Two recent finds in Israel help verify a biblical location and reveal more details about life in the ancient world.
In Jerusalem, at the City of David excavations, a "bulla," or clay seal impression, with the name of "Bet Lechem" (Hebrew for Bethlehem) was discovered by Eli Shukron and a team of archaeologists for the Israel Antiquities Authority. This find dates to the latter part of the First Temple period, mentioning the seventh year of a king—unclear as to whether that's Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah.
It verifies the existence of the city of Bethlehem and, because the bulla was a seal on tax documents, connects Bethlehem to the government in Jerusalem (Nir Hasson, "Israeli Archaeologists Find Earliest Evidence of Bethlehem's Existence in Jerusalem Dig," Haaretz.com, May 23, 2012; Todd Bolen, "Seal Impression From Bethlehem Discovered in Jerusalem," BiblePlaces.com blog, May 23, 2012).
In northern Israel, a jug full of ancient jewelry was found at the site of the ancient city of Megiddo. After being cleaned, analyzed and dated to around 1100 B.C., Israel Finkelstein and colleagues at Tel Aviv University believe the jewelry probably belonged to a wealthy Canaanite family.
The earrings, rings and beads are made of precious metals and are very beautifully crafted. They are thought to be Egyptian in style, and as the metals are not from the region, the find illustrates the significant level of international trade at the time (Daniela Berretta, "Israeli Archaeologists Find Rare Ancient Jewelry," News.Yahoo.com, May 25, 2012). Once again, archaeology continues to substantiate and illuminate the Bible record.