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Tel Siran inscription

Tel Siran inscription
Heightlength: 10 cm
Createdc. 625 BC
Discoveredbefore 1973
Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan
Present locationAmman, Amman Governorate, Jordan

The Tel Siran inscription is an inscription on a bronze bottle (or "situla") found at Tel Siran on the campus of the University of Jordan in Amman). It was first published on 27 April 1972. It is considered the first complete inscription in the "Ammonite language". The bronze bottle is now in the Jordan Archaeological Museum. It is known as KAI 308.


The well preserved bronze bottle is about ten centimeters long and weighs about 280 grams. The clearly legible inscription is on the outside. The archaeological context suggests that the bottle was in use until the Mamluk period. The bottle is considered to have been made in the Iron Age II period, which would suggest use for 2,000 years.

The contents of the bottle were seeds of barley, wheat and grass, as well as unidentifiable metal remains. A C14 analysis found the content to be about 460 BC.[1]

The inscription

The inscription consists of eight lines of legible text. They are attached in the direction from the opening of the bottle to its bottom. Line four protrudes into this floor, while line 5 only contains a single word. It has been translated as:

Inscription of Tel Siran[2][3]
Inscription Original (Phoenician alphabet) Transliteration English translation
Line 1 𐤌𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤏𐤌𐤍𐤃𐤁 𐤌𐤋𐤊 𐤁𐤍 𐤏𐤌𐤍 mʿbd ʿmndb mlk bn ʿmn The achievement of Amminadab, king of the Ammonites,
Line 2 𐤁𐤍 𐤄𐤑𐤋𐤀𐤋 𐤌𐤋𐤊 𐤁𐤍 𐤏𐤌𐤍 bn hṣlʾl mlk bn ʿmn the son of Hiṣṣalʾel, king of the Ammonites,
Line 3 𐤁𐤍 𐤏𐤌𐤍𐤃𐤁 𐤌𐤋𐤊 𐤁𐤍 𐤏𐤌𐤍 bn ʿmndb mlk bn ʿmn the son of Amminadab, king of the Ammonites;
Line 4 𐤄𐤊𐤓𐤌 𐤅𐤄 𐤂𐤍𐤕 𐤅𐤄𐤀𐤕𐤇𐤓‎ hkrm wh gnt whʾtḥr the vineyard and the gardens and the pools
Line 5 𐤅𐤀𐤔𐤇𐤕‎ wʾšḥt and the cisterns
Line 6 𐤉𐤂𐤋 𐤅𐤉𐤔𐤌𐤇 ygl wyšmḥ May he rejoice and be happy
Line 7 𐤁𐤉𐤅𐤌𐤕 𐤓𐤁𐤌 𐤅𐤁𐤔𐤍𐤕‎ bywmt rbm wbšnt for many days and for years
Line 8 𐤓𐤇𐤒𐤕 rḥqt to come

F. Zayadine and H. O. Thompson, the first editors, referred to the script as Aramaic script and dated the inscription paleographically to the first half of the 7th century BC.[2] F. M. Cross, on the other hand, sees the inscription as the latest stage of development of the "Ammonite language" and dates it to around 600 BC for paleographic reasons.[4][5]


  1. ^ Joseph Azize: `` The Ammonite Bottle and Phoenician Flasks. In: `` Ancient Near Eastern Studies 40 (2003), p. 62 –79, here p. 63 f.
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Henry O.; Zayadine, Fawzi (December 1973). "The Tell Siran Inscription". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (212): 5–11. doi:10.2307/1356304. JSTOR 1356304. S2CID 163378372.
  3. ^ Ahlström, G.W. (1984). "The Tell Sīrān Bottle Inscription". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 116 (1): 12–15. doi:10.1179/peq.1984.116.1.12.
  4. ^ Frank Moore Cross: Notes on the Ammonite Inscription from Tell Sīrān. In: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 212 (1973), pp. 12–15, here p. 13-14.
  5. ^ COMMENTARY ON THE TELL SIRAN INSCRIPTION, HENRY O. THOMPSON: "The initial study suggested that the text was in the Phoenician script which relates directly to Dr. Frank Cross' judgment that the script and language are pure Canaanite. A detailed survey of published inscriptions shows that the Siran script is closest to Aramaic of c. 700 B.C. However, Cross (who is undoubtedly the world's leading expert in ancient Near East epigraphy), claims that Ammonite had an independent development from the parent Aramaic from c. 750 on. Diagnostic forms fell 100 years behind so that the Siran inscription dates c. 600 B.C. shortly before this Ammonite script was destroyed by the Babylonians and replaced by Aramaic. What is not clear in his discussion is when does a branch of Aramaic become pure Canaanite and how does a conquering army destroy a script?"
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Tel Siran inscription
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