King Solomon’s mines were abandoned and became a desert wasteland. Here’s why.

Copper mines in Israel’s Negev Desert — ancient sites that may have inspired the legend of King Solomon’s mines of gold — were abandoned 3,000 years ago, when people there used up all the plants to make charcoal for smelting, a new study finds.

The researchers studied fragments of charcoal from ancient furnaces in the Timna Valley near Eilat, where a prosperous copper industry thrived from the 11th to ninth centuries B.C. 

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