Joseph Callaway

An early sign of Israelite literacy? This inscribed jar handle from Raddana, dating to the late 13th or early 12th century, bears (from top to bottom) the letters aleph (a), het (h) and lamed (l). Adding the letter dalet completes the name Ahilud, a name known from contemporaneous references in 2 Samuel 8:16 and 20:24. William Dever points out that the writing on this handle is in Canaanite alphabetic script—a strong indication that the early Israelites were culturally indistinct from the Canaanites.