A tiny seal showing a large animal with a feline tail attacking a human being may be the first archaeological evidence of Samson, the super-strong long-haired slayer of the Philistines from the Bible.
The seal was discovered at a level of excavation that dates it to roughly the 11th century BC, when Israelite tribes had moved into the area after Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. It was a time when the Jews were led by ad hoc leaders known as judges, one of whom was Samson.
The location of the find, close to the River Sorek that marked the boundary between the Israelites and their Philistine foes, also indicates that the figure on the seal could represent Samson, according to Israeli archaeologists.
Alternatively, it suggests that tales of a hero strong enough to fight a lion circulated at the time of the judges, one that then morphed into the story of Samson.
Story: Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph | Photo: Alamy