The Tel Zayit Abecedary
On the final day of the 2005 season,
The Zeitah Excavations made a dramatic discovery:
an inscription that bears the oldest
known securely datable example of the linear
alphabet — the alphabet in its mature
form. All successive alphabets in the
ancient world (including non-Semitic
ones, such as Greek, and the letters you
are reading right now) derived from the
alphabet seen in the Tel Zayit Inscription.
The editio princeps for this inscription appeared in:
R. E. Tappy, P. K. McCarter, M. Lundberg, and B. Zuckerman, "An Abecedary of the Mid-Tenth Century from the Judaean Shephelah," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 344 (2006), 5–46.
For additional studies relating to the abecedary and 57 high resolution photographs available on DVD, see:
R. E. Tappy and P. K. McCarter, eds. Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan: The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008.
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The Zeitah Excavations