Ancient inscription revealed through multispectral imaging

A Hebrew inscription on the back of a pottery shard went undetected at The Israel Museum for more than 50 years, until recently when the pottery piece was subjected to multispectral imaging.

Inscription revealed by multispectral imaging (by American Friends of Tel Aviv University)

The piece of pottery was collected in 1965 at the desert fortress of Arad, located on the border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, South Israel. The artefact dates back to ca. 600 BC, before the destruction of the kingdom of Judah’s by Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The previously known inscription on the front of the shard opens with a blessing by the God and discusses money transfers. The newly discovered one is located on the reverse side and adds three new lines of text, possibly being a continuation of the text on the front side. According to the researchers the new text begins with a request for wine, as well as a guarantee for assistance if the addressee has any requests of his own and concludes with a request for the provision of a certain commodity to an unnamed person, and a note regarding a “bath”, an ancient measurement of wine carried by a man named Ge’alyahu. Archaeologists state that the text concerns everyday life of the military outpost at Arad and deals with the logistics of the outpost.

(after American Friends of Tel Aviv University & PhysOrg)

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