My own inspection was less athletic. Do you by chance have any photographs
of the side, top or back views? (Following up on Yitzhak Sapir's interesting
posting, I am also making similar photographic inquiries with the chaps at
For the record, I am not convinced about the forgery or authenticity
arguments. My contribution has been to raise questions rather than provide answers,
which IMO can only be provided by a hands-on inspection.
By the way, you might reconsider the anomalous, blunted daleth in HDD
approaching the left margin of fragment B. I have described it as stopping short
of the break in the rock. In our previous ANE discussion you wrote (as
conveniently found in the links Yitzhak kindly provided):
Regarding the second daleth of HDD (Line B4), yes it does have a blunted =
nose. However, the strokes have evidently been carved from bottom to top =
and left to right. This means that the 'nose' of the daleth was the =
originating point from which these two strokes of the nose were carved. =
It is true that as a rule the daleths of the inscription have the triangle
strokes going from left to right, starting very shallow and narrow at the left
and deep and wide at the right. But if you take a second look at the daleth
in question, it appears inscribed in the opposite direction, with the
deepest, terminal crater on the left. I don't believe this is an optical illusion,
although I would like to make direct measurements with calipers. If so,
this indicates that the daleth is doubly anomalous, both inscribed in the
contrary direction and stopping short of the rock break, possibly indicative of a
forger's caution approaching the inscription's edge, as in my SJOT article.
Firstly, thanks for the kind comments.
Now just to clarify: No, I never got to handle the Tel Dan Inscription
fragments myself. I was, however, given permission by the museum to
climb all over it in its glass casing. My escapades kept catching the
attention of security guards, and I had to keep showing them my
authorisation. But what that means is that I got to see the
inscription from as many angles as possible (front, sides, top, below,
and fairly good view of back also). The museum has done a sterling job
in presenting them (albeit in what I now believe to be the incorrect
configuration)configuration)<WBR>, such that I could still get a decent
and the supposed joins - so much so that I became convinced that there
is no 'join' between Fragment A and Fragments B1+B2.
Also, yes, I am all for further testing to the fragments - why
wouldn't I be. I'd like to know as much as possible about the
inscription, and any further testing which might shed further lights -
even light which falsifies my own theory - is to be welcomed. So long
as we don't damage the thing, yes, let's use the opportunities
afforded us to further our knowledge.
Incidentally, Russell, I'm still not convinced about the forgery
argument. I believe the case for authenticity is far too strong (as we
currently have it).
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