Ben Gurion airport exhibition includes Qeiyafa ostracon

Air passengers in Israel will now walk by an exhibition that includes what may be the oldest existing Hebrew inscription, the Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon. A year-long exhibit on Science in Israel has opened at Ben Gurion airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv.

This new exhibit focuses on scientific and technological innovations originating from Israel.

The exhibition will feature cherry tomatoes, the flash drive, Teva Pharmaceuticals’s Copaxone drug for treating multiple sclerosis, the PillCam disposable capsule that films the gastrointestinal tract, a robot that helps with back pain, the Mobileye collision avoidance system for cars, and Intel chips that were developed in Israel, among other innovations.

The Qeiyafa ostracon is included to represent the developing ancient alphabet. This ink inscription was unearthed in 2008 and is around 3,000 years old. Though we cannot yet translate all of it, the excavators believe it relates to the early kingdom of Judah.


Image of the Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon in the entrance hall for International arrivals at Ben Gurion airport. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Yosef Garfinkel)


Image of the Qeiyafa ostracon on display at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. (Photo Courtesy of Dr. Yosef Garfinkel)

The Qeiyafa inscription is one of several recent discoveries indicating significant literacy in the 10th and 9th centuries BC. The scarcity of inscriptions a few years ago led some scholars to question whether early Israelite/Judahite peoples were able to keep records or preserve a literary history. The Qeiyafa ostracon and other new inscriptionary finds give evidence of reading and writing around the time of the early Israelite monarchy.


English translation of the Hebrew caption for the Qeiyafa ostracon.

Previous visitors to Israel will probably recognize the long, inclined walkway near Passport Control in the photo below.

Exhibit hall

The exhibition on Science from Israel displayed along the wall of the International Terminal walkway at Ben Gurion airport. (Courtesy of Dr. Yosef Garfinkel)

Read about the full exhibition here and here.

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in archaeologists, Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Israel, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Museums, Tech & Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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