Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription Photographed

The LA Times has a good article on the recent photographing of the 5-line early Hebrew ostracon found at Khirbet Qeiyafa.  One portion:

The result is hundreds of high-resolution images shot with different light filters. Using a process called spectral imaging, Boydston and Bill Christens-Barry, another imaging expert, aimed to maximize the contrast of the ink, made of charcoal and animal fat, against the terra-cotta piece.

Although they didn't find any hidden text, the images will be sent back to Israel. Other high-tech images were produced -- using slightly different imaging techniques -- at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and two other technical shops on the East Cost. [sic]

Once the shard's message is fully scrutinized and decoded, findings will be published in scholarly journals by Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University, who led the dig. A few words already deciphered -- "slave," "king," "land" and "judge" -- indicate that it may be a legal text, lending weight to some scholars' belief that King David wielded considerable power over the Israelites.

The article gives much background about the firm that took the photographs, including mention of an early digital camera that they created – that weighed 300 pounds (136 kg)! 

HT: Paleojudaica (who also notes some speculation about the contents of the ostracon)

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