Geological Evidence for the
British Throne of David?
Pratt Reprinted from
Meridian Magazine (2 June 2003)
©2003 by John P. Pratt.
All rights Reserved.
Could the tradition that the British monarchy is
the kingly line of David, crowned on the Stone of Jacob,
be subjected to scientific scrutiny?
Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the
coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
on June 2, 1953.
Surely her half-century reign would be the envy of many
ancient kings, who considered one measure of their
greatness to be the length of their reign. Great Britain
has been a world power for centuries, and heads the
Commonwealth of Nations which spans the globe with
nearly fifty member countries. How could a few small
islands have come to have such widespread influence?
Just who are the British anyway?
Chair, with Elizabeth II seated
Coronation in 1953.
When one traces the roots of the Britons, Scots, Irish,
Welsh, English (Anglos and Saxons), Picts, Normans, and
Celts, there is substantial evidence that all of those
peoples are of Israelite descent. The tribe of Joseph
seems to be best represented, but there is evidence for
the presence of several of the tribes. Volumes have been
written on that subject,
but in this article, it will be taken as a starting
point that the inhabitants of the British Isles have a
lot of the blood of Israel. Because of this anniversary
date of the monarchy, let us focus on the succession of
1. King David's Throne
There is a strong tradition that the British royal line
is the continuation of the throne of King David of the
ancient "United Kingdom" of Israel and Judah. An
examination of the genealogies of those kings clearly
shows their descent from that royal line. The Lord made
a covenant with King David, which was not conditional on
David's continued righteousness. The Lord stated:
I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have
sworn unto David my servant,
Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy
throne to all generations. . . .
I have found David my servant; with my holy
oil have I anointed him:
With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm
also shall strengthen him.
Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the
kings of the earth.
My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my
covenant shall stand fast with him.
His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and
his throne as the days of heaven.
If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my
If they break my statutes, and keep not my
Then will I visit their transgression with the rod,
and their iniquity with stripes.
Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly
take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing
that is gone out of my lips.
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie
His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as
the sun before me.
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as
a faithful witness in heaven. (Psalms 89:3-4,
Thus, the Lord covenanted that, notwithstanding their
potential wickedness, the descendants of David would
rule as kings over Israel forever. If they became
wicked, then they could bring calamity on themselves and
their subjects, but their kingly line would continue.
That's an amazing prophecy. All it would take to break
it that the monarchy be overthrown, or to have no royal
descendant who could inherit the throne.
So has the royal line continued unbroken? It clearly
was continuous for some four centuries until the time of
king Zedekiah, last King of Judah in Jerusalem. In 587
B.C., at the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, King
Zedekiah, of the royal line of David, saw his sons slain
before his eyes (Jer. 39:6). It was apparently
Nebuchadnezzar's attempt to end the succession of Jewish
kings, but there was a detail of the Hebrew law with
which he was apparently unfamiliar. A princess could
also inherit the throne if she married someone from the
tribe of Judah (Num. 27:8; 36:3). So what about the
daughters of Zedekiah?
We are explicitly told that the daughters of Zedekiah
were taken to Egypt along with the prophet Jeremiah and
others (Jer. 43:6). There Jeremiah prophesied that all
those who fled to Egypt would also be killed, except a
few who should escape (Jer. 44:1-14).
That is where the Biblical story of Jeremiah ends,
except for the hint that Jeremiah's mission was not only
to tear down, but also to plant (Jer. 1:10). No planting
is described in his mission in Jerusalem. Where did
Jeremiah do his planting? And where was the new kingdom
described in the parable given to Ezekiel, where a
"tender twig," cut from the highest branch of the high
cedar, would be planted and grow into a great kingdom,
and that the lower tree would be exalted above the
upper? (Ezek. 17:22-24) That tender twig may well have
been the daughter of Zedekiah.
For the "rest of the story" we must turn to the
history of ancient Ireland. The following account is
summarized from authenticated histories rather than mere
legends or speculation.
2. Jeremiah and the Scottish Royalty
The earliest known colonizers of Ireland were the Danai,
who almost certainly were from the tribe of Dan. They
had separated from the other tribes shortly after the
Exodus, and founded some cities in Greece, including
About 1200 B.C. a colony of Danai from Greece journeyed
to Ireland. Centuries later a group of Israelites called
the Milesians arrived and subjugated the Danai. The
Milesians were either the same as, or joined with, the
Scots, who had migrated to Ireland from Scythia (Scotia
= Scythia), near the Black Sea.
The Flag of Northern
Ireland combines the Star of David (Pharez) with the
Red Hand (Zerah).
The kings of both of these nations came from Judah, from
the line of Zerah.
