Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

#1236 – Jerusalem’s Oldest Writing

Cuneiform fragment

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar and Assyriologist Wayne Horowitz with the Cuneiform tablet fragment

This week’s program is the first in a number of months where we’re able to report on late-breaking archaeological news from Jerusalem. Just a few days ago Hebrew University announced the discovery of a fragment of a cuneiform tablet which was dated to the 14th century B.C.  The find was made through in the excavation directed by Eilat Mazar (above left) in an area near the southern steps of the Temple Mount where she believes she is uncovering a tower dating to the time of King Solomon, the 9th century B.C. Fill uncovered from the excavation was taken to the Emek Tzurim National Park where the Temple Mount Sifting Project is underway, and that’s how the fragment surfaced. What does it mean? Well the official version is in the news release, and that’s the basis for our conversation on this program. It is a significant discovery, that may help us understand the history of Jerusalem a little bit better. Among other views, we might point you to Christopher Rollston, who was on our program earlier this year.

Added Note regarding my own experience with cuneiform tablets: In 1978 when I was working on the excavation at Tel Aphek a cuneiform tablet was found in the ruins of the Egyptian governor’s palace that was under excavation. The tablet was dated to about 1240 B.C.


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