An inscription with the name Ishba’al son of Beda on a 10th century BCE jar. (Tal Rogovsky). An ancient Canaanite inscription including a name shared with a biblical rival to King David was found by archaeologists on a pot unearthed at a site in the Elah Valley, west of Jerusalem, researchers said Tuesday. One of them described it as a “once in a lifetime” find.
he inscription on a large clay storage jar found at Khirbet Qeiyafa dates to the Iron Age, from around 1020 to 980 BCE, and bears the name of Ishba’al son of Beda, researchers wrote in an article published in the latest edition of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Before the jar was fired some 3,000 years ago, the name was inscribed in clear, large Canaanite letters in the clay, suggesting the hand of a skilled scribe, the scholars said.
The centimeter-high script retains some of the pictographic elements of its antecedents — the aleph has the horns of a bull, the bet looks house-like, and the ayin a staring eye — unlike later proto-Hebrew writings.