web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Oldest Alphabetical Written Text Found near Temple Mount

The oldest known Hebrew writing from ancient Jerusalem dates back to the 8th century. Archaeologists now have found an older alphabetical text, not in Hebrew, from the time of Kings David or Solomon
Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar displays a jar fragment unearthed near the Temple Mount, bearing an inscription in the Canaanite language. Dated to the tenth century BCE.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar displays a jar fragment unearthed near the Temple Mount, bearing an inscription in the Canaanite language. Dated to the tenth century BCE.
Photo Credit: Photo: Ouria Tadmor, courtesy of Dr. Mazar

Hebrew University archaeologists have found the oldest known alphabetical inscription from Jerusalem, dating back to the period of Kings David or Solomon, 250 years before the previously oldest known written text.

The inscription was found near the Temple Mount but is not in Hebrew and was from the pre-Temple period, in the language of one of the peoples who occupied Israel at the time, according to the archaeologists.

Reading from left to right, the text contains a combination of letters approximately 2.5 cm tall, which translate to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n. Since this combination of letters has no meaning in known west-Semitic languages, the inscription’s meaning is unknown.

The archaeologists suspect the inscription specifies the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Because the inscription is not in Hebrew, it is likely to have been written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps Jebusites, who were part of the city population in the time of Kings David and Solomon.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar unearthed the artifact, in the Canaanite language and engraved on a large pithos, a neckless ceramic jar found with six others at the Ophel excavation site. He said it is the only one of its kind discovered in Jerusalem and is an important addition to the city’s history.

The previously oldest known script, in Hebrew, was from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the 8th century BCE.

The inscription was engraved near the edge of the jar before it was fired, and only a fragment of it has been found, along with fragments of six large jars of the same type. The fragments were used to stabilize the earth fill under the second floor of the building they were discovered in.

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

According to Prof. Ahituv, the inscription is not complete and probably wound around the jar’s shoulder, while the remaining portion is just the end of the inscription and one letter from the beginning.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “Oldest Alphabetical Written Text Found near Temple Mount”

  1. "Reading from left to right" would be reading backwards. Semitic languages, including Hebrew, read from right to left.

  2. Josh Korn says:

    Sure, but even reading from right to left yields a sequence that makes no sense in Hebrew. And the fourth letter from the left (with the cow horns) looks more like a Canaanite "aleph" to me.

  3. Wayne Kurtz says:

    If they don't know what it says how do they know it reads left to right?

  4. Michael Shea says:

    it might be maps.

  5. Very interesting and near the temple mount.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh would replace Abbas chairman of the Palestinian Authority if elections were held today.
Poll: Hamas Would Rule Judea and Samaria in New Elections
Latest News Stories
Former Congressman Eric Cantor is going to Wall Street.

Cantor can thank his defeat to a Tea Party candidate for leading him to more lucrative and stable career.

Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh would replace Abbas chairman of the Palestinian Authority if elections were held today.

Hamas won the war in political terms, but that won’t stop Kerry.

Cannabis Greenhouse

A farmer in the (legal) Tikkun Olan Cannabis farm near Tzfat. This is one of their greenhouses. The company is licensed by Israel’s Ministry of Health to grow, process and distribute the medicinal plant.

Israeli intelligence sparked a massive manhunt that foiled an Arab terror attack, caught two suspects and kept Israeli civilians safe.

The ‘Talansky affair’ corruption trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert re-opened today in Jerusalem.

Iran has successfully tested a new defensive radar and missile system, its air force chief announced Monday.

Diplomatic relations with Israel are likely to remain in deep freeze for the next few years, Turkish PM Davutoglu signals.

Events on the other side of Israel’s northern border are heating up. The IDF is on high alert in the Golan Heights.

Germany and other western countries have begun providing weapons to Kurds in fight against the IS.

Sept. 1 is a spectacularly important day in Israel.

BDS will be claim victory, but the truth is that a logistics would be a major factor if SodaStream leaves Maaleh Adumim.

The body of 1st Sgt. Shachar Shalev was laid to rest this afternoon in the cemetery in Hipsin.

Palestinian Authority terrorists wounded a three-year-old girl and a bus driver in two separate rock throwing and firebombing attacks on Monday. Both victims suffered light injuries and were treated on the spot, without need for hospitalization. The girl was riding a bus in northern Jerusalem when the attackers smashed a glass window on the bus. […]

“He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” – Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994.

Palestinian Authority manipulation of the media makes it impossible for peace between PA Arabs and Israelis.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Dell Smitherman at The Jewish Press.

Smitherman has witnessed firsthand both how damaging income inequality has been to the poor and how it negatively impacts families and communities.

“It was embarrassing to be asked, Why is Egypt right now a better ally than America? Why is Israel doing more than the U.S. to protect Israel?”

An Uzbek couple has reportedly confessed under interrogation to the murders of a Turkish Jewish couple in Istanbul.

At least three terrorists are dead and nine others wounded in an IAF air strike in Gaza City following a day of non-stop rocket fire aimed at Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/oldest-alphabetical-written-text-found-near-temple-mount/2013/07/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: