Published On: Sun, Dec 21st, 2014

MSU Archaeologists Find Proof of Kings David and Solomon

Jimmy Hardin

A team of archaeologists from Mississippi State University discovered six official clay seals at a site in Israel. They say that the discovery offers evidence that supports the existence of biblical kings David and Solomon.

Many modern scholars dismiss David and Solomon as mythological figures and believe no kingdom could have existed in the region at the time the Bible recounted their activities. The new finds, the scholars say, provide evidence that some type of government activity was conducted there in that period.

Jimmy Hardin, associate professor in the MSU Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, said these clay bullae were used to seal official correspondence in much the same way wax seals were used on official documents in later periods.

Mississippi State University discovery

“Our preliminary results indicated that this site is integrated into a political entity that is typified by elite activities, suggesting that a state was already being formed in the 10th century B.C., ” Hardin said. “We are very positive that these bullae are associated with the Iron Age IIA, which we date to the 10th century B.C., and which lends general support to the historical veracity of David and Solomon as recorded in the Hebrew biblical texts.”

“These appear to be the only known examples of bullae from the 10th century, making this discovery unique, ” he added.

The finds contribute significantly to an ongoing debate in the archaeological community about whether governments or states existed in the early Iron Ages. The artifacts hold far-reaching implications for the growing number of scholars who maintain that such political organization occurred much later than biblical texts suggest.

“The fact that these bullae came off of sealed written documents shows that this site — located out on the periphery of pretty much everything — is integrated at a level far beyond subsistence, ” he said. “You have either political or administrative activities going on at a level well beyond those typical of a rural farmstead.”

Two of the bullae Hardin’s team excavated have complete seal impressions, two have partial seal impressions, and two others have none. Two bullae were blackened by fire. One bulla has a well-preserved hole where the string used to seal the document passed through the clay. The impressions in the bullae do not contain writing.

The dig site was chosen so researchers could study border dynamics between the nations of Philistia and Judea in the area previously dated to the 10th century B.C.

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