Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Is This A Text Message From God?

The links between the Bible and documented history are rare, so a faint inscription that may suggest an undiscovered history of Jerusalem is sure to inspire debate.
Is This A Text Message From God?
A 3000-year-old text discovered in December near the ancient city's Western Wall has been dated to the 10th century BC, which is about 250 years older than what was previously thought to be the oldest writing sample from Jerusalem, according to a Times of Israel translation of a Hebrew University study.
Reading from left to right, the letters translate roughly to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n.
Researchers don't know, however, what the writing might mean.
"We can assume that the inscription indicates the jug owner's name, or the address where the jug came from or the address where it was being sent," professor Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University, who helped examine the fragmented letters, reportedly said.
"The inscription may also indicate the contents of the jug. In addition, it may have been written by one of the non-Israelite residents of the city, who lived there during the reigns of David and Solomon."
Lead researcher and Hebrew University professor Dr Eilat Maza says she believes the inscription represents a Canaanite language, possibly used by the Jebusite people or a similar tribe living in Israel around the time of King David.
Is This A Text Message From God?
The text does reportedly share at least anecdotal similarities with another ancient pottery shard discovered several years ago near the area where the Biblical battle between David and Goliath is said to have occurred.
That piece of pottery was also dated to the 10th century BC, and its five lines of lettering also appeared to be a variation of Canaanite script.
Dr Maza, who directs excavation in the City of David and Temple Mount regions, has led several high-profile expeditions in the past, including a 2008 dig that uncovered evidence of the possible site of King David's palace.
The existence of important biblical figures King David or King Solomon at any time in Jerusalem's history, however, has never been proved and many historians consider them to be purely mythological.