BY ANNA LETHBRIDGE
ARCHAEOLOGISTS CLAIMED last week to have discovered the first evidence outside the Bible of the existence of King David.
According to reports published in the Israel Exploration Yournal, excavations at Tel Dan, an ancient city at the foot of Mount Hermon in northern Israel, have unearthed a fragment of a large stone stela with 13 lines of an inscription referring to the "House of David".
Tel Dan is identified with the city of Dan mentioned in the Book of Judges: "from Dan to Beersheba".
The stone had been broken in antiquity and re-used in a
wall some time before the mid-eighth century BC and excavators from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion, noticed the inscription by chance when !1..: rays of the sun hit it at exactly the right angle.
The inscription is in Early Aramaic, a script dating to the ninth century BC and is the earliest reference to the Davidic kings of Judah.
Dr Rupert Chapman, Executive Secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund, told the Catholic Herald: "It is an extremely important find and seems to be a record of an historical event not mentioned in the Bible, so it may give us a completely new piece of historical evidence."