Quest for King Soloman's Gold
Karl Mauch: "Mauch really made me appreciate just how far cultural perspectives and racism have changed over the years. How could one get away with saying 'native Africans couldn't have created these advanced structures?' It's astonishing. But then, I guess people say similar things today about the Atlantians and the Pyramids..... Hmmm. So maybe some things haven't changed as much I'd like to think... But thank you, Gertrude Caton-Thompson for setting the record straight on Great Zimbabwe!"
The Gold Mine: "Another first: a subterranean gold mine. I'm amazed that miners spend their days (indeed, their lives) thousands of feet below the surface, blasting away for precious metals. There are, I learn, three different shifts operating around the clock at this mine: first the blasting crew—they set the explosives, clear the mine and then detonate the charges. Then, after a settling period, the miners come in to break up the ore and remove it. Then the final crew comes in to dig the shafts deeper to prepare for more explosives. When I'm there, the third crew is digging deeper to prepare for the blasts. I'll tell you what, it's a strange feeling being 2000 feet below the surface, crawling up a slanty gap of just a few feet of air betweens millions of tons of rock. NOT a place for claustrophobics."
Axum, Ethiopia: "Axum has become one of my favorite towns in the world. Not for an extended stay as much as for experiencing a rare sense of peace and sacredness. (See the Ark journal for more info on that). But this place must have been a powerful place when its rulers were erecting these stelae.... I've heard that these stelae are the largest monoliths south of Egypt (although the biggest one seems to have fallen over and broken)."
Tecle & Gold: "Teclehaimanot Gabresellasie—now there's a name! Fortunately 'Tecle' is okay... We have a great time exploring the streets of Addis and searching for gold. I honestly didn't expect to find an actual gold smelting operation in a store, but Tecla was persistent in our quest. And, in addition to seeing how the operation works from refined metal to finished jewelry, we've been given a lead into a region which may have preserved ancient mining techniques: to the south near Kebre Mengist."
Gold Mining: "This little village apparently has never seen a film crew. Or maybe I'm the first white man here—I'm hearing conflicting stories from Tecle. But either way, we have attracted a lot of attention in our quest to find a source for Solomon's gold. It turns out that the digging, crushing, panning operation they do here (not easy!) has been going on for thousands of years, so perhaps this IS how Solomon's gold was mined, and perhaps where, too. Unlike the huge holes I saw with Sariel in Israel, these could fill in and disappear back into the landscape. And if they're pulling this much gold out of the land TODAY, imagine how much was here two thousand years ago.... Wow. There are three men in charge of the operation this morning, then they hire everyone to work in the different stations and pay them a fee. But it's the three guys who pan the gold dust who seem to be the bosses. I suppose a similar system could have existed during Solomon's time, where an overseer would run a crew of workers to produce gold for whomever was in charge, whether it was the Queen of Sheba or King Solomon. And given how much gold those two were said to have had, there must have been a lot of people working a lot of land at the time..."
created by diggingforthetruth.net 2007
Journal taken from The History Channel DFT site. Photos taken from The History Channel DFT site and video.
Host Josh Bernstein leads us on an epic 4,000-mile journey in search of the lost gold of King Solomon--sailing across the Red Sea, plunging down a Zimbabwean gold mine, and traveling deep into the Ethiopian Bush.
Of all the rulers mentioned in the Bible, King Solomon was purportedly the wisest...and the richest! The reason? His access to vast quantities of gold. According to the Bible, the source of his legendary wealth was the goldmines located in the mysterious land of Ophir. Yet, what the Scriptures can't tell us is where Ophir might be found today.
Quest for King Soloman's Gold
King Solomon's Gold: "I know that there are some people today who propose that certain figures of the Bible never existed and that no archeological evidence supports their having lived. And I know that King Solomon is one of the people on this list of 'Mythic Figures.' Obviously, if he never existed, then his gold mines probably were not real, either. But that wouldn't be much of a show, now would it? So I'm going to assume that King David and his wise son King Solomon really did live and see where this adventure takes me."
Jerusalem: "I've been to Jerusalem many times, both for the series and for fun. In fact, I used to live here. So I'm excited to begin my journey in 'The Holy Land' and from the place where King Solomon is said to have actually lived. It's a land where everything can seem harsh—the landscape, the violence, the people. It's a tough city but it creates a very real appreciation for life in those who live here. It's not hard to feel that intensity. It also has the most beautiful light of any city in the world—the way the sun hits the Jerusalem sandstone and creates a golden hue only enhances the spiritual currents running through the city."
The Negev: "The Negev Desert is one of my favorite deserts in the world. There's something about the combination of blue sky and tan sand here that just feels mystical and pure—and the jagged, sharp silhouettes of rock around here only add to it. I think there's a reason mystics come to deserts for inspiration and insight. But despite trips here in the past, I didn't know that Solomon's Mines were thought to have been here—it's even listed on the maps as such (perhaps a tourist gimmick). Either way, I'm excited to meet with Sariel and hear what he has to say about this."
Copper: "So it turns out these were mines for copper not gold. Oh well. But I do find it interesting that the miners created thousands of shafts around here. Had I not been shown what they look like, I might have walked right by them—they're like potholes filled with sand. Only these potholes go down several meters and have filled with tons of sand over many, many centuries."
Zimbabwe: "I've never been to Zimbabwe before, but I have been to other parts of Africa and I always enjoy the savannah, where monkeys swing in the trees. I'm impressed at the journey that Solomon's sailors would had to have made to get here (if it was here) both by sea and by land. Not easy, to say the least, but a king's order and the promise of untold riches would be a good motivator for many, I'm sure. To have spent weeks at sea and then have to trek in from the shore through unknown jungles of wild animals...sounds like a great bonding experience for a crew!"
Great Zimbabwe: "The hills, the stones, the curves of the walls...what a great place! And the place just keeps on going, well into the surrounding countryside. Whoever lived here, they must have been a powerful people with an impressive knowledge of stonework. Edward's a fun guy for my tour, but with his rapid speech and strong accent, it takes me about 10 minutes to figure out how to listen to him properly (stick with it!). Once I get the hang of it, though, I'm amazed at the conclusions Karl Mauch jumped to."