El-Kerak Inscription

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El-Kerak Inscription
Material Basalt
Writing Moabite language
Created c.840 BC
Discovered 1958
Present location Jordan Archaeological Museum
Identification 6807

The El-Kerak Inscription was discovered in 1958 in Jordan, near the El-Kerak wadi. It is a basalt inscription fragment measuring 12.5 centimeters (4.9 in) high by 14 centimeters (5.5 in) wide. The inscription has been dated to the late ninth century BC.

Discovery[edit]

The stone was acquired by the Jordan Archaeological Museum in 1958. It was reportedly found by Falah Qaddur (or Fallah el-Baddour), a bedouin from the Tafilah Governorate. According to Reed and Winnett, Qaddur stated that he had found the stone "in a foundation trench that had been cut for the construction of a new building in Al Karak." A letter from Awni Dajani, then the head of antiquities at the Jordan Archaeological Museum, stated that the stone was found by Odeh Subh el-Khwalideh (a relative of Qaddur) in the house of Suleiman el-Mubayyedin, near the Roman Pool east of Kerak.

Inscription[edit]

The inscription contains 3 incomplete lines, comprising 8 complete words and fragments of 5 more, all written in the "Moabite language" known from only one other artifact - the Mesha Stele. The text of the inscription is exactly the same as that of the Mesha Stele, but there is one special feature: the letter He has four horizontal strokes going to the left from the vertical stroke, while a typical He in tenth to fifth century BC northwest Semitic inscriptions contains only three strokes to the left. This letter is present in the inscription at least 3 times, and each time it appears with 4 horizontal strokes.

Transliteration and Translation[edit]

Provided below is transliteration and transcription of the inscription in Hebrew letters as well as its English translation.[1][2] Words in brackets are not preserved in the inscription, but reconstructed, partly by comparison with the Mesha Stele.

Line Inscription Transliteration English Translation
1 [אנכי משע בן כ]משית מלך מאב הד[יבני] [I am Mesha, son of K]emosh-yat, king of Moab the Dib[onite]...
2 [בבת]י כמש למבער כי אה[בתי] [... in the te]mple of Kemosh as a sacrifice, because I lo[ve...]
3 [...]נה והן עשתי את[...] ... and behold, I have made ...

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ El Kerak Inscription page
  2. ^ Drawing by Christopher A. Rollston and transcription