This study is focused on establishing age constraints for several copper slag deposits at the centre of the Timna Valley (Israel) via reconstruction of their ancient geomagnetic intensities as recorded by the individual slag samples at the time of their formation. The results show a correlation between the location of the slag deposits (labelled as individual ‘mounds’ in our survey) and their inferred ages, reflecting varying socio-economic and political dynamics in the region. While the slag mounds found at the unprotected foothills represent a variety of dates (mostly Early Islamic), the slag mounds on the hilltops are chronologically constrained to the early Iron Age (late 11th to 10th centuries bce), supporting the idea for a need for protection during this period. Furthermore, in comparing the new data with previous archaeomagnetic studies from Timna, we can assert the existence of simultaneous copper production at the archaeological Sites 30, 30a and 34. This gives further support to the claim of intense smelting in the central Timna Valley during the early Iron Age. Finally, this project demonstrates the potential of archaeomagnetic experiments to provide chronological insights, and their particular advantage in addressing pyrotechnology-related cases.
- Arabah Valley
- Iron Age
- copper slag
- copper smelting
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes