BAR 17:03, May/Jun 1991
Please Return the Siloam Inscription to Jerusalem
The Siloam Inscription is the most famous, most significant and most precious ancient Hebrew inscription ever discovered. Carved in elegant paleo-Hebrew letters, the kind used by the Israelites before the Babylonian Exile, it was found in 1880 carved in the rock wall of Hezekiahs Tunnel, beneath the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem known as the City of David. Soon thereafter vandals chiseled the carefully prepared surface out of the rock, breaking the inscription into several pieces. The pieces were then sold to an antiquities dealer, from whom the Ottoman authorities recovered them, ultimately taking them to Istanbul. The inscription is now in a display case in a part of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum not generally open to the public, so it is rarely seen today.