An ancient goldmine discovered on a hill on the Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia is said to be the treasure trove of Queen of Sheba, the biblical legend who traveled from Ethiopia to Israel to meet the king and showered upon him tons of gold about 3,000 years ago.
Called by different names such as Balqis in Islamic tradition and Makeda in Ethiopian culture, the queen is mentioned everywhere in biblical history as the “Queen of Sheba.” Legend has it that she was charmed by Israel’s King Solomon’s wisdom and gifted him four and a half tons of gold that she had brought with her, according to Hebrew Bible.
Considered apparently a rich queen in biblical accounts, the source of wealth of Queen of Sheba has remained a mystery till date.
The first bronze statue, about 2,500 years old, to be discovered at the temple believed to be that of the Queen of Sheba, near the ancient city of Mareb, Yemen on Apr. 17, 1952. Image Credit: Press Association
However, British archaeologist Louise Schofield claims to have struck an enormous goldmine, which she believes was possibly the source from where the queen derived her wealth. The mine’s current location is said to be in the ancient kingdom of Sheba, which in modern times spans across Yemen and Ethiopia.
An excavation team led by Schofield, a former British Museum curator, has found the entrance to the mine that is covered with a boulder as tall as 20 feet. Sabaean inscriptions, symbols carved on the stone and remnants of a temple of Sheba’s deity, the Moon God, found near the excavation site indicate that the goldmine belonged to Sheba, according to Schofield.
“An initial clue lay in a 20ft stone stele (or slab) carved with a sun and crescent moon, the calling card of the land of Sheba, she was quoted as saying by The Observer.
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, she added.
Though the actual size of the mine is not yet established, Schofield said that initial tests showed that it is huge and has proper underground passageway, some four-feet down, to walk inside.
“The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary, she concluded.
This gold necklace, the finest discovered in Yemen in southern Arabia photographed on Aug.17, 1951, is approximately 2,300 years old. It shows a crescent moon, chief god of southern Arabia in those days. The southern Arabia then used to be the region of Sheba. Image Credit: Press Association
The ruins of the wall of ancient Sheba, city of Balqis, the Biblical Queen of Sheba, in Yemen on Feb. 25, 1957. The Mareb Dam burst in 400 B.C. and once flourishing Sheba went back to desert. Image Credit: Press Association
These pillars, sticking 30 feet out of the sands of Yemen, Southern Arabia, are the remains of a temple to the Moon God shown Aug. 17, 1951. The ruins are situated about two miles from the present-day city of Mareb, beneath which, lie the remains of the reputed capital city of the Biblical Queen of Sheba. Image Credit: Press Association