We've Found King Solomon's Mines; Canadian Team Say Site Is in Yemen I Desert

Daily Mail (London), November 15, 2000 | Go to article overview

We've Found King Solomon's Mines; Canadian Team Say Site Is in Yemen I Desert


Byline: BEN TAYLOR

THE story of King Solomon's mines has inspired a classic adventure novel, Hollywood films, acres of academic research and scores of would-be prospectors.

Yesterday, however, it emerged that the location of the mines may be more than 1,000 miles away from where most experts have assumed.

Archaeologists now claim to have pinpointed the exact spot.

They also believe they have located the site where Solomon's lover, the Queen of Sheba, searched for the gold she famously presented to him.

Until now, followers of the saga - chronicled by Sir Henry Rider Haggard in 1886 - have always thought that Solomon's mines were in Africa.

Haggard's fictitious account told of the king's lost treasure being a collection of diamonds.

And in the Oscar-winning 1950 film, swashbuckling Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr searched for it against a sweltering African backdrop of Nairobi and the Belgian Congo.

They trekked across the veldt, witnessing pitched battles between tribes and animal stampedes, until discovering a diamond hoard deep in a mine.

Academics, however, were less than impressed by the dramatised version, and dismissed the setting and the search for diamonds in book and film as literary and Hollywood fantasy.

They had always believed that the mines were in the Middle East - most probably in the Jordan Valley, near to Solomon's power base in Jerusalem -and that they were, as described in the Bible, gold rather than diamond mines.

Now a Canadian team of archaeologists, led by Charles Fipke, claims that the mines were in fact 1,200 miles south of Jordan in the Yemeni desert.

Mr Fipke, who has been prospecting 20,800 square miles of sand, says in a report for the journal Arabian Archaeology that he has discovered more than 200 ancient gold mining sites.

The claims come after he found samples of gold, as well as copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum in the desert.

These samples, he says, date back more than 3,000 years to the exact time, 950 years before the birth of Christ, when Solomon ruled over Israel.

In addition to the mines, ore processing equipment and ancient buildings have also been found a little further south- north of the historic Yemeni city of Mariba. …

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