A Groundbreaking Ancient Hebrew Inscription May in Fact Be a Simple Lump of Lead https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/history-ideas/2023/12/a-groundbreaking-ancient-hebrew-inscription-may-in-fact-be-a-simple-lump-of-lead/

December 6, 2023 | Nathan Steinmeyer
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Here at Mosaic, we often cover recent archaeological discoveries in Israel, which can be quite astonishing. But I’ve also learned to be a little weary of breathlessly described artifacts that sound a bit too good to be true. That was my instinct a year ago with the discovery of an ancient miniature tablet thought to be inscribed with Hebrew curses evoking the biblical name of God. A new study throws some cold water on the find’s significance, writes Nathan Steinmeyer:

The “tablet” is a piece of folded lead, measuring less than one inch square. Found during sifting of previously excavated soil taken from the West Bank site of Mount Ebal near Nablus, the tiny piece of lead was said to include a 48-letter inscription. . . . According to Amihai Mazar, professor emeritus of archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the lead tablet is likely nothing more than a common fishing-net weight. Such objects were widely used in the ancient Mediterranean and were frequently made from lead during the Late Bronze Age II (ca. 1400–1200 BCE), the period to which the Mount Ebal tablet supposedly dates.

Although it remains uncertain how a fishing implement would have ended up in the rugged central hill country of the southern Levant, many such weights have been uncovered in funerary contexts, suggesting they could have a ritual and symbolic as well as practical function.

Read more on Bible History Daily: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/mt_ebal_curse_tablet_debunked/