Three shekel ostracon

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The Three shekel ostracon is a pottery fragment bearing a forged text supposedly dating from between the 7th and 9th century BCE.[1] It is 8.6 centimeters high and 10.9 centimeters wide and contains five lines of ancient Hebrew writing.[2] The inscription mentions a king named Ashyahu donating three shekels to the House of Yahweh. No king named Ashyahu is mentioned in the Bible, but some scholars believe it may refer to Jehoash, who ruled Judea 802–787 BCE.[3]

The ostracon was purchased by Shlomo Moussaieff from the Jerusalem antiquities dealer Oded Golan. Doubts about the authenticity of this and other artefacts sold by Golan began to be expressed in the late 1990s, and in 2003 Professor Christ Rollston, a leading authority on Northwest Semitic inscriptions, said he is "confident beyond a reasonable doubt" that the "three shekel ostracon" is a forgery.[4] The same negative conclusion was reached on the basis of scientific examination of the patina.[5]


According to your order,

Ashya- hu the king, to give by the hand of

[Z]ekaryahu silver of Tar- shish

for the house of Yahweh

3 shekels[6]


  1. ^ JOHN NOBLE WILFORDPublished: November 11, 1997 (1997-11-11). "Temple Receipt for a 3-Shekel Donor - New York Times". Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  2. ^ "Byt Yhwh Ostracon". 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  3. ^ Stieglitz, Robert. "Ashyahu: He’s Josiah | The BAS Library". Retrieved 2012-10-01.  C1 control character in |title= at position 12 (help)
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Yuval Goren, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Avner Ayalon and Bettina Schilman (2005). "Authenticity Examination of Two Iron Age Ostraca from the Moussaieff Collection". Israel Exploration Journal. 55 (1): 21–34. 
  6. ^ Translation according to Shanks Shanks, Hershel. "Three Shekels for the Lord. Ancient Inscription Records Gift to Solomon's Temple." Biblical Archaeology Review 23.6 (Nov/Dec 1997) 28-32.