Iron Age II, Kingdom of Judah, Bronze Dagger, Israel 8th - 6th Century BCE. Bronze dagger is 1 1/8" high x 8 1/4" long x 1/8" deep with contemporary lucite handle and in custom olive wood case. Ex: Arieh Klein collection, Jerusalem. According to the Penn Museum, in Iron Age II, nation-states arose in the southern Levant. Territory and nationality joined family and town as sources of identity. The kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon is the best known example of the "new states" of the Iron II period. According to the Bible, the first king of Israel, Saul, died in a battle with the Philistines and his body was hung from the walls of Beth Shean. The next king, David, defeated the Philistines and united the states of Israel and Judah to rule over all Israelites for the first time. David was able to extend the size of the kingdom due to the great army he commanded. The Canaanite town of Jerusalem was conquered and became David's civil and religious capital. David's son, Solomon, continued to rule over a united and wealthy kingdom. From an archaeological perspective, however, our evidence for state government increases after Solomon (c.930 BCE) -- in the period when Israel was divided into the two kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah to the south. The two kingdoms co-existed for approximately 200 years, mostly as allies but at times at odds with each other. Between 900 and 750 BCE, biblical states such as Israel, Judah, Ammon and Moab developed centralized governments with increasingly professional bureaucracies. This is marked by the occurrence of large-scale public works projects, such as elaborate water-tunnels, the spread of standardized systems of weights and measures and an increase in the use of writing. The Iron II period marks the first time that the alphabet was widely used since its invention in Bronze Age Canaan.