Using cutting-edge metallurgical techniques, a group of Israeli archaeologists have analyzed four figurines from an ancient Egyptian city, and determined that they were made with copper from the mines of Timna, located near what is now Israel’s southern tip. The statuettes date to about 1,000 BCE, or around the time of Kings David and Solomon. Rosella Tercatin writes:
The findings . . . shed new light on the relations between Egypt and the populations of the Levant. And according to Erez Ben Yosef, [one of the coordinators of the study], they offer an additional [piece of evidence] to support his view that a nomadic kingdom at the time could constitute a wealthy and sophisticated society capable of entertaining complex commercial relations with foreign entities, offering important insights not only on what was happening in Timna—which he believes at the time was part of the biblical kingdom of Edom—but also in the Jerusalem of King David and King Solomon.
While the archaeologist believes that Timna was part of the Edomite kingdom, which is prominently featured in the Bible, he has also suggested that what was happening at Timna was still very connected to the vicissitudes of contemporary Jerusalem. Jerusalem could have indirectly controlled the mines—as the biblical text itself suggests when it narrates how David conquered Edom.