Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ten-Line Inscription on Mount Zion

A “clear but cryptic” ten-line inscription from the 1st century A.D. found in excavations of Mount Zion is reported in an article in the the Jerusalem Post.  This discovery was mentioned previously on this blog here and by excavation director James Tabor on his blog here

A unique ten-line Aramaic inscription on the side of a stone cup commonly used for ritual purity during Second Temple times was recently uncovered during archaeological excavations on Jerusalem's Mount Zion, The Jerusalem Post learned on Wednesday.

Inscriptions of this kind are extremely rare and only a handful have been found in scientific excavations made within the city....

The new Aramaic inscription from the first century CE is currently being deciphered by a team of epigraphic experts in an effort to determine the meaning of the text, which is clear but cryptic. The dig also produced a sequence of building remains dating back to the First and Second Temple periods through to Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.

From the Second Temple period, archaeologists uncovered a house complex with an mikve (purification pool) with a remarkably well preserved vaulted ceiling. Inside this house were three bread ovens dating back to the year 70 CE when Titus and the Roman troops stormed the city.

The Jerusalem Post article includes a photo of two lines of the inscription.  I do not recall seeing an image of the inscription in previous reports.

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3 Comments:

  • Thanks for this fascinating snippet about the Aramaic inscription on the cup. Are any photos of it available? This adds more weight to the view of how commonly Aramaic was spoken in Jerusalem in the first century AD.

    By Anonymous Aramaic Scholar, at Thu Jul 30, 03:06:00 PM  

  • The best photo I am aware of is here:
    http://digmountzion.com/information/gallery/2009-Excavations.html

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Thu Jul 30, 05:26:00 PM  

  • The direct URL for the picture is http://digmountzion.com/information/assets/galleries/47/mt_zion_inscription_pfann.jpg
    In the Arutz Sheva article, Dr. Shimon Gibson and Dr. James Tabor, co-directors of the excavations, note that there are questions as to whether the inscription is in Aramaic. See
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132655

    By Anonymous Joseph I. Lauer, at Thu Jul 30, 05:43:00 PM  

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