Zev Radovan

From ordinary to extraordinary. For 80 years this seemingly undistinguished bowl lay neglected in Jerusalem’s Rockefeller Museum. Seen here almost full size, the bowl has a typically Judean form datable to the late eighth century B.C.E. Only an enigmatic inscription, incised just below the rim on the inside, at upper center in the photo, suggested that this bowl may be special. Scholars, however, had assumed that these three paleo-Hebrew letters (hk; see drawing) were an abbreviation for the name of the bowl’s owner and so paid no further attention to the mystery. Author Gabriel Barkay, not content with this interpretation, recently took up the challenge and discovered a more satisfying—and more intriguing—solution.