More Exaggerated Archaeological Claims

Once more archaeology is claimed to do something it can’t do.

Biblical ‘royal purple’ found at Timna offers look at King David wardrobe

No, it doesn’t.

The special purple described in the Bible and wore by the kings of Israel, including David and Solomon, was recently identified on 3,000 year-old fragments of fabrics unearthed at the iconic site of Timna in the Negev. “King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love” reads the third chapter of Song of Songs.

Finding purple thread means finding purple thread. Nothing more. Just because it’s purple doesn’t mean it offers a window into David’s wardrobe or Solomon’s seat. Such a claim is a massive leap, like saying that if you find a dog’s bones in Tyre it must be the bones of the dog under the table that the woman said got to eat crumbs. And they know it.

“The discovery also tells us more about the people who lived at Timna, offering us proof that upper class people resided there,” she added. “Purple was the color worn by the elites. While we cannot say who the fragments of fabrics we found belonged to, one thing is sure: if we had been able to open King David or King Salomon’s wardrobes, we would have found clothes dyed in this color.”

It may tell us something about Timna, but that’s it.

Once more the press is trying to make a suit out of a button. I wish they’d stop it. It does service to no one and certainly not to archaeology.