The ostrakon from Khirbet Qeiyafa was found in July 2008 and it was dated back to the beginning of the 10th century B.C.
The news hit the headlines since it was considered the first possible Hebrew inscription. Notwithstanding the diggings
still in progress on the archaeological site, its decipherment and translation are producing the first results coming
from more or less arbitrary reconstructions. The debate naturally involved not only the exact reading of the text but
also the identification of the language used by those who wrote on the fragment of pottery and the historical meaning
of this identification. After going back over the steps that led to the alleged decipherment of the ostrakon and explaining
the hypotheses of reconstruction, the seminar will try to give a critical account of the real interest aroused by this
The bibliography can be downloaded here. The pdf version of the slides can be downloaded here.