Thank you for your comments.
Eretz Israel 16 is dated 1982. The article does seem to be the
Hebrew version of the English article in Tel Aviv 8 that you
mention. But I only have the Hebrew article so I can't be sure.
Have you published any of your articles on Izbet Sarta in journals?
As regarding your attempt at decipherment, I think the main
failing would be that one of the primary factors in suggesting that
the inscription has a message and should be deciphered is
that it is found in a very unlikely place for a scribal school,
and hence a scribal exercise. However, Dotan's attempt at
decipherment is also along the lines of a scribal exercise. I
guess that comes out of the inscription's abecedary. After all,
what else could an abecedary inscription be?
I also think that if you read various letters as rebus or
whatever, you need to provide sufficient reasoning for us to
accept that an author -- especially a student -- would use
that approach. I don't think you have that at the moment,
and I think it's hard to provide.
I agree there is probably a double taw in that position, but
there are positions where I see a double kaf and I don't
necessarily think it's a double letter, perhaps it is just
an attempt to rewrite the letter or reposition it better.
I think the second letter in line one is definitely a lamed,
not an ayin. This is clear to me from the photograph in
Ahituv's handbook, 2nd ed. But then, I also think that
enhanced photographs are not the key -- if one wants to
decipher it, one has to go see the real thing.
Haggai Misgav's lecture dealt mostly with a better
understanding of the development of the alphabet. He
suggested that many inscriptions that are dated "early"
including the El-Khadr arrowheads and the Izbet Sarta
ostracon, may rather be dated towards the later
periods of occupation. He pointed out that the Izbet
Sarta ostracon was found in a pit with Iron II material.
While I don't think he said it outright, it seems that the
definite gist was that Izbet Sarta may be 10th century,
the El-Khadr arrowsheads also, etc.
Anyway, thank you for your reply.