Testimonies to Ammonite Survival

Found in the fill of the reservoir at Hesban, these two ostraca—potsherds with writing on them—and several others testify to Ammonite survival in their homeland after the Babylonian conquest of Judah in 586 B.C.E. Both bear lists of Ammonite names in the Ammonite language, but one (left) is written in the Ammonite script of the mid-sixth century B.C.E., while the other (right) is written in Aramaic script of the late sixth century B.C.E. In contrast to the closely related paleo-Hebrew script. Ammonite script has an upright stance and simple form. Small changes over time in the letter forms and stance allow experts to date inscriptions with great precision, as in the case of these Ammonite ostraca deciphered by Frank M. Cross.