Oldest Ever Inscription From King Solomon's Time Unearthed in Jerusalem
A pottery fragment has been uncovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which is inscribed with the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in the region. The text has been dated back to the 10 th century BC making it the oldest inscription found in the region by 250 years.
The finding, which has been published in the Israel Exploration Journal, was made by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr Eilat Mazar who immediately recognised the significance of the discovery. The text contains a combination of letters which wrap around the top of a ceramic jar and could specify the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Unfortunately, the full meaning of the inscription remains a mystery as the fragment is missing a large portion of the remaining text.
But what is of particular interest is that the inscription was made around the time of King David or King Solomon’s reign. Solomon ruled between 970 and 931 BC and was the final king before the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah split.
During that time, Hebrew was not the dominant language and so the inscription is made in an early form of Canaanite language, which may have been made by a Jebusite or other non-Israelite tribe member. The Jebusites were a Canannite tribe who inhabited and build Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David.
Further excavation at the archaeological site may reveal more artefacts which will allow researchers and historians to gain a deeper understanding of this period in history.