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Researchers may have found King Solomon's mines

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  • Desert site in Jordan may contain the ruins of the fabled King Solomon's mines
  • King Solomon is known in the Old Testament for his wisdom and wealth
  • Findings reported in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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(CNN) -- Archaeologists believe a desert site in Jordan may contain the ruins of the elusive King Solomon's Mines.

Researchers using carbon dating techniques at Khirbat en-Nahas in southern Jordan discovered that copper production took place there around the time King Solomon is said to have ruled the Israelites.

The research findings were reported in this week's issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which came out Monday.

King Solomon is known in the Old Testament for his wisdom and wealth and for building the First Temple in Jerusalem.

The fabled mines entered popular culture in 1885 with the publication in Great Britain of the bestselling "King Solomon's Mines" by Sir H. Rider Haggard. In the book, adventurers in search of the mines find gold, diamonds and ivory.

Since then, the mines have been the the subject of several films. Yet their possible location -- and whether they exist at all -- remains cloaked in mystery.

Thomas Levy of the University of California San Diego, who led the research, said carbon dating placed copper production at Khirbat en-Nahas (Arabic for 'Ruins of copper") in the 10th century -- in line with the biblical narrative of Solomon's rule.

"We can't believe everything ancient writings tell us," Levy said in a university statement. "But this research represents a confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible."

Khirbat en-Nahas is an arid region south of the Dead Sea, in Jordan's Faynan district. The Old Testament identifies the area with the Kingdom of Edom.

As early as the 1930s, archaeologists linked the site to the Edomite kingdom, but some of those claims were dismissed in subsequent years.

"Now ... 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," Levy said.

All About Dead SeaUniversity of California-San Diego

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