Inscription From Time of David and Solomon Found Near Dome of the Rock   Leave a comment

Jar Fragment

Archaeologists working near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem have unearthed the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the ancient city.

Engraved on a ceramic jar discovered at the Ophel excavation site, the inscription is in the Canaanite language and dates back to the 10th century BC – some 250 years prior to the earliest known Hebrew inscription in the Jerusalem.

According to lead archaeologist Eilat Mazar, the letters were engraved near the edge of the jar before it was fired, though only a fragment of the original jar has been found, along with shards of six large jars of the same type.

In the report on the find published in the Israel Exploration Journal, Mazar explains that the fragments were used to stabilize the earth under the second floor of the building they were discovered in, which dates to the 10th century BC.

An analysis of the jars’ clay composition indicates that they are all of similar make, and probably originate from the central hill country near Jerusalem.

According to Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University, the inscription, which contains letters approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) tall, is not complete and probably wound around the jar’s shoulder. The remaining portion appears to be the very end of the inscription and one letter from the beginning. Reading from left to right, the letters translate to mean m, q, p, h, n (possible) l and n – a combination of letters with no meaning in known west-Semitic languages.

While unable to interpret the engraving, the researchers suspect it once specified the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Furthermore, because it is not written in Hebrew, it was likely written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps the Jebusites, who were part of the city’s population in the time of Kings David and Solomo.

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Posted July 18, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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