The United Kingdom of David and Solomon
David and Solomon are portrayed in the Bible as two of the greatest kings of the ancient world. However, no trace of their empire has ever been found in Palestine. It is a period curiously missing from the archaeological record of the region. Quoting from the book, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, "The Bible is the only written source concerning the United Monarchy, and it is therefore the basis of any historical presentation of the period."(1) There is such a complete void of external sources that the archaeologist, author and leading authority on the era, Donald Redford, writes in frustration that "such topics as the foreign policy of David and Solomon, Solomon's trade in horses or his marriage to Pharaoh's daughter must remain themes for midrash and fictional treatment."(2)
In contrast, archaeology has confirmed the reigns of all other great kings of the ancient world mentioned in the Bible, and some of the later, lesser kings of of Judah and Israel (namely, Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Pekah, Hosea, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Mannasseh, and Uzziah).(3) Conservative Biblical scholars believe that it is only a matter of time before concrete evidence of the reigns of David and Solomon is found as well. As will be discussed, concrete evidence for David and Solomon already exists, and comes from the very place one would least expect to find it.