Wednesday, May 17, 2023

More inscriptions in ‘Atiqot

EPIGRAPHIC NEWS: This post is a follow-up to the immediately preceding one, Rock receipt recovered on the Pilgrimage Road. It was about an inscription published in the current issue of ‘Atiqot, the open-access, peer-review journal published by the Israel Antiquities Authority. I noted that the issue had more articles on newly recovered or reevaluated inscriptions. Some of them seem as interesting as the rock receipt and I hope they receive more attention. Meanwhile, it seems worth noting the one of interest to PaleoJudaica here. You can download free pdf files of all of them at the current-issue link: ‘Atiqot 110 (2023).
A New Assemblage of ‘Private’ Stamped Jar Handles from the Mordot Arnona Excavations, Jerusalem (pp. 1–22)

Neria Sapir, Nathan Ben-Ari, Ido Koch and Oded Lipschits

Keywords: Jerusalem, Judah, Iron Age II, administration, lmlk stamped impressions, ‘private’ stamp impressions, Sennacherib’s campaign

The site of Mordot Arnona is located c. 750 m northeast of Ramat Raḥel, on the eastern outskirts of the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. Recent salvage excavations at the site showed that in the late eighth and the first half of the seventh century BCE, Mordot Arnona held great significance in the physical and political landscape of the area south of Jerusalem, serving as an administrative center, as evidenced by its monumental structures and the dozens of stamped jar handles. In this paper we present for the first time a rare corpus of 17 jar handles bearing ‘private’ stamp impressions, one of the largest exposed in excavations in the region of Judah, alongside 124 lmlk stamped jar handles and 33 handles incised with concentric circles. Furthermore, we discuss their role, function and significance in Judah’s administration system on the eve of Sennacherib’s campaign.

For more on LMLK jar handles and seal impressions, see here and links.
From Nasas to Semakhyahu: Two New Engraved Inscriptions from Iron Age Moẓa (pp. 23–31)

Marion Sindel and Haggai Misgav

Keywords: Kingdom of Judah, cult, potters, economy, epigraphy, Hebrew script

Two inscriptions recently found on jar fragments at Tel Moẓa help clarify the reading of two previously uncovered inscriptions at the site. The four ancient Hebrew inscriptions, all inscribed on jars before firing, render a unique formula, where both the sender and recipient are mentioned, representing a new, heretofore unattested category of ownership inscriptions. Drawing both on the stratigraphic and epigraphic evidence, all four inscriptions can be placed in the seventh century BCE, a time when Tel Moẓa appears to have been an important economic and administrative center, as well as a cultic one.

For more on the archaeology of the site of Tel Moza (Tel Motza, Tel Moẓa, Tel Moẓah), start here and follow the links.
Evidence of an Edomite Hebrew Scribal Cooperation from Tel Malḥata: One Ostracon–Two Scripts–Three Scribes? (pp. 33–43)

Stefan Jakob Wimmer

Keywords: Iron Age, Edomite, Hebrew, scribal dialect, epigraphy, Northwest Semitic alphabet, ostraca, numerical systems

Among the epigraphic finds that Itzhaq Beit-Arieh published from Tel Malḥata, Inscription No. 4, the focus of this paper, is unique among the Iron Age ostraca, as it is written in both the Edomite and Hebrew languages. The context of the inscription is clear: a registration of amounts of one or more unknown commodities, with certain amounts described as ‘diminished.’ This paper offers a reassessment of Beit-Arie’s interpretation of the inscription, suggesting that it testifies to interaction and cooperation among several scribes adhering to different scribal dialects. It further discusses the broader implications of the inscription for the research of early Edomite writing.

An Aramaic-Inscribed Cultic Object from Tulûl Mas‘ud, Elyakhin (pp. 45–64)

Rafael Y. Lewis, Nir Finkelstein, Rona S. Avissar Lewis, Esther Eshel, Yuval Baruch, Yonah Maor, Tsadok Tsach and Oren Tal

Keywords: Persian, Hellenistic, cult, epigraphy, Phoenician, ethnicity, copper alloy, metal workshop

A copper-alloy object bearing an incised Aramaic inscription in lapidary script was found on the surface, about halfway up the hill of Tulûl Mas‘ud, in the Sharon plain. The object was recently studied by a multidisciplinary research group of specialists in archaeology, epigraphy, forensic science and analytical archaeology to better understand the artifact in its original cultural and spatial setting. The results attest that the object was probably connected with a nearby Persian-period sanctuary.

