Rare Stone Vessel Inscription Highlighted in Jerusalem Post Story
by James Tabor
I am most pleased to report that a major headlined story on our UNC Charlotte sponsored Mt Zion archaeological excavation has just appeared in the Jerusalem Post: “Jerusalem: “Rare 2nd Temple Inscription Found”
I have already offered a preliminary report on some of the initial results of our excavation this season in the previous entry of this Blog, but until now we had not gone public with these important finds–especially the rare inscription, yet to be fully deciphered. It appears, according to several experts, that the text is purposely cryptic, with the possibilities of letters written in both directions, upside down, and maybe even backwards. It is also not entirely clear that it is Aramaic and Stephen Pfann, of the University of the Holy Land, is leaving open the possibility that it is Hebrew. He has also suggested that the text might have had meaning within a closed circle of priests, similar to texts at Qumran. We are still hopeful we can “crack it,” but it is going to take some time. Various experts are now looking at it. Gibson and I made the decision early on not to hide it under a bushel but put it out to responsible parties who can then collectively apply their expertise.
The story in the Jerusalem Post mentions other important finds as well, including a housing complex with a well preserved mikveh (ritual bath) from the 2nd Temple period, as well as a room with two ovens–also dating to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
You can read more about our excavation, and keep up with the latest developments, at our main Web site, which is being continually updated: http://digmountzion.com
More to come…