Tiny Fragment Holds Oldest Writing Ever Found in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM -- Archaeologists say a newly discovered clay fragment from the 14th century B.C. is the oldest example of writing ever found in antiquity-rich Jerusalem.

Dig director Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University says the 2-centimeter (0.8-inch) long fragment bears an ancient form of writing known as Akkadian wedge script.

The fragment includes a partial text including the words "you," "them," and "later."

It predates the next-oldest example of writing found in Jerusalem by 600 years, and dates roughly four centuries before the Bible says King David ruled a Jewish kingdom from the city.

Mazar said Monday that the fragment likely came from a royal court and suggested more could be found in the most ancient part of Jerusalem, located in the city's predominantly Palestinian eastern sector.

Researchers believe the tablet may be part of a "royal missive" sent from the Canaanite ruler of Jerusalem to the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (better known as Akhenaten), who lived in the 14th century BC, according to AFP.