Archaeologists Discover Purple Fabric Dating Back to King David

by Seth Udinski
Archaeologists Discover Purple Fabric Dating Back to King David

Seth Udinski, FISM News


Archaeologists in Israel made a fascinating discovery last week, as they unearthed a small piece of purple fabric in the Timna Valley, dating back to the early tenth century BC.  In ancient Israel, the color purple was used to represent royalty.  Therefore, it is possible this piece of fabric was of a royal garment worn by the legendary monarch David, the greatest king in the history of ancient Israel, or possibly by David’s son and heir to the throne, Solomon.

The reigns of David and Solomon are described in the Old Testament books of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.  This was an age of great prosperity, historically remembered as Israel’s Golden Age.  David reigned from roughly 1010 to 970 BC, and Solomon from 970 to roughly 931 BC.

Naama Sukenik, curator of organic material at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said after the discovery, “This is the first piece of textile ever found from the time of David and Solomon that is dyed with the prestigious purple dye….”  The “prestigious purple dye” to which Sukenik refers, was most likely made from residue left by snails.  Sukenik went on to say that these types of dyes were used to “serve as an important indicator for the wearer’s high economic and social status.”

This discovery will inevitably lead to more like it in the Holy Land, as archaeologists continue to search for more physical pieces of history from the biblical era.