Archaeologists excavating the Timna copper mines in the southern tip of Israel have found an unprecedented collection of fabrics thought to date back to the beginning of the first millennium BCE. Raoul Wootliff writes:
“No textiles from this period have ever been found at excavation sites like Jerusalem, Megiddo, and Hazor,” [the excavation’s director, Erez] Ben-Yosef said. “We found fragments of textiles that originated from bags, clothing, tents, ropes, and cords.” The pieces of fabric, some only 5 x 5 centimeters in size, vary in color, weaving technique, and ornamentation. . . .
The Timna valley—now a national park—was a copper-production district with thousands of mines and dozens of smelting sites. . . . The artifacts were dated to the 10th century BCE—the time during which, according to the Bible, King Solomon ruled ancient Israel.
Also found from the same period—as confirmed by radiocarbon dating—were unprecedented quantities of seeds from the biblical “seven species,” the two grains and five fruits [listed by the Bible as the distinguishing crops of] the land of Israel. The mines are believed to have been operated by the semi-nomadic early Edomites, and the discoveries also offer insight into their complex society.