The findings have particular significance in view of the debate existing among archaeologists as to the authenticity of the biblical account of the two kings and the period and extent of their reign.
The late, famed Hebrew University archaeologist Prof.Yigael Yadin argued more than 40 years ago that a series of monumental structures and particularly the city gates of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer as well as certain palaces at Megiddo were founded by Solomon, corroborating the text in I Kings 9:15. However, during the last decade various scholars criticized this view and claim that the United Monarchy of David and Solomon should be dismissed as a real historical period of any value in the history of Israel. Indeed, it has even been argued by these critics that the findings described by Yadin were only from the 9th century B.C.E., the period of the Israelite kings Omri and Ahab.
Writing in the April 11 issue of Science magazine, Prof. Amihai Mazar of the Hebrew University, Dr. Hendrik Bruins of Ben-Gurion University, and Prof. Hans Van der Plicht of Groningen University, Holland, tell of their findings from excavations at Tel Rehov, located some 5 kilometers south of the town of Beit She'an in the Beit She'an Valley. The scholars argue that these findings conclusively prove that they found at Tel Rehov signs of an urban society from the 10th century B.C.E. which can be compared with finds from other sites in Israel, such as Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer, which were attributed in the past to the United Monarchy.
The excavations at Tel Rehov have been carried out since 1997 under the direction of Prof. Mazar, the Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew
Contact: Jerry Barach
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem