Monday, November 22, 2021

On the Timna Valley excavation

ORGANIC ARCHAEOLOGY: An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy. Beneath a desert in Israel, a scholar and his team are unearthing astonishing new evidence of an advanced society in the time of the biblical Solomon (Matti Friedman, Smithsonian Magazine).
What [excavation director Erez] Ben-Yosef has produced isn’t an argument for or against the historical accuracy of the Bible but a critique of his own profession. Archaeology, he argues, has overstated its authority. Entire kingdoms could exist under our noses, and archaeologists would never find a trace. Timna is an anomaly that throws into relief the limits of what we can know. The treasure of the ancient mines, it turns out, is humility.
I have been following reports on the Timna Valley excavation for some time, with particular interest in the remarkable organic remains recovered there. For past posts, see here, where I note the recent article Professor by Ben-Yosef on David's and Solomon's supposed empire and the archaeology of the tenth century BCE. It is also mentioned in the Smithsonian article. Follow the links from there for much more on Timna.

For more on the tenth-century BCE, see here and links.

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