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Edom is characterized by 2 major geomorphologic units, the highland plateau and the lowlands that border Wadi Arabah.
Before our project, most IA excavations were carried out on the highland plateau, largely ignoring the copper ore-rich Edom lowlands.
Local dolomite and sandstone blocks were crudely trimmed and laid in place as walls by using dry-masonry techniques, preserved in the south to a height of 2 m.
During the occupation of this building, which had 2 main use phases, different types of massive industrial slag deposits accumulated in the open area behind the structure, to an additional height of ≈3 m (Fig.
The first indications of human activity were found several centimeters above these sands – a well-built rectilinear installation ≈1 × 0.80 m, with 3 visible “horn-shape” rock features at each of its exposed corners.
This represents the earliest phase of settlement activity at the site.
The largest site is KEN (≈10 hectares) with 100 buildings visible on the site surface, including one of the largest IA Levantine desert fortresses (Fig. KEN was first systematically mapped by Glueck in the early 1930s (13) and identified as the center of Solomon's mining activities.
A suite of 37 radiocarbon samples from our 2002 excavations was processed by accelerator laboratories in Oxford and Groningen and yielded early IA dates for the occupation of the site, between the end of the 12th c. 12:2–10), and Egyptian texts of the Levantine military campaign by Pharaoh Sheshonq (Shishak) I, who reigned 945–924 BCE (18).
The campaign is mentioned in the HB and absolute dating evidence comes from Shishak's extensive triumphal topographical list related to his victories in Palestine at the temple of Amun at Karnak, Thebes (pls. The KEN excavations bring the early history of IA Edom into the realm of social interaction between 10th c. Although the GMM published 9 radiocarbon dates from the Heidelberg lab and we published 10 dates from Oxford and 27 dates from the Groningen labs, this sample was not substantial enough for some scholars (total of 46 dates) (12, 16) to accept the implications of this new dating framework for Edom.
Above this were 3 m of crushed slag and other copper industry debris layers also representing repeated episodes of smelting, furnace destruction, and related activities.
To establish a foundation for the 4-room building, the top of the early industrial debris mound was truncated and leveled to form a surface for construction.