2021 - 2022
Timna Valley Park is a National Park in the Negev desert of Israel, located approximately 30km north of the Gulf of Aqaba and the town of Eilat, It is a semi-circular, erosional formation of some 70 sq. km., opening in the east towards the Arava; on the north, west, and south it is surrounded by cliffs, about 300 m. high. In the lower parts of these cliffs and on the slopes in front of them.
The area is rich in copper nodules (up to 55% copper) mainly of malachite and chalcocite, probably the oldest Copper mines in the world, dating back to at least 4000 BC, and worked almost continuously by the ancient Egyptians, King Salomon, the Romans, and the Byzantines until the present times.
The Park is noted for its natural sandstone formations, including King Solomon's Pillars, the "Mushroom", "Arches" and "the Sleeping Lion". Rock carvings, including "the Chariots", and ancient inscriptions are visible as well as mining shafts, the remains of ancient copper furnaces. At the foot of the huge sandstone formation in the center of the Timna Valley known as "King Solomons Pillars," a small Egyptian temple was excavated. Dedicated to Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of mining, it was founded during the reign of Pharaoh Seti I (1318-1304 BCE) and served the members of the Egyptian mining expeditions and also their local co-workers, and a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Hathor.
After the Egyptians left the place the Midianites established themselves there, and a copper snake with a gilded head was found among their pottery. It is reminiscent of the copper serpent described in Numbers 21:6-9. The evidence of sophisticated Midianite culture, as found in Timna, is of extraordinary importance in the light of the Biblical narrative of the meeting of Moses and Jethro (high priest of Midian), and his participation in the organization of the Children of Israel in the desert. (Exodus 18).
Among the 1,000 copper mines at Timna were found materials that could be carbon-dated. Most of them were from 900 BCE, corresponding with the specified period of King Solomon’s rule in the Bible.