Not only did King Solomon exist, but he was also the world’s first shipping magnate, claims marine archaeologist Dr Sean Kingsley. Over the past 10 years, the scientist has conducted research collecting evidence that he argues will prove King Solomon’s historicity.
The Bible tells of a special partnership between the wise monarch and Hiram I, the king of Phoenicia. Historians say that at the height of the Phoenician civilisation, it spread from the Levant to the Iberian Peninsula. While examining Andalusian port towns, Dr Kingsley visited a mine, which in ancient times was used for digging copper, gold, lead, silver, and zinc.
He then found a 17th century account of a particular spot that was called Solomon Castle and another historical account telling of people "being sent there by King Solomon for gold and silver".
Dr Kingsley points to two recent studies – one showed that silver hoards unearthed in Israel originally came from Iberia, while the other found evidence of Phoenicians and Israelites, including merchants’ weights and pottery, in Huelva, Spain.
The researcher claims that Huelva is "the best fit for the capital of the biblical Tarshish", a region which is said to have exported vast quantities of precious metals to Phoenicia and Israel.
Dr Kingsley points out that the First Temple of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, which some historians believe was built by order of King Solomon, had a lot of gold, which neither Israel nor Lebanon could "tap into". As a result, the researcher says, Israel was forced to look to the horizon and turned to Tarshish.
"When I spotted in ancient accounts the name of the hill where silver was mined at Rio Tinto – Solomon’s Hill – I was stunned. Biblical history, archaeology and myth merged to reveal the long-sought land of Tarshish celebrated in the Old Testament. It looks like Solomon was wise in his maritime planning. He bankrolled the voyages from Jerusalem and let salty Phoenician sailors take all the risks at sea", Dr Kingsley told the Observer.