Alphabetic script is ancient, with roots going back as far as the Bronze Age. Archaeologists have traced its beginnings to societies in the Levant, a term in archaeology describing a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia.
The earliest evidence of alphabetic writing comes from the Sinai and Egypt—dated to the nineteenth century BC. Then the trail goes cold only to be picked up again in the thirteenth-century BC corpus in Palestine.
A recent report in Antiquity describes a new discovery of Late Bronze Age alphabetic inscriptions from Tel Lachish, Israel. Dating to the fifteenth century BC, this inscription is currently the oldest securely dated alphabetic inscription from the Southern Levant: perhaps this is the ‘missing link’ in the history of writing.
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