Site F2 in the Timna Valley, Israel, is a small copper smelting site of 'primitive' technology, dated by its excavator to the Pottery Neolithic (sixth to fifth millennium bce). This early date challenges the common view of the beginning of smelting technology in the Levant and has been contested by various scholars since its publication. In this study, we present results of archaeointensity experiments conducted on slag fragments from the site. The slag yielded an excellent ancient geomagnetic value (64.1 ± 1.1 μT) that, when compared to the Levantine master curve, suggests an age not older than the second millennium and most probably between the 13th and 11th centuries bce. In addition to demonstrating the applicability of geomagnetic archaeointensity experiments to independent dating of slag, we discuss the implications of the current results for the socio-historical picture of the Timna Valley, and in particular for the way in which technological developments were previously modelled in the archaeometallurgical research on the region.
- Copper Production
- Dating Techniques