Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 10 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Michael of the Saints
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

New evidence suggests the biblical Edomites were technologically advanced

Tel Aviv University’s Central Timna Valley Project

E. Ben-Yosef and the Central Timna Valley Project

J-P Mauro - published on 09/26/19

The ancient culture may have produced copper in a surprisingly efficient manner.

A recent study of sites in the Wadi Arabah region of the Levant, where the Kingdom of Edom existed during the biblical era, has yielded evidence that the Edomites may have been more advanced than previously thought.

In a report published in the journal Plos One, lead author Ben-Yosef explains that he reached this conclusion while studying the concept of “punctuated equilibrium,” which he describes as:

… a model for evolutionary change characterized by long-term stasis punctuated by short-lived episodes of rapid change, in contrast to a “gradualistic” model of slow and consistent change over time.

The team decided to test the model against ancient civilizations to see if they could understand the technological advances of cultures as far back as the biblical times. After studying dozens of examples of leftover slag — a byproduct of metallurgy — in the region where the Edomite kingdom once stood, they determined that there was a significant leap in their technology around the 10th century BC.

Popular Mechanics reports that Ben-Yosef explained how there was a sudden change in the way copper was produced. He said:

“The efficiency of the copper industry in the region was increasing. The Edomites developed precise working protocols that allowed them to produce a very large amount of copper with minimum energy.”

Suspecting that this technological advance may not have happened organically, the team searched historical sources for an explanation. It was then they found that the leap in copper refinement may have been caused by Egyptian intervention.

It has long been thought that, around the 10th century BC, the Egyptians set their military sights on Edom. Now, however, Ben-Yosef believes the Egyptians may have approached the Edomites peacefully, and exchanged technology that brought Edom into the Iron Age. Ben-Yosef told the Times of Israel:

“The Egyptians were making sure not only that they would get the copper via trade contracts, but also make the industry better. As a super regional power, they may have had tech knowledge from other places, and gave some tech tips to the Edomites’ R&D teams.”

The team is still studying the region, but if their suspicions are founded then it could change the way we have previously understood the ancient world.

Tags:
ArchaeologyBibleHistory
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Archbishop Georg Gänswein
I.Media for Aleteia
Gänswein: Benedict XVI expected to live only a few months after r...
2
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
11 Interesting facts about the late Prince Philip
3
Philip Kosloski
Why you can eat meat on Easter Friday
4
Francisco Veneto
Priest brother of pilot whose plane broke in two says “St. ...
5
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
6
resurrection
Philip Kosloski
4 Fun facts about Easter Week
7
NUNS
John Burger
Benedictine nuns in Missouri seem to be targeted by shootings
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.