Archaeologists at Tel Aviv University have discovered an extensive collection of fabrics and seeds dating to the time of King David and King Solomon, some 3,000 years ago. The findings were uncovered in Israel’s Arava Valley at the site of ancient copper mines thought to have belonged to King Solomon. The mines were likely operated by seminomadic Edomites, and the seeds and fabric provide a glimpse into their complex society.
Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority/Clara Amit
The textile discovery has been described as “unprecedented,” given the excellent condition of the objects and the fact that no fabrics have ever been discovered at archaeological sites in Jerusalem, Megiddo, and Hazor. The artifacts vary widely in color, weave, and ornamentation, which suggests that they came from a stratified society. In addition to clothing, textile fragments from tents, bags, and cords as well as remnants of leather were unearthed.
The thousands of seeds discovered at the site belong to the biblical “seven species” thought to be native to Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, anddates. It is the first time that seeds from this period have been found uncharred, and radiocarbon dating confirmed the age of the findings.