- (Photo: University of Haifa)
A 3,000-year-old inscription discovered in Jerusalem is evidence of King Solomon's reign, a professor of ancient history says.
The text in question is the "Ophel inscription," which is the earliest alphabetical inscription ever discovered in Jerusalem. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar and her team discovered the writing in 2012 on a piece of earthenware.
Gershon Galil from the Department of Biblical Studies and Jewish History at the University of Haifa in Israel told FoxNews.com that he has come up with the "only reasonable translation" of the text thus far. The early Hebrew writing appears to be a wine label of sorts, according to his interpretation, though three of the letters on the artifact are incomplete.
Galil's findings were published in the academic journal "Strata: Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society," according to a press release issued last week by the University of Haifa. He says the first part of the inscription indicates it came from the twentieth or thirtieth year that Solomon was on the throne, and the middle portion is translated as "inferior wine."
"This cheap wine was not served on Solomon's table, nor used in the Temple," Galil said in a statement. "So it is reasonable to suppose that it was served to the hard workers that were engaged in the large scale building projects in Jerusalem, and maybe also to the soldiers who served there."
Galil says his translation of the text suggests that, at the time it was written, there was an administration in place that collected taxes, prepared the jars and cared for Jerusalem's workers.
He also says he believes the text is an early form of southern Hebrew. The Hebrew letter yod is used twice in the spelling of the word "wine," he says, which would not have been the case in any other language at the time.
There are archaeologists who disagree with Galil's interpretation. But regardless, he says, the existence of the early writing is just as important as what it means.
The inscription suggests to Galil that there were scribes in Jerusalem in the latter half of the 10th century B.C., which means there were people who could have written historic and literary texts in addition to administrative texts like the one that was discovered.
"This fact is of major importance for reconstructing the process of the crystallization of the Bible, and even more for the understanding of the History of Israel and Jerusalem in Biblical times," said Galil.
The professor also told FoxNews.com he hopes more evidence of the Kingdoms of David and Solomon will surface in years to come.
"The evidence that we have today and each year we have so much more that David and Solomon were real and important kings and not just tales of the Bible," he said.