Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have discovered artifacts dating back to the time of David and Solomon, the school announced this week.
Tiny pieces of fabric, seeds and leather are among the 3,000-year-old artifacts that the excavation team unearthed, the university said Wednesday in a news release.
The fabrics were a particularly important discovery, the school said, as they provide the first glimpse into what Holy Land inhabitants wore during that time period.
“No textiles have ever been found at excavation sites like Jerusalem, Megiddo and Hazor, so this provides a unique window into an entire aspect of life from which we’ve never had physical evidence before,” Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, who led the excavation team, said in a statement.
The archaeologists were digging at copper mines in the Timna Valley, which some believe to be the location of King Solomon’s mines. The university said the desert climate of southern Israel helped preserve the artifacts, which included scraps of bags, tents, ropes and clothing.
In a statement, Ben-Yosef said the broad collection of textile fragments helped illustrate the society of the Edomites, who are believed to have worked in the mines.
The Bible says the Edomites were Esau’s descendants and often sparred with the Israelites.
Among the discoveries were intricately decorated “luxury grade fabric,” which Ben-Yosef said would have been worn by the skilled craftsmen whose duties involved smelting copper from ore.
“If a person had the exceptional knowledge to ‘create copper,’ he was considered well-versed in an extremely sophisticated technology,” Ben-Yosef said in a statement. “He would have been considered magical or supernatural, and his social status would have reflected this.”
The university said the excavation team also discovered linen, which was not produced in Timna and suggests the Edomites had likely set up trade networks. The team also discovered grain and fruit seeds, and modern advances will allow them to reconstruct wine typical of that period.