Tiny fragment bears oldest script found in Jerusalem

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A tiny clay fragment dating from the 14th century BC, which was discovered outside Jerusalem's Old City walls, contains the oldest written document found in the city, researchers say.

The 3,350-year-old clay fragment was uncovered during sifting of fill excavated from beneath a 10th century BC tower, dating from the period of King Solomon in an area near the southern wall of the Old City, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said today in an emailed statement. Details of the find appear in the current Israel Exploration Journal.

The find, believed to be part of a tablet from a royal archive, further testifies to the importance of Jerusalem as a major city in the Late Bronze Age, long before its conquest by King David, the statement said.

The fragment, which is two centimetres (less than one inch) by 2.8 centimetres in size and one centimetre thick, contains cuneiform, or wedge-shaped, symbols in ancient Akkadian. The fragment was likely part of a royal missive, according to Wayne Horowitz, a scholar of Assyriology at the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology....

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