Sidonians at Marisa (Maresha) (pp. 65–81)

Dalit Regev

Keywords: Shephelah, Phoenician, Sidonians, ethnicity

One of the most important epigraphical finds of ancient Idumea, which has led scholars to believe that a Sidonian/Phoenician community was present in Marisa during the Hellenistic period (fourth–second centuries BCE), is the well-known inscription uncovered at the site in 1905, reading “Apollophanes son of Sesmaios, Chief of the Sidonians at Marisa.” This inscription was discovered in a large, lavishly painted tomb in the city’s necropolis, allegedly supporting a presence of a Sidonian/Phoenician community in Marisa. Following a comprehensive examination of the material culture from Marisa vis-à-vis that of other Phoenician sites, this commonly-held assumption is put to question. Phoenician pottery, very common in Phoenician cities of the Hellenistic period, such as ‘Akko and Ashqelon, is absent from Marisa, and the Greek onomasticon of Hellenistic Marisa also lacks Phoenician names and includes mainly Idumean and Greek names common in the East. Also, the numismatic evidence from Marisa does not seem to support a Sidonian presence. In this paper I argue that the term ‘Sidonians’ in the Hellenistic context at Marisa implies an instrumental context rather than an ethnic one.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on Maresha and the more recent epigraphic discoveries there, see here and links. Cross-file under Phoenician Watch.
A Nabataean Inscription near ‘Avedat (pp. 121–127)

Ohad Abudraham and Alexander Wiegmann

Keywords: Nabataean, epigraphy, blessing, graffiti, ‘Avedat, personal names, onomasticon

The corpus of surviving Nabataean inscriptions consists of thousands of graffiti written on rock faces and bedrock from Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Egypt, while a few such inscriptions are known from the Negev. The Nabataean inscription presented here was incised in the dark-brown patina of a limestone bedrock outcrop near ‘Avedat, a region dotted with many petroglyphs and inscriptions. The inscription is written in a typical Nabataean signature-type formula, comprising the name of the author preceded by a blessing and ending with the general greeting of well-being. The isolated location of the inscription should probably be connected with the historic Nabataean trade route between Petra and Gaza.

Cross-file under Nabatean (Nabataean) Watch. For some PaleoJudaica posts involving the Nabatean site of ‘Avedat (Avdat, Ovdat), see here and links, here, and here.
A Boundary Stone from Kafr Nafaḥ and the Preservation of Ancient Place Names in the Northern and Central Golan Heights (pp. 149–158)

Danny Syon and Chaim Ben David

Keywords: Golan, boundary stone, Greek, epigraphy, toponomy, private nouns, Via Maris, Kafr Nafaḥ, Roman period, Byzantine period

A Roman imperial boundary stone, erected under Diocletian in c. 300 CE, was reused as a covering stone of a fourth-century CE grave. It bears the Greek names of the villages Ramathana and Kapharnapha, identified as the late Ottoman villages Ramtaniyye and Kafr Nafaḥ. This is the first instance where ancient names were preserved by the modern ones in the central Golan Heights, overturning previous assumptions in this regard. Archaeological evidence from both sites confirms their existence in the Roman and Byzantine periods. It seems that the preservation of the name of Kafr Nafaḥ is due to its location along an important road. Although the original location of the stone remains unknown, its findspot suggests that the boundary between the two villages was near Kafr Nafaḥ.

I noted the discovery of this boundary stone in 2020 here.
Two Greek Inscriptions on Mosaics from the Theater at Shuni (pp. 159–172)

Leah Di Segni

Keywords: Greek epigraphy, epigram, literary puns, metrics, titulature of governors, First Palestine

Two Greek inscriptions, set in a mosaic pavement in the pool adjoining the eastern side of the theater of Shuni, celebrate the foundation of this structure by the otherwise unknown governor of First Palestine Flavius Marcianus Antipater, whose term of office can be dated by his titulature to the second half of the fifth or the early sixth century CE. One of the inscriptions, though fragmentary, can be recognized as an epigram. Both inscriptions exhibit a high level of sophistication, fitting the site where they were found, the location of a renowned Maiumas festival known for its cultural refinement.

I have already noted the article "Not a 'Signet Ring' of Pontius Pilatus," by Werner Eck and Avner Ecker, here.

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