Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Archaeologists discover tiny head that may be face of biblical king


Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem via Facebook | Fair Use

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/11/18

The 2,800-year-old sculpture could shed light on the appearance of key figures from the Hebrew Bible.

The tiny sculpture of a head has a neatly manicured beard and glossy black hair, held back by a yellow and black painted headband. The archaeologists who discovered it believe the little head may give us an unprecedented glimpse at the face of a biblical king from the 9th century B.C.

The carved figurine was found by archaeologists from Azusa Pacific University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the site of ancient city of Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel. Abel Beth Maacah is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible.

According to the site’s lead archaeologist, Robert Mullins, it is difficult to determine which biblical king the head depicts, as the city sat at the crossroads of three kingdoms, Israel, Aram and Phoenicia.

“Given that the head was found in a city that sat on the border of three different ancient kingdoms, we do not know whether it depicts the likes of King Ahab of Israel, King Hazael of Aram-Damascus, or King Ethbaal of Tyre, rulers known from the Bible and other sources. The head represents a royal enigma,” Mullins said, in a press release.

Archaeologists were excavating the remains of what is believed to be an ancient citadel from the time of the Israelite kings when Mario Tobia, an engineering student from Jerusalem, picked up a 2-inch wide dirt clod that concealed the tiny head.

The sculpture is now on exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


Read more:
Archaeologists find Biblical evidence under Jonah’s tomb

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.