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Queen of Sheba's fabled mines discovered in Ethiopia


February 14, 2012 - London

British archaeologists have struck gold with a discovery that may unravel the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba derived her fabled treasures from.

According to the Bible, the ruler of Sheba, which covered modern-day Ethiopa and Yemen, travelled to King Solomon in Jerusalem, bringing 120 talents (four-and-half tons) of gold.

Now an ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple, has been found on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, part of the Queen's former territory, the Daily Mail reported.

The entrance lay hidden behind a 20ft stone or slab carved with a sun and crescent moon, the 'calling card of the land of Sheba', according to excavation leader Louise Schofield.

"I crawled beneath the stone - wary of a 9ft cobra I was warned lives here - and came face to face with an inscription in Sabaean, the language that the Queen of Sheba would have spoken," Schofield told the Observer.

Nearby she unearthed parts of columns and finely carved stone channels from a buried temple believed to be dedicated to a moon deity.

Excavations also revealed the site of a battlefield nearby, where Schofield found ancient bones.

Local people still pan for gold in a close by river, but they were uninformed of the ancient mine complex beneath their feet.

The shaft is concealed 4ft beneath the surface of a hill circled by vultures. An ancient skull is embedded above the entrance, which bears Sabaean chiselling.

Sheba was an 8th century BC civilisation that lasted a milennium, prospering through trade in incense spices with Jerusalem and the Roman empire.

Its legendary Queen is chronicled in both the Koran and the Bible, which describes her visiting Solomon 'with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold and precious stones'.

The Biblical account mentions that the Queen was 'overwhelmed' by Solomon's wisdom and the happiness of his kingdom and, as she departed, 'she gave the king 120 talents of gold' - equivalent to about four-and-a-half tons.

ANI

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