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Israeli archaeologists announce historic links to King David and Solomon's temple

(Xinhua)

09:05, May 09, 2012

JERUSALEM, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Recent archaeological finds in Israel may provide a solid link between Old Testament scripture and history. Israeli archaeologist said on Tuesday that they have discovered a fortified city in Judea from the time of King David, refuting, they say, claims that the biblical Jewish kings were only mythological figures.

The walled city is right next to the Valley of Elah, where Bible says David and Goliath battled and archaeologists believe it stood between 1020 to 980 BCE.

The city was the only one with fortifications that dates back to King David and it provides an insight that the cult practised in the city was different than that of the Canaanites or the Philistines.

"The cult shrines that we have found in this fortified city show that it was a Jewish settlement, since we did not find bones of pigs among the bones we unearthed," said Prof. Yosef Garfinkel from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University.

"The three cult rooms did not show any human or animal figurine, suggesting that the population observed two biblical bans -- on pork and on graven images, therefore supporting the theory that Jewish population lived there," Garfinkel said.

According to researchers, the three cult shrines, made of stone, are marked with carvings such as those described in the Bible when referring to the Temple of Solomon, the First Jewish Temple.

"These finds are unique, the cult shrines are made from limestone, they're the first ones we found in Israel and they are connected to the Temple of Solomon," Saar Gan-Or, from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, told Xinhua.

"We can identify them by reading the Bible, because some of the same motives and patterns these shrines have carved on them are just like the ones described in the scriptures. For example, the part talking about the temple says that it had carved trygliphes, columns and triple recessed doorways, like these shrines have."

Garfinkel stressed that the unearthing of these three stone shrines sheds light on the obscure passages in the Bible, clarifying them for archaeologists.

"Now, for the first time in history we have actual objects from the time of King David, which can be related to monuments described in the Bible," Garfinkel said.

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