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Potsherd with Canaanite inscription unearthed at Tel Lachish

A potsherd slightly larger than a business card found in the ruins of a Late Bronze Age temple at the biblical site of Lachish in southern Israel has yielded a few tantalizing letters from a 12th century BCE alphabet — what one researcher called a “once in a generation” find.

Potsherd with Canaanite inscription unearthed at Tel Lachish
An early 12th century BCE Canaanite alphabet inscription found at Lachish in 2014 
[Credit: Yossi Garfinkel/Hebrew University]
The inscription, three lines containing nine early Semitic letters, was discovered during excavations at the site in 2014 and is believed to date from around 1130 BCE. It’s the first Canaanite inscription found in a Late Bronze Age context in over 30 years, the authors of the paper said. The letters were etched into a clay jar before firing, and are exceptionally clear.

The first line reads pkl, the second spr — the Semitic root for scribe — but the third has two letters of uncertain meaning (one is fragmentary). The text includes the earliest dateable examples of the letters kaf — the precursor to the Latin letter K — samekh — S — and resh — R. Samekh had never before been found in early Canaanite inscriptions.

Details of the intriguing nine-letter inscription were published in the November/December issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

 Read the article here: -

Author: Ilan Ben Zion | Source: The Times of Israel [December 17, 2015]

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