RE: [ANE-2] Edomite Beginnings and copper
- This opinion is an admitted acceptance of Snodgrass' hypothesis (disputed by
some, and I believe accepted somewhat coolly by Muhly) that the Iron Age
developed as a result of a region wide crisis in the supply of the two most
important strategic commodities: copper and tin. According to this idea the
development of carburized iron occurred first in Cyprus where the
metallurgical industry had earlier collapsed due to interruption of the
supply of tin, as a result either of piracy or warfare across the
Mesopotamian trade routes. The LCIIIC trade breakdown also interrupted the
flow copper from Cyprus to the mainland, and coincidentally the records of
Ram III suggest a sharp increase in copper production in the Sinai within
the same 11th century timeframe. This ended when Timna was abandoned around
the time of Ram V (Rothenberg). This would have been a serious regional
crisis since prior to the discovery of carburization and annealing
techniques iron was very inferior to bronze. This information once again
from Snodgrass, who also notes that the Iron Age (as defined by the ratio of
iron to bronze items recovered from archaeological sites) seems to have
started later in Palestine than in other parts of the ANE (Cyprus, Greece,
Syria). Although these ideas are not explored by Finkelstein, they would fit
with his suggestion that the 11th century Negev settlements, especially Tel
Masos, were established as a conduit by which 'Jordanian-Arabah' ('Edomite')
copper from Khirbat en-Nahas made its way to markets in the north and west.
With Cyprus out of commission - and Timna shut down - Khirbat en-Nahas was
the only significant source of copper available to Syro-Palesine, western
Asia and the Aegean. In light of Hesoid's bleak description of what living
in the Iron Age was really like, it seems not unreasonable to describe the
situation at that time as 'desperate.'
From: ANEemail@example.com [mailto:ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Edomite Beginnings and copper
All things given in your statement, I'm curious about one aspect of it.
You state: "At that time the region was in desperate need
of copper following the closure of the mines in Timna". Is it because
the earlier source dried up and you assume there was a "desperate need"
or is it based on archaeological data? Have many copper finds come to
light from these periods that need to be explained? Or are there
documents indicating such a need?
Graham Hagens wrote:
> Eliot Braun wrote Tuesday, June 13:
> >For those who are interested in the current debate as to the beginnings
> >of Edom there is an interesting article in today's NY Times.
> >Following is the link:
> What I find interesting about these recent radiocarbon analyses from
> Khirbat en-Nahas is that the earliest workings at that site appear to date
> the 1st quarter of the 11th century BCE - very close to the time thatEgypt
> withdrew from Syro-Palestine and closed the mines in the Sinai.(see
> Whether or not these mines were operated by 'Edomites' or someone else
> e.g. Finkelstein - Tel Aviv 2005: 119; van der Steen & Bienkowski -Antiquity
> 2006: 80 - on line), it seems that someone quickly moved in to fill--
> the void after the Egyptians had left. At that time the region was in
> desperate need of copper following the closure of the mines in Timna, and
> isolation of Cyprus. This economic reality must have played a role in the
> social and political developments in the region that followed.
> Graham Hagens
Eliot Braun, Ph D
PO Box 21 (Rehov Ha-oren 12)
Har Adar, Zafon Yehuda 90836
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