Three shekel ostracon

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The Three shekel ostracon is a pottery fragment bearing a forged text supposedly dating from between the 7th and 9th century BCE. [1] It is 8.6 centimeters high and 10.9 centimeters wide and contains five lines of ancient Hebrew writing. [2] The inscription mentions a king named Ashyahu (אשיהו ’Ašyahu) donating three shekels (about 20–50 grams of silver) to the House of Yahweh. No king named Ashyahu is mentioned in the Bible, but some scholars believe it may refer to Jehoash (יהואש Yəhō’āš), who ruled Judea 802–787 BCE. [3]

The ostracon was purchased by Shlomo Moussaieff from the Jerusalem antiquities dealer Oded Golan. Doubts about the authenticity of this and other artefacts sold by Golan began to be expressed in the late 1990s, and in 2003 Professor Christopher Rollston, a leading authority on Northwest Semitic inscriptions, said he is "confident beyond a reasonable doubt" that the "three shekel ostracon" is a forgery. [4] The same negative conclusion was reached on the basis of scientific examination of the patina. [5]


According to your order, Ashya-
hu the king, to give by the hand
of [Z]ekaryahu silver of Tar-
shish for the house of Yahweh
three shekels. [6] [2]

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  1. John Noble Wilford Published: November 11, 1997 (1997-11-11). "Temple Receipt for a 3-Shekel Donor - New York Times". Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  2. 1 2 "Byt Yhwh Ostracon". 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  3. Stieglitz, Robert. "Ashyahu: He's Josiah | The BAS Library". Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  4. The Moussaieff Ostraca, Bibliographic Notes
  5. Yuval Goren, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Avner Ayalon and Bettina Schilman (2005). "Authenticity Examination of Two Iron Age Ostraca from the Moussaieff Collection". Israel Exploration Journal . 55 (1): 21–34.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. Translation according to Shanks, Hershel: "Three Shekels for the Lord. Ancient Inscription Records Gift to Solomon's Temple." Biblical Archaeology Review 23.6 (Nov/Dec 1997) 28-32.