Who was Zerah? Judah was given the promise that his
children would reign until Shiloh comes (Gen. 49:10,
most likely referring to the second coming of Christ).
His descendants all come through his twin sons Pharez
and Zerah. David came through the line of Pharez, and a
similar promise was made to him concerning his
descendants, as noted above. But the line of Zerah also
produced many kingly lines, including the kings of
ancient Ireland. For the purposes of this article, we
need only understand that the ancient Irish were of
Israel, and their kings were from Zerah, whose symbol
was a red hand, or a hand with red thread tied around it
The histories say that in about 584 B.C. a Milesian
chieftain named Gathelus became a hero in Egypt and
married the Pharaoh's daughter, Scota. Gathelus must
have given her that name in honor of Scotia, or Scythia,
the former country of the Scots. The histories
explicitly state that Gathelus was a descendant of
Cecrops who founded Athens.
My conclusion after doing this research is that the
Milesians were not the same as the Scots. The Milesians
were most likely a second colony from Greece which came
about 1000 B.C., and the Scots probably migrated from
the Black Sea after the Assyrian captivity in Israel
about 700 B.C. Thus, Gathelus giving his wife the name
Scota might have been a way to help politically merge
the two groups into one. They moved to the part of Spain
now called Portugal and built the city of Brigance and
called his subjects Scots. Gathelus and Scota had a son
named Eochaidh whose wife Teah Tephi chose Ireland to be
their residence. They founded Tara in Ireland,
officially called their subjects "Scots" in honor of his
mother, and Ireland later became known as Scotia.
The histories also mention that Eochaidh was
accompanied by a prophet named Ollam Fodhla and his
scribe Berach. Gathelus (or perhaps Ollam Fodhla)
prophesied that wherever his marble seat would be found,
there would reign one of his descendants over the Scots.
2.1 Ollam Fodhla
The Harp is the Symbol of
Ireland on the Royal Flag.
What has all of this got to do with our story? Some
versions identify Scota as the daughter of King
Zedekiah, Ollam Fodhla as Jeremiah, and Berach as his
But wasn't Scota the daughter of Pharaoh? Remember that
"pharaoh" is simply the Egyptian word for king, and
Zedekiah's daughter certainly was a king's daughter who
was in Egypt. The traditions also state that the small
group who thus escaped from Egypt took with them to
Ireland the harp of David, the ark of the covenant, and
the stone of Jacob. It states that King Eochaidh was
coronated by Jeremiah in Ireland while sitting on the
stone of Jacob, and some versions add that his wife Teah
was the sister of Scota and also a daughter of Zedekiah.
The harp of David became a national emblem of Tara and
2.2 The Stone of Destiny
All the kings of the Scots in Tara were coronated on
that stone for over a thousand years. Then about A.D.
500, Fergus of Ireland conquered the Picts who lived in
Scotland. The Picts agreed to accept him as king, so he
had the Stone of Destiny moved to Scotland, where he was
crowned on it. It thereafter also became known as the
Stone of Scone (pronounced "Scoon") because it resided
at the castle there. True to the prophecy, that land
where the stone resided was ruled by a Scottish king,
and became known as Scotland. Later, King James VI of
Scotland became James I of England, and today Queen
Elizabeth is his descendant. Thus, even now that
Scotland forms part of Great Britain, it is still true
that the Scots are ruled by a monarch of Scottish royal
The Coronation Chair was
built around the Stone of Scone (just below the
The Stone of Destiny was moved to Westminster Abbey in
in 1296 A.D. by King Edward I. He had a special
"coronation chair" built around that stone, and all of
the British kings and queens have been crowned in that
chair since, including the currently reigning Queen
Elizabeth II. In 1996 the stone was returned to
2.3 Were Davidic Kings Coronated on the Stone?
The Coronation ceremony appears to have been taken as
directly as possible from the description in the Bible
of the coronation of David and Solomon. The monarch is
anointed with sacred oil by the Archbishop of
Canterbury, trumpets sound, and the people shout "God
Save the King" (1 Samuel 10:24, 1 Kings 1:39). The royal
crown contains twelve jewels made of the same twelve
stones which were in the breastplate of the high priest
(Ex. 28:17-21). These similarities alone do not prove
that the kings really are the royal blood of Israel, but
such would be expected if the British throne is the
continuation of the throne of David. Of course, the
royalty also have extensive genealogies to prove their
It is interesting to note, however, that although the
stone is not explicitly mentioned as part of the
Biblical coronation ceremony, there seem to be
references to it which have been overlooked. Consider
the following accounts of when King Joash of Judah was
anointed by the high priest Jehoiada:
And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a
pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the
trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the
land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets (2 Kings
Then they brought out the king's son, and put
upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and
made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed
him, and said, God save the king.
Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people
running and praising the king, she came to the
people into the house of the LORD:
And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his
pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the
trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land
rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the
singers with instruments of musick, and such as
taught to sing praise. (2 Chronicles 23:11-13)
Here were are told that along with the usual parts of
the coronation ceremony, that also the king stood at his
pillar, as was the custom at coronation. What does that
mean? Some Bible translations are more literal and
render it, "The king stood on the pillar." How can one stand on a pillar? It
turns out the word translated pillar come from the root
meaning "to stand" and can also refer to a "stand" or
"platform." The meaning of pillar come from the idea
that a pillar is standing up on its end. So the verses
could also be saying that the king was coronated while
standing on his stand, as was the custom. Was that stand
or pillar the Stone of Destiny? If so, just what is it
that makes this stone so special? It was called the
Stone of Jacob. Just what was the stone of Jacob?
3. The Rock of Israel
The is a strange story in the Book of Genesis, which has
been somewhat enigmatic. In the light of knowing about
the traditions surrounding the Stone of Destiny, and
knowing its size and shape, and knowing that authentic
or not, an unbroken chain of kings has been crowned on
that stone for centuries, the following history now
makes a lot more sense.
Nearly two thousand years before Christ, the Prophet
Jacob (as in "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"), was traveling
back to the land of Haran to choose a wife. When he
passed by a city named Luz, the following event
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried
there all night, because the sun was set; and he
took of the stones of that place, and put them for
his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the
earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and
behold the angels of God ascending and descending on
And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am
the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of
Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I
give it, and to thy seed;
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and
thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the
east, and to the north, and to the south: and in
thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the
earth be blessed.
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in
all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee
again into this land; for I will not leave thee,
until I have done that which I have spoken to thee
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said,
Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this
place! this is none other but the house of God, and
this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the
stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up
for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the
name of that city was called Luz at the first.
This account includes several puzzling features.
First, a stone small enough to use as a pillow seems
hard to imagine being set up as a pillar. Second, just
because he had a dream about how the multitudes of his
posterity would spread out all over the world, why would
he anoint his pillow stone with oil? And what did he
mean that the stone would be for God's house? It was
important enough that he renamed the place Bethel,
which means "House of God." Did it have something to do
with a temple?
3.1 The Stone of Jacob
The Stone of Destiny
The size and shape of Stone of Destiny helps make sense
of this account, in case it really is this stone of
Jacob. First, it is in fact about the size and shape of
a big pillow, being about 26 x 16 x 10 inches. It was
apparently already a stone which had been cut into a
rectangular building shape when Jacob found it. It was
probably rejected by the builders because it has a crack
in it, so it had been discarded before being finished.
If the Stone of Destiny really is Jacob's stone, then it
is easy to see how he could stand it up on its end to be
a "pillar." Actually, it might have been difficult
because it weighs over 300 pounds. Checking the meaning
of the word translated "pillar," we see that it means a
"stone marker," which often were very large pillars.
Most likely this one served mostly as a marker, so that
he could find the location when he returned.
decades and a dozen children later, Jacob was commanded
to return to Bethel. After Jacob returned, and had built
and anointed a more permanent altar, God appeared to him
there and announced that his name would be changed to
Israel, adding "a company of nations shall be of thee,
and kings shall come out of thy loins" (Gen. 35:11).
This is most likely the time when Jacob decided to bring
the original stone with him, though we are not
explicitly told that detail. Note that the announcement
that kings would descend from him occurred there. It
would not be surprising if he was also given to know the
future relation that his stone might have to those
The Stone of Destiny has two rings which have clearly
been used for transporting the stone by sliding a pole
through both rings. There is a groove worn between the
two rings which testifies of having been gradually
eroded by such transport for an extended period. The
stone would have been taken not only to Egypt with
Israel, but then also with them at the Exodus and the
forty years in the wilderness. Presumably it stayed in
Jerusalem from the time of David until the fall of that
city in 587 B.C.
3.2 The Stone of Israel Symbolized Christ
Jesus Christ, the Rock of
There is evidence in the Bible the it might well have
been this stone which was specifically indicated to have
been the "stone of Israel" which symbolized Jesus
Christ. During the blessing of Jacob to Joseph, he
inserted parenthetically, "from thence is the shepherd,
the stone of Israel" (Gen. 49:24, compare D&C 50:44).
