A ruined copper mine in Jordan is shedding new light on the biblical civilization known as Edom, The New York Times reports.
Edomites lived south of the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordan and are portrayed as the troublesome neighbor of Israelites. Recent excavations of an ancient copper mine have prompted archeologists to reconsider when the Edomites may have existed, the Times said.
An international team of experts is arguing that Edom may have come together as a civilization as early as the 12th century B.C. They base their findings on recorded radiation dates, as well as artifacts like arrowheads and ceramics.
The results of research and excavation have reportedly yielded the first high-precision dates of the period. It has also brought to light the sophistication of this ancient civilization, the Times said.
The research was conducted by Dr. Levy, an archaeologist at the University of California, San Diego and Mohammad Najjar, director of excavations and surveys at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.
"We have discovered a degree of social complexity in the land of Edom," they wrote in their research, "that demonstrates the weak reed on the basis of which a number of scholars have scoffed at the idea of a state or complex chiefdom in Edom at this early period."
Copyright 2006 by United Press International