QUEEN OF SHEBA’S GRAVE DISCOVERED
Throughout much of the 19th century, Sheba, the spice kingdom ruled by a queen in Solomon’s day, was considered mythical by Bible critics. Since then, the evidence for Sheba’s existence in southern Arabia (modern Yemen) has become overwhelming. In the 1950s, Wendell Phillips led the first official archaeological expedition to Sheba’s ancient capital, Marib, and found evidence of a sophisticated, idolatrous society. This month I visited the “Unearthing Arabia” exhibition at the Sackler Museum in Washington, D.C., which displayed some of the artifacts discovered by Phillips. I have also seen ancient artifacts from southern Arabia at the British Museum and the Louvre in Paris, as we describe in the book Bible Times and Ancient Kingdoms. Recently, archaeologists from the University of Oxford found a tomb outside of Marib that is believed to be that of the Queen of Sheba (“Archaeologists Discover Tomb,”World News Daily Report, Feb. 6, 2015). The tomb dates to the early 10th century BC, which is the time of Solomon. It contained the skeleton of a woman adorned with luxurious jewelry, inscribed clay tablets, and vases still containing traces of myrrh and frankincense. Dr. Joseph Lang, head archaeologist of the team, says, “The carbon-dating, the location, the inscriptions, the characteristics of the skeleton and the nature of the artifacts on the site all seem to confirm that the bones are indeed those of the famous queen regnant who visited Solomon. Many of the inscriptions in the tomb refer to ‘Bilqis, mqtwyt of Sheba,’ which means Bilkis, high chieftess on Sheba.'” The skeleton and artifacts have been deposited in the National Museum of Yemen.