BAR 35:02, Mar/Apr 2009
In Their Own Words
Ever wonder why so few cuneiform texts have been discovered at archaeological sites in Israel? Dr. Yoram Cohen, a lecturer of Assyriology at Tel Aviv University and a specialist in the textual and scribal traditions of the Bronze Age Near East, tackles this intriguing question in the following excerpt from his review of Cuneiform in Canaan: Cuneiform Sources from the Land of Israel in Ancient Times (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2006).
Why, despite the variety of texts spread over many sites [in Israel], do we end up with such a small number of cuneiform tablets—especially from the second millennium B.C.E.? Surely, the explanation that cuneiform writing was not as widespread in Canaan as in the north regions of Syria and Lebanon, while true, cannot be entirely satisfactory.