I found this article posted at www.talk-history.com
, a very nice history forum I visit. I wanted to share this since we've recently had some discussions on the early development of written language and literacy in ancient times.
Scientists unearth earliest known Hebrew ABCs
By John Noble Wilford The New York Times
In the 10th century B.C., in the hill country south of Jerusalem, a scribe carved his ABCs on a limestone boulder - actually, his aleph-beth-gimels, for the string of letters appears to be an early rendering of the emergent Hebrew alphabet.
Archaeologists digging in July at the site, Tel Zayit, found the inscribed stone in the wall of an ancient building. After an analysis of associated pottery and the position of the wall in the layers of ruins, the discoverers concluded that this was the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet and an important benchmark in the history of writing, they said this week.
If the discoverers are right, the stone bears the oldest reliably dated example of an abecedary - the letters of the alphabet written out from beginning to end in their traditional sequence. Several scholars who have examined the inscription tend to support this view.