All photos in this gallery: copyright Christian Mariais, with the warmest thanks of Meretseger Books
The Timna Valley (תִּמְנָע) is located in southern Israel in the southwestern Arava/Arabah, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of the Gulf of Aqaba and the city of Eilat. The area is rich in copper ore and has been mined since the 5th millennium BCE.
Beno Rothenberg, the main excavator of the Timna Valley area, excavated a small Egyptian temple dedicated to Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of mining, at the base of Solomon's Pillars. It was built during the reign of Pharaoh Seti I at the end of the 14th century BCE, for the Egyptian miners. The shrine housed an open courtyard with a cella, an area cut into the rock to presumably house a statue of the deity. Earthquake damage caused the temple to be rebuilt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BCE, with a larger courtyard and more elaborate walls and floors. The dimensions of the original shrine were 15 by 15 metres, and it was faced with white sandstone that was found only at the mining site, several kilometres away. The hieroglyphics, sculptures, and jewellery found in the temple totalled several thousand artifacts, have provided a lot of important information for archaeologists. A rock carving of Ramses III with Hathor is located at the top of a flight of step carved into the stone next to the shrine.
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