Zev Radovan/Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

One of Biran’s most spectacular finds at Dan is the inscribed stone slab, discovered in three chunks, shown above. Biran dates it to the mid-ninth century B.C.; he and epigrapher Joseph Naveh believe the inscription contains a boast by the king of Damascus, who claims to have defeated the king of the northern kingdom of Israel and the king of “the house of David.” The overwhelming majority of scholars agree with this reading, which would be the first historical reference outside the Bible to a Davidic dynasty and, by inference, to King David.