordance to the Hebrew Bible, financed Phoenician mining expeditions to Spain. Nevertheless, archaeologists and historians no longer engaging with the researcher’s work are skeptical. 

Sean Kingsley, director of the Fracture Query consultancy firm, printed his conception no longer too long within the past in Wreckwatch Magazine, a e-newsletter that he edits, declaring several arguments to support this view. His arguments fluctuate from Phoenician mining operations along rivers, to biblical names at areas related to mining, to passages within the Hebrew Bible that appear to link Solomon to each and every the seafaring Phoenicians and a seemingly Spanish metropolis known for its mineral wealth within the Hebrew Bible.

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If this bid luxuriate in been real, that will mean King Solomon turn out to be as soon as an venerable transport magnate. The Hebrew Bible notes that Solomon turn out to be as soon as extremely prosperous and undertook alternative construction projects; and his characteristic in transport can even just trace the build he acquired his wealth. 

Arguments for Solomon’s mining expeditions

The Phoenicians flourished all the map in which thru the Mediterranean world between roughly 1500 B.C. and 300 B.C. Based entirely entirely in what is now Lebanon, they sailed in all places in the Mediterranean, organising settlements and trading networks as distant as Portugal. 

Kingsley started his research about 10 years within the past however didn’t request to develop any predominant finds: “To be just correct, my ambitions luxuriate in been handsome low,” he said in an announcement.

“It appears to be like luxuriate in Solomon turn out to be as soon as clever in his maritime planning. He bankrolled the voyages from Jerusalem and let salty Phoenician sailors exercise the total dangers at sea.”

Sean Kingsley

Archaeological excavations in all places in the last century luxuriate in unearthed the remains of Phoenician mining operations come the Rio Tinto river in southwestern Spain, he said. A host of in model-day locations along that Spanish river luxuriate in biblical names — akin to “Solomon’s Hill,” Kingsley said. Moreover, he claims that silver artifacts fresh in Israel luxuriate in patterns of lead isotopes (versions of the same component with a determined selection of neutrons) that fresh the silver came from Spain. Nevertheless, researchers who conducted that diagnosis told Dwell Science that silver from Spain didn’t come in Israel in King Solomon’s time, however moderately after his rule. 

Then, there’s the Hebrew Bible, which describes how David and his son Solomon acquired raw materials for his or her construction projects from a man named Hiram, who turn out to be as soon as the king of a Phoenician metropolis known as Tyre in in model-day Lebanon. Kingsley theorizes that Hiram would luxuriate in despatched mining expeditions to Spain with the financial support of Solomon. 

Illustration of

Illustration of “The commerce of King Solomon,” exhibiting a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram, bringing wealth to King Solomon. (Enlighten credit: Custom Club/Getty Photos)

Passages within the Hebrew Bible additionally refer to a build of residing named Tarshish, which the bible says had abundant mineral wealth. It is additionally the build of residing that Jonah tried to fly to when God told him to transfer to Nineveh, in accordance to the Hebrew Bible. Kingsley claims that Tarshish turn out to be as soon as situated in what is this day Spain and that Solomon financed Phoenician voyages to the build. Passages within the Hebrew Bible that discuss how Hiram supplied materials for David and Solomon for his or her construction projects are evidence, Kingsley argued, for the root that Solomon financed Phoenician journeys. 

Firming up the build of residing of the biblical Tarshish, Kingsley notes that a Phoenician inscription, relationship to the ninth century B.C. and fresh in Sardinia, refers to a Phoenician defense drive drive that fled to Tarshish after a defeat; Spain is cease to Sardinia, the build the inscription turn out to be as soon as found, Kingsley wrote within the article. Veteran Greek records additionally fresh a metropolis known as Tartessos — which sounds akin to Tarshish — that flourished in southern Spain, Kingsley wrote.

Connected: Photos: Rare inscription from King David’s time

“What grew to alter into up in southern Spain is unassuming. Phoenician signature finds, richly strewn from Rio Tinto to Malaga, leave shrimp doubt that Arrangement Jap ships voyaged to what have to luxuriate in looked the a long way facet of the moon by 900 B.C.,” Kingsley said within the assertion, relating to archaeological evidence for Phoenican settlement and mining operations in Spain. 

From historical research, Kingsley said he can repeat that the biblical build of residing names (luxuriate in Solomon Hills) luxuriate in been in exercise no longer no longer up to as a long way assist because the 17th century and perhaps a long way earlier. “It appears to be like luxuriate in Solomon turn out to be as soon as clever in his maritime planning. He bankrolled the voyages from Jerusalem and let salty Phoenician sailors exercise the total dangers at sea,” Kingsley said within the assertion. 

Scholars skeptical

Quite a bit of archaeologists and historians no longer affiliated with Kingsley’s work told Dwell Science they luxuriate in been skeptical about his claims. While no person doubted that the Phoenicians had a presence in Spain, the scholars noted that there just isn’t this form of thing as a assert evidence that links King Solomon to the build. 

“It is silent no longer even clear that there turn out to be as soon as a Solomonic kingdom,” said Steven Weitzman, director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Evolved Judaic Study on the College of Pennsylvania. 

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Per the Hebrew Bible, “King Solomon turn out to be as soon as richer and wiser than every other king within the world.” (2 Chronicles: 22) And for the past 500 years, explorers and adventurers luxuriate in searched the globe for the source of King Solomon’s supposed wealth, Weitzman said. He noted that one of Kingsley’s arguments is that places come Rio Tinto luxuriate in build of residing names that sound biblical; however, these names are likely “a reflection of Spanish interest to find Solomon’s gold” over the last 500 years and “no longer historical evidence of the biblical Solomon,” Weitzman said. 

Additionally, “the Bible by no contrivance mentions one thing about mines or mining. That is one thing later readers inferred or projected onto the epic,” Weitzman said. Also “I know of no evidence of Israelite presence in Spain at the moment,” said Weitzman, including that “there luxuriate in been Phoenician settlements in Spain perhaps as early as spherical 1100 [B.C.] and for sure in following centuries, however it completely is a jump from that to arguing that the source of Solomon’s wealth came from there.” 

Essentially, the Bible says that Solomon dispatched ships to the East in desire to the West. “Per the Bible, Solomon’s dispatched ships from a build of residing known as Ezion-Geber, which is a port metropolis on the Crimson Sea, they assuredly returned from a build of residing known as Ophir, laden with gold and other care for. Wherever Ophir turn out to be as soon as situated, these ships would luxuriate in been coming into into the reverse route of Spain, east no longer west,” Weitzman defined. 

Archaeologists additionally refuted Kingsley’s argument linking silver artifacts fresh in Israel to Spain. 

“Per all readily accessible scientific records, silver in Solomonic instances [10th century B.C.] didn’t come to the east from Iberia,” said Ayelet Gilboa, an archaeology professor on the College of Haifa. 

Supreme in later instances, after Solomon would luxuriate in ruled, did silver from Spain originate arriving in Israel, she added. Gilboa has been working with Tzilla Eshel, a researcher who specializes in venerable silver diagnosis on the College of Haifa, to name the source of venerable silver in Israel, they assuredly printed an editorial on the field in 2019 within the Complaints of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences. In the article, the team noted that silver from Sardinia arrived in Israel in all places in the 10th century B.C. however that it wasn’t unless the ninth century B.C. that silver from Spain began to come within the build. 

Kingsley is writing a guide on his research and plans to post a journal article within the future, he said. 

In the beginning printed on Dwell Science.

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