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

Unusually large Phoenician script, deeply incised before firing of the original vessel, forms the inscription on the potsherd at right. The inscription reads, “belonging to Baalpelet” (lbÔlplt). The name means “may Baal rescue,” referring to the pagan god Baal, so it may not belong to an Israelite. Excavated from a seventh-century B.C.E. building in 1968, the ostracon measures about 10 inches wide and 9 inches high.

Another ostracon with the letters l and t together, probably the end of the same name, turned up 20 years later in the northern part of the mound (see photograph). Whether this ostracon and sherd both refer to the same person, or whether it was simply a popular name remains unknown.