Genesis 2:11-12 describes a land called Havillah, where there is very good gold.

Were there historical attempts made to locate this land, and what do we know about such expeditions if they did exist?

  • I'm new here - please edit my tags and let me know how I should improve the question if it isn't up to snuff. – Y     e     z Oct 23 '14 at 20:53
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    This looks answerable historically: it is about the reception of the text by historically knowable groups. – Samuel Russell Oct 23 '14 at 21:08
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about mythology. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 23 '14 at 22:11
  • @PieterGeerkens I'm brand new here, so I don't know the scope so well, but is a question about if people have attempted to locate something "mythological" off-topic? I'm not asking for mythological accounts, I am asking for historical accounts of pursuit of this. – Y     e     z Oct 23 '14 at 23:11
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    @YEZ: This question is in the grey area, but so far just my one vote to close, so don't panic - Semaphore and Oldcat didn't vote to close. However, if you had presented a bit more research yourself perhaps the down-voter would have abstained also. The site is what the experienced users make it, and we don't always agree. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 23 '14 at 23:34

A quick look at the Bible text names two known rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) and two unknown, one of which (the Pishon) flows from this land of Havillah. According to the text, Eden is at the headwaters of all four, which would put it somewhere in Anatolia.

A Google search for "Havilah and Pishon River" brings up some interesting maps, most of which discard the headwaters concept and put Eden and the missing rivers in Modern Iraq, near the Perisan Gulf. They then postulate two lost rivers flowing in from Arabia or Iran. So one of those could be the area spoken of. Some others equate it with the Nile, which has the gold for sure but does not flow anywhere near the Tigris and Euphrates.

Even if you knew the right area, Gold is often deposited by rivers in alluvial banks, which could well be exhausted in the subsequent millennia, so ancient Havillah presumably would have no more gold to find.

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    This answer seems to answer the mythological question "Where is Havilah?" Not suited to this board. It does not answer the historical question, "Did people conduct expeditions to locate this mythic land?" Compare: "Where is Atlantis" to "What expeditions have people made to locate Atlantis". – Samuel Russell Oct 23 '14 at 23:40
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    @SamuelRussell Huh. There's no existing question yet for "What expeditions have people made to locate Atlantis?" on History.SE. I want it :-) Although you'd have to include armchair expeditions by scholars, I guess – LateralFractal Oct 24 '14 at 3:44
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    Well Babylon is the kingdom of gold in the prophecy of Daniel, so maybe they built up this gold reputation from Genesis? Iraq is basically Babylon geographically. – Anon343224user Oct 24 '14 at 13:33

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