Monday, August 23, 2010


Archaeologists have uncovered for the first time in Israel fragments of a law code that resemble portions of the famous Code of Hammurabi.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced that the code was found on two fragments of a clay tablet, and is between 3,700 and 3,800 years old. The tablet, written in Akkadian cuneiform script, was discovered in Hazor, in the north of Israel.

The fragments "refer to issues of personal injury law relating to slaves and
masters, bringing to mind similar laws in the famous Babylonian Hammurabi
Code of the 18th century B.C. that were found in what is now Iran over 100
years ago," the statement said. "The laws also reflect, to a certain extent,
biblical laws of the type 'a tooth for a tooth'."

The discovery opens an interesting avenue for investigation of a connection between Biblical law and the Code of Hammurabi, according to Wayne Horowitz of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, who is preparing the law code fragments for publication.

The two fragments are the 18th and 19th cuneiform finds from the Hazor excavations, which now form the largest body of documents of cuneiform texts found in Israel. Previous documents found dealt with subjects including the dispatch of people or goods, a legal dispute, and a text of multiplication tables.

The Hazor excavations are under the direction of Amnon Ben-Tor and Sharon Zuckerman of the Hebrew University. Previous excavations were directed at the site by Yigael Yadin in the 1950s and 1960s.


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