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