The Gezer Calendar

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Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 04 June 2018

The Gezer calendar is regarded as the oldest Hebrew inscription as yet known. The inscription is scratched on a tablet of soft, chalky limestone and its lower part is broken and lost. The oblique fracture passes as square thought to have been made for a peg by which it was affixed to a wall. It has seven lines of horizontal writing and the eighth line was written vertically and only partly survives.

Père Vincent* interprets the signs as follows:
(1) Two months, late crops-Two months,
(2) Sowing-two months, spring crops-
(3) One month, cutting flax-
(4) One month, harvest of barely-
(5) One month, all the harvest-
(6) Two months, fruit vines-
(7) One month, summer fruits
(8) Abi

The eighth line "Abi" is interpreted as the name of the person who scribed the tablet. Some scholars believe that the inscription is not a calendar, but a record which gives a rotation of agricultural labors, written for some unknown administrative purpose. It is also thought that the tablet was a kind of a scrap material and some of the signs belonged to earlier writings, which the scribe himself corrected.

Limestone. Circa 925 BCE. From Gezer (Tell el-Jezer), in modern-day State of Israel. (Museum of Archaeology, Istanbul, Turkey).
*Pasinli, Alpay. Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Istanbul: A Turizm Yayınları, 2012.

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About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2018, June 04). The Gezer Calendar. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Gezer Calendar." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified June 04, 2018.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Gezer Calendar." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 04 Jun 2018. Web. 04 Feb 2023.