Not 100% convinced myself

Scientists and archaeologists have analysed slagheaps left by the copper mines in Edom, an area encompassing parts of what is now southern Jordan and Israel. They found signs that mines in different parts of the region made the same advances in smelting techniques at the same time in the 11th century BC, just before the age of the biblical Kings Saul, David and Solomon.

You know, knowledge being a non-rivalrous and often enough non-excludable good.

Sure, being part of the same political organisation will aid in the spread of such knowledge. So, for example, the turn of the 19th/20th century saw advances in gold extraction from ore. Likely this did spread through the Empire, from S Africa to Oz perhaps, faster than it did to Siberia or the US.

But not entirely convinced that you’d be able to measure that speed from slag heaps……

11 comments on “Not 100% convinced myself

  1. But not entirely convinced…

    Archaeologists will be devastated but will probably soldier on regardless.

  2. I don’t really get your point, Tim.

    Slag heaps will contain the residue of smelting and forging attempts. If one is lucky there might be some organic material (blacksmith’s lunch) to carbon-date it.

    1100 BC sounds a bit late to me.

  3. Or a clay tablet written in cuneiform:

    3rd Day 6th Moon 1125 BC

    Dear Sir

    as per your order of 5th Day 3rd Moon 1126 BC, I am pleased to send you 6 talents of bronze-standard tin.
    Prepaid as agreed in goats and gold.

    Yours faithfully
    R Poldark
    Penzance Mining Co.

  4. AFAICT they’re arguing the other way: because the smelting techniques changed at the same time, they must have been part of the same polity, in this case the lost biblical land of Edom.

  5. Why should anyone doubt the existence of Edom? Some guys who want to *not be Christians* try to justify that by claiming everything in the Bible is wrong instead of just saying “I don’t agree with the deductions and conclusions” – I met one last year when we went on a tour including Petra and he kept misquoting (seriously misquoting) the OT to “make his point” until my automatic reflex corrected his claim that David (by then middle-aged) had climbed up the passage from the Spring of Gihon by saying “Joab”, whereafter he eased off.
    Do these twits think that the existence/non-existence of Edom is proof of the truth/falsity of the New Testament? Presumably they do, in which case they are stupid

  6. There’s probably next to no chance of saying much about the NT using archaeology. The crucial stuff in the OT, however, looks very shaky indeed. Mind you, much of it already looked absurdly shaky, hence the argument that it ain’t meant to be history, rather it is figurative, or poetical, or spiritual, or something.

  7. With this sort of archeaology at this sort of age you can’t tell apart things that could have been 500 years apart. That’s long enough for Ug’s children to move down the road to a spare open field with knowledge of Ug’s metalworking, have their own children, pass on the knowledge, and them move another half mile down the road, and eventually be in the Mediterranean.

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