4. Concluding Remarks

The least we must observe, on present evidence, is an increase in the frequency of silver-dominant hoards in southern Phoenicia in contexts datable between 1200 and 800 BC. The lead isotope signatures of 25 sampled artefacts in these hoards are consistent with ores in the western Mediterranean, and are, at the same time, inconsistent with the geographically proximate deposits of galena in Anatolia (Taurus) and the Aegean (Laurion) that have been more traditionally recognised as suppliers to eastern Mediterranean economies.

Certainly, the evidence at hand does not compel us to believe that Solomon actually made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, or that trips to Tarshish were as politically subordinated as they sometimes appear in biblical sources. Beyond beliefs, however, we have facts to consider: the coincidence in southern Phoenicia of a concentration of silver hoards datable to between 1200 and 800 BC, and our initial evidence for the circulation of silver derived from western Mediterranean ores, correlates with the ancient documents that understand the west as the locus of transient Phoenician metals trade in the pre-colonial period, the island of Tarshish, and the sources of Solomon's silver.


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