A Proto-Sinaitic Inscription in Timna/Israel: New Evidence on the Emergence of the Alphabet

Abstract

A rock inscription, discovered in summer 2009 in Timna (Wadi el-Man‘iye), Israel, is presented and interpreted herein. The context of Egyptian copper mining activities in the New Kingdom at Timna, involving workforce recruited from the local Semitic population, accommodates placing the graffito in the tradition of the so-called Proto-Sinaitic (PS) inscriptions. The engraving can be read as a West Semitic personal name and an introductory title or qualification. It supplies meaningful variant traits not attested hitherto in PS texts, and contributes to the controversial dating of the earliest attestations of alphabetic writing. Doubts as to the authenticity and/or antiquity of the engraving are also addressed.

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Wimmer, S. J., (2010) “A Proto-Sinaitic Inscription in Timna/Israel: New Evidence on the Emergence of the Alphabet”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2(2), p.1-12. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v02i2_wimmer

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Stefan Jakob Wimmer (University of Munich)

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