Biblical Archaeology Review 24:5, September/October 1998

Discovering a Goddess

A new look at the Ekron inscription identifies a mysterious deity

By Aaron Demsky

In 1996, in the final season of the 13-year excavation of Tel Miqne, excavators discovered a monumental inscription that is surely one of the most sensational finds of the 1990s. It is a royal dedicatory inscription that mentions Ekron, thus pinning down the ancient name of Tel Miqne and confirming what had long been suspected: The site was one of the five cities of the Philistine pentapolis mentioned in the Bible (the other four being Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza and Gath). But the inscription also has much to tell us about Philistine culture in the land of Canaan.

The inscription was promptly published by the excavators, Seymour Gitin of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and Trude Dothan of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in association with the noted paleographer Joseph Naveh, also of Hebrew University.1 The drawing of the inscription was made by Jerusalem paleographer Ada Yardeni.

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