Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Rock receipt recovered on the Pilgrimage Road

LAPIDARY NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY: 2,000-Year-Old Financial Record Unearthed on Jerusalem’s Pilgrimage Road. The discovery sheds light on the commercial activities of the time and offers a rare glimpse into the daily lives of the city’s inhabitants (Pesach Benson, Israel Today).
The inscription, found on a small stone tablet engraved with letters and numbers, is believed to be a receipt or payment instruction related to commercial transactions during the Second Temple period. It was discovered in an area known for its bustling commercial activity. The find was recently published in Atiqot, a peer-reviewed archaeological journal.
The object was found in debris in a salvage excavation, so it was not recovered in situ exactly. But I see no reason to doubt it is genuine. For one thing, a forger would have come up with something more exciting.

A receipt written on a rock seems straight out of the Flintstones. But there you have it.

As indicated, the underlying article is in the current issue of ‘Atiqot, an open-access journal published by the IAA. You can download the article as a pdf file.

‘Atiqot 110 (2023) EISSN 2948-040X
The Ancient Written Wor(l)d

A Second Temple Period Inscription on a Stone Ossuary Lid from the City of David, Jerusalem (pp. 83–88)

Esther Eshel and Nahshon Szanton

Keywords: Jerusalem, Second Temple period, Hebrew, Aramaic, epigraphy, Jewish, ossuary, payment

A stone fragment bearing a Hebrew or Aramaic inscription was discovered in the debris piled up along the Early Roman period Stepped Street in the Tyropoeon Valley, on the west slope of the City of David hill. The inscription preserves part of a list mentioning proper names and sums of money. Similar lists are known from the Second Temple period, commonly interpreted as payment received or rendered from individuals. This is the first inscription to be found inside the city. It is unclear whether the inscription was connected to the ossuary on which it was inscribed, perhaps by the ossuary craftsman?

The current issue of ‘Atiqot has some other article on new epigraphic finds and analyses. But I will save those for the next post.

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