Zev Radovan

“House of David” and “King of Israel,” two phrases in this inscription, thrilled the world of Biblical archaeology last July. The former represents the first reference to David in a First Temple-period inscription; and the latter may be the oldest known extra-Biblical reference to Israel in a Semitic script. Uncovered at Tel Dan, in northern Galilee, the foot-high basalt fragment was probably part of a stela, or inscribed standing stone, erected by a foreign conqueror of Dan. The clearly engraved inscription appears to have been executed by someone using an iron stylus with a rounded point after the stone’s face had been smoothed for writing. For more details and a full translation, see the sidebar “New Inscription May Illuminate Biblical Events.”