Archaeologist Unearths Earliest Jerusalem Text

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar says her team unearthed a very important relic, dating to the 10th century.

Archaeologists found an inscription in the Canaanite language engraved on the edge of the jar before it was fired. The team uncovered a total of six of the neck-less ceramic jars, called pithos.

The find predates an earlier discovery from the time of King Hezekiah during the eighth century, making it the earliest alphabetical text by 250 years uncovered to date in Jerusalem.

Mazar and professor Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Hebrew University's Dr. David Ben-Shlomo co-authored a paper on the find published by the Israel Exploration Journal.

Because the inscription is not written in Hebrew, it was probably not written by an Israelite resident of Jerusalem. According to researchers, the letters may have been etched in the pre-fired clay by a Jebusite, whose people dwelled in Jerusalem during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon.

Dr. Mazar directs the excavations at the City of David and at the southern wall of the Temple Mount. Her father and grandfather were both archaeologists.

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