Biblical Paleoarcheology

The First Mining Industry

Article 18
Many misconceptions about the so-called “Stone Age” need to be corrected because they are disparaging to the Bible and Christian faith. The use of stone does not imply that people were primitive. Pictures of Neanderthals banging rocks together to make tools wrongly gives the idea that the earliest humans were not smart enough to do any better. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The family of Noah wisely developed an advance mining industry that was appropriate for their time and circumstances.

Stone includes many materials that are not molten and molded like copper, bronze, and iron. The most common stone materials were flint and obsidian, but also jadeite, diorite, and schist, which are all harder than flint. Early on, stone was preferred to metal because it could be carried and shaped as needed. Metal required a complex, permanent installation that was unnecessary and poorly adapted to small settlements and migrating groups. Anyone familiar with the Bible knows that Tubal-cain was famous for forging tools with both bronze and iron long before the Flood (Genesis 5:22). The family of Noah chose to use stone rather than metal.

The philosophical concept of human evolution arranges tools beginning with those that are farthest from the Ark, that is, in Africa. These are called Oldowan because they only require a series of simple chips. The name Acheulean is given to the complex working of stones that skillfully produces very sharp edges by reworking pieces. Neanderthals used the Acheulean method. Any craftsman should be highly impressed by the quality of these tools and the extent of the craft among common people. According to the secular reconstruction, tools evolved until they reached a culmination in the Near East, but that’s only an opinion.

Civilization began downhill from the Mountains of Ararat.

According to the Bible, civilization began in the Near East when Noah and his family stepped off the Ark onto the Mountains of Ararat. The first thing they would have done would have been to seek out resources to build a new civilization. Archeology shows us that the first tools were made of flint and obsidian. Obsidian mines were worked all around the landing place of the Ark, at locations such as Bayezid, Suphan Dag, Nemrut Dag, Bingol, Alatepe, Cavuslar, and Ergani (see map). The mineral composition of the obsidian allows us to track its transport. It links mines and settlements in a trade network that spread across the entire Near East. The amazing thing is that all this mining and trade probably developed in the first fifty years.

Obsidian is classified as stone, which makes it part of the “stone age”, but it’s an amazing stone. Obsidian is black glass that is produced where minerals from a lava flow cool at a certain temperature. It can be easily ported anywhere and shaped on the spot. Obsidian produces slivers that have such a sharp edge that they have been used as scalpels. In fact, a metal knife cannot be sharpened as sharp as obsidian. It would truly be the material of choice for a survivalist.

Let’s forget the image of primitive cavemen inventing awkward stone tools. Within a few generations, the early tribal groups from Noah’s family had located obsidian and flint mines in the mountains around Ararat and had created an extensive trade network to supply raw materials to the extended family. This all happened in the early years before Babel and assured the success of the first settlements. We should be praising our forefathers for the legacy that they left us, rather than trying to obliterate their memory and replace it with a fantasy. The stone age was really a well-organized world trade network that tied miners to skilled craftsmen. Praise God for the hard-working children of Noah who established the first civilization of our time.

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