Although I couldn't find any place where the Bible
states explicitly that the stone of Jacob accompanied
the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt,
Paul seems to imply it. He compares physical things such
as the manna, water, and a rock which "followed" them to
their spiritual counterparts which all symbolize Jesus
MOREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be
ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the
cloud, and all passed through the sea;
And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they
drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and
that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
Thus, the Rock of Salvation (Psalms 95:1) which
shepherded the Israelites, apparently referred to the
physical Stone of Jacob. Of course, as Paul explained,
it was symbolic of Jesus Christ, who also identified
himself as the Good Shepherd of Israel (John 10:11).
If the identification with the Stone of Scone is
correct, then it is a very plain looking piece of
so ordinary that in preparing this article I noticed
that several web pages describing the Stone of Scone
were scoffing at how plain it is for the royalty to make
such a fuss about. Thus, it has "no form nor comeliness"
and "no beauty" that is should be desired, which is
exactly how the Savior is described (Isa. 53:2). That
led to it being "despised and rejected of men" (Isa.
3.3 Rejected by the Builders
It may not only have been the original builders who
discarded the stone. There is a also a tradition that
when it came time to build the temple of Solomon, that
the stone of Jacob, which was associated with the house
of God from the beginning, should be included. But the
builders rejected it because of the crack in it. There
seemed to be no way that it could be a cornerstone to a
Nor did it seem to the Jews who saw the Savior that
there was any way that he could be the Messiah, the
cornerstone of their religion. Thus, both were despised
and rejected. David prophesied that the stone would be
rejected (Psa. 118:22), and Jesus identified himself as
fulfilling that prophecy. He explained that the "stone
which the builders rejected, the same is become the head
of the corner" (Mat. 21:42, compare Acts 4:11).
the Jesus Christ is the Rock of Israel (2 Sam. 23:3), we
have long understood that scripture in the spiritual
sense. But now that we learn about the Stone of Jacob,
we see that the prophecy might well have been fulfilled
in the physical sense also.
Is the Stone of Scone indeed the Stone of Jacob,
which Jeremiah brought to Ireland, and on which British
royalty has been coronated for so many centuries? Is
there any way to verify these traditions, or will such
ancient claims remain forever impossible to verify?
4. Geological Evidence
In the age of modern scholarship, it has become
fashionable to demote all ancient history and tradition
to the realm of legend, myth and fantasy. In many cases,
that is like throwing out the baby with the bath water
because there is usually a core of truth handed down in
legend. In preparing this article, browsing the web for
the "Stone of Scone" led to more articles ridiculing the
traditions than those giving them any credence at all.
Modern writers have assumed the Stone of Scone must have
originated from a local quarry.
I am only aware of two scientific attempts to
determine the origin of the stone. The first was by
Professor Totten of Yale University. In response to
suggestions that it had come from a local quarry, he
issued the statement:, "The analysis of the stone shows
that there are absolutely no quarries in Scone or Iona
wherefrom a block so constituted could possibly have
come, nor yet from Tara."
The second study was done by Professor Odlum, who was
a geologist and professor of theology at Ontario
University. He made microscopic examinations of the
stone, comparing it to quarries in both Scotland and
Ireland, and found it dissimilar to stones from those
areas. He became intrigued with the idea of that it
might really be the stone of Jacob. That hypothesis
could be tested scientifically by searching to see if a
similar type of rock is found near Bethel, where Jacob
found his stone. After considerable searching he found
some strata rather high near a cliff that had exactly
the type of composition he was looking for. He chipped
off a piece and later performed microscopic tests. He
concluded that his sample "matched perfectly" with the
Desirous for even better proof he sought to get a
little piece the size of a pea from the coronation
stone, on which he could perform chemical tests. When he
petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury for such a
piece, the reply was that it would take an act of
Parliament signed by the King, and even then he wouldn't
To the best of my knowledge that was the end of a
really fine scientific experiment which could at least
partially validate the claim that the stone might have
come from Bethel. This is an excellent example of how
science can indeed be used to validate historical
traditions. They cannot provide proof, but can greatly
add to the credibility of a story. What is needed now is
a really thorough scientific study of the stone to
verify its authenticity.
Preliminary geological studies have indicated that the
Stone of Destiny, upon which British monarchs have been
crowned for centuries might indeed be the stone of Jacob
as tradition asserts, because it matches a formation
near Bethel, the Biblical location of the stone the
prophet Jacob found. Further scientific testing is now
required, such as a thorough chemical composition
comparison, and even that can only confirm the
possibility that the stone is authentic. In any case, on
this fiftieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen
Elizabeth II, we can pause to pay respect to what very
well might be the continuation of the unbroken line of
succession of kings reigning over the children of
Israel, from King David, over three thousand years ago.