Saturday, November 2, 2013

King Solomon’s Mines: Real or Make-believe?

Author: Kimberly Gentry

King Solomon, a figure in the bible, is well known for his extreme wealth and wisdom. With his abundance of wealth he was able to build the first Temple in Jerusalem and adorn it with many high-value fixtures. According to the Holy Bible in 1 Chronicles 29:2, Solomon is supplied with an abundant supply of precious metals and materials to build his temple.  
With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities.” (1 Chronicles 29:2)
The Holy Bible also mentions a place called Ophir. It was at Ophir that Solomon was supplied with most of his valuable materials to use in building the temple. Archaeologists have wondered for years whether or not Ophir really exists and where it is. The most common belief is that all of King Solomon’s riches are located in Africa.

            The book King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard sparked many people’s interest as it detailed the finding of King Solomon’s mines. In King Solomon’s Mines a group of three men set out to find the brother of one of the group members. The brother was searching for King Solomon’s mines. The group encountered many hardships along the way, including rough terrain, fighting battles, and dehydration. In the end they all find the mines and get rich from the treasure inside. Published in 1885, this book influenced many people into going to Africa to search for the alleged mines.
An ancient copper mine in Southern Jordan
Currently, people are still searching for King Solomon’s mines. Archaeologists have, however, found large copper mines close to the area to where King Solomon might have lived. According to Rebecca Carroll for National Geographic News, metal production was happening in these mines in the tenth century B.C. This is when King Solomon supposedly lived (Carroll). Thomas Levy, an anthropologist, was interviewed by Rebecca Carroll for her article. He said that “According to the Bible, God chose King Solomon to build Jerusalem's first temple. Hundreds of tons of copper were given to the project, as well as smaller amounts of gold and silver, the Bible says. Some English versions of the Old Testament use the word bronze instead of copper as a result of a mistranslation.” With that information we can infer that Jerusalem’s first temple was built using a lot of copper. Coincidentally, large copper mines that have been dated back to King Solomon’s time are located close to the site of the temple. Though not the Ophir that everyone hoped it would be, these copper mines did provide more information on life during King Solomon’s reign.
Some people believe the copper mines that have been found are indeed King Solomon’s. But others believe that the copper mines are just one piece of the puzzle. Somewhere, King Solomon’s treasure is hidden out of sight. The mystery of King Solomon’s mines will live on forever. There is no record of the location of Ophir , and the copper mines that have been found don’t exactly fit the description of Ophir. It is even possible that King Solomon didn’t exist. That is why King Solomon’s mines will remain a mystery.  
 Works Cited:
Carroll, Rebecca. “King Solomon’s Mines Rediscovered?” National Geographic. National Geographic, 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
Haggard, H. Rider. King Solomon’s Mines. 1885. London: Penguin, 1994. Print.
King Solomon’s Mines Rediscovered?” National Geographic.  National Geographic, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.

Links for Further Research:

Internet Movie Database
The link above takes you to the Internet Movie Database listing for the feature-length film, King Solomon’s Mines.

YouTube
The link above takes you to Youtube.com where the documentary Quest for Solomon’s Mines is shown.

Popular Archaeology
The link above takes you to an informative article about an excavation done by archaeologists relating to King Solomon.