Monday, July 16, 2007

Jerusalem Seeks Return of Ancient Tablet
Jerusalem's mayor has asked the Turkish government to return a 2,700-year-old tablet uncovered in an ancient subterranean passage in the city, sugggesting that it could be a "gesture of goodwill" between allies.

Known as the Siloam inscription, the tablet was found in a tunnel hewed to channel water from a spring outside Jerusalem's walls into the city around 700 B.C. _ a project mentioned in the Old Testament's Book of Chronicles. It was discovered in 1880 and taken by the Holy Land's Ottoman rulers to Istanbul, where it is now in the collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski made the request in a Thursday meeting with Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, Lupolianski spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Friday. Lupolianski suggested the tablet's return could be a "gesture of goodwill" from Turkey, Schmerling said Friday.

A reader emails: "They get one thing wrong. the tunnel and inscription were discovered by
Edward Robinson, a professor at Union theological Seminary in New York, in 1838
(not 1880) He also discovered Robinson's Arch at the Temple Mount."