Biblical Archaeology Review 31:3, May/June 2005

Strata: Edom Was There

New Finds Support Biblical Account

Archaeologists working in Jordan have found evidence of Edom’s existence at least as far back as the tenth century B.C., the era of David and Solomon, lending support to the Bible’s contention that the Edomite monarchy preceded the Israelite kings and interacted with them (Genesis 36:31, 1 Chronicles 1:43, 2 Samuel 8:13–14, 1 Kings 11:15–16). The lack of evidence of Edom’s existence at this early period had previously led some scholars to challenge the Biblical account.

Excavating at Khirbat en-Nahas, in Jordan, an international team led by Thomas Levy, of the University of California at San Diego, found signs of two major phases of large-scale copper production that lasted from the 12th to the 9th century B.C. (the site’s name means “ruins of copper” in Arabic). The team uncovered the remains of massive fortifications, metal production facilities and more than 100 building complexes, as well as Egyptian scarabs that date to the 13th and 11th centuries B.C. Together these finds indicate the presence of a complex society—possibly a monarchy—and push the consensus on Edom’s beginnings back 300 years or more.

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