Courtesy Avraham Biran and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“Of the butchers” says the Aramaic inscription on the 4-inch-wide base of this pottery bowl. Incised after the bowl was fired, the ninth-century B.C.E. inscription suggests that the bowl belonged to the butchers or cooks of the royal household at Dan. The bowl was found by accident on the surface of the mound the year before excavation began. The drawing shows the inscription, with dashed lines indicating reconstructed portions.