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.
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
– – – – – – –
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.
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.