Found: Hebrew Inscriptions From 1st Temple Period



A couple of new finds date to the period of the First Israelite Temple (aka – Solomon’s Temple) in Jerusalem. 

A bone seal engraved with the Hebrew name Shaul (Saul), along with a representation of a flower or piece of fruit, was discovered in excavations directed by Professors Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. It was found with pottery that dates to ca. 700 B.C., around the time of Hezekiah.

Bone seal (ca. 700 B.C.) inscribed with the Hebrew name Shaul.

Bone seal (ca. 700 B.C.) inscribed with the Hebrew name "Shaul" on the bottom.

This dates to a few hundred years after the time of King Saul (who did not live in Jerusalem), but it shows the name was in use during Iron-Age Israel. The seal also aids understanding in the development of personal seals in that culture. Several bullae (clay seal impressions) from a century before were also found nearby, but they only contained graphic representations (flora or fauna) in place of any letters. This new seal discovery seems to indicate that people in Judah did not use seals inscribed with actual names until some point during the 8th century B.C.

The Israeli Antiquties Authority release is here. (Temporary link.)

HT: Todd Bolen

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The construction of a school around the Mount of Olives has yielded an inscribed pottery jar handle dated to around 900 B.C. This would be during the early years of the Divided Kingdom. The Hebrew inscription is the name Menachem, which was also the name of an Israelite king who lived a couple of centuries later toward the end of the Northern Kingdom.

Inscribed jar handle (ca. 900 B.C.) with the name Menachem.

An article with the photo is here.

HT: Marshal Ray in Bowling Green, KY

Update: Todd Bolen reports on some alternate readings of the inscription. Both involve the name Nahum.


About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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