Ancient Mine in Ethiopia May Have Belonged to Queen of Sheba

An archaeological find by a British excavation team this past weekend might have located the source of wealth for a biblical monarch.

Archaeologist and former British Museum curator Louise Schofield purports to have found a gold mine in northern Ethiopia that would have been the source of wealth for the Queen of Sheba.

Part of the find included a stone slab bearing a sun and crescent moon carving. Other carved items included the Sabaean language, which was the language of the Sheba Kingdom.

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"The inscription is a very exciting find, as it is one of a small but growing number of South Arabian inscriptions that contribute to our understanding of the language and culture of the Arabian Peninsula in the first millennium BCE," said Professor Lauren Monroe of Cornell University in an interview with The Christian Post.

"If the inscription was found in a secure, datable archaeological context, that would make it even more important, as there is considerable debate over the dating of Sabaean Inscriptions from this period."

According to the Bible, the Queen of Sheba visited Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of King Solomon, bringing with her vast amounts of wealth and several riddles. Solomon would answer them, impressing the Queen with his knowledge.

John Barclay Burns, professor emeritus of Religious Studies at George Mason University, told CP that the find probably was not an example of wealth mentioned in the Bible's account of the story between Sheba and Solomon given that the mine "relates to the 8th century BCE, after the time of Solomon."

"It will have something of an impact on the study of the civilizations of South Arabia and add some context to the history of Israel, though not in any great detail," said Burns.

Dr. Gary Rendsburg of Rutgers University was cautious about the find and whether or not it did indeed belong to the Queen of Sheba.

"We certainly do not have enough evidence," said Rendsburg to CP.

The Sheba Kingdom did hold territory in the Horn of Africa and this was shown by elements of "cultural linkage" between the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. However, Rendsburg said "to what extent it spilled over" into East Africa is presently unknown.

"It's taking it a little bit too far," said Rendsburg, who believed that the "ongoing fascination" with the Queen of Sheba contributed to the popular view that the mine belonged to her.

In addition to the mine and the inscription, Schofield and her team also found ruins of a temple and a battlefield site.

"One of the things I've always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary," Schofield told the Guardian.

In addition to archaeology, Schofield also founded and oversees a charity called the Tigray Trust, which aims to aid the people living in a village named Maikado, which is located in the Ethiopian province of Tigray.

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