Archaeologists Find Ancient Hammurabi-Like Law Code in Israel Clay Tablet

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Archaeologists have uncovered for the first time in Israel fragments of a law code that resemble portions of the famous Code of Hammurabi.

The code was found on two fragments of a clay tablet, and is between 3,700 and 3,800 years old, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said today in an e-mailed statement.

The discovery opens an interesting avenue for investigation of a connection between Biblical law and the Code of Hammurabi, according to Wayne Horowitz of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, who is preparing the law code fragments for publication. The style of the text is similar to that of the Hammurabi Code, he said.

The tablet, written in Akkadian cuneiform script, was discovered in Hazor, in the north of Israel. Words that have been deciphered include “master,” “slave” and a word referring to bodily parts, apparently the word for “tooth.”

The two fragments are the 18th and 19th cuneiform finds from the Hazor excavations, which now form the largest body of documents of cuneiform texts found in Israel. Previous documents found dealt with subjects including the dispatch of people or goods, a legal dispute, and a text of multiplication tables....

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