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History is often shaped by the stories of kings and religious and military leaders, and much of what we know about the past derives from official sources like military records and governmental decrees. Now an international project is gaining invaluable insights into the history of ancient Israel through the collection and analysis of inscriptions — pieces of common writing that include anything from a single word to a love poem, epitaph, declaration, or question about faith, and everything in between that does not appear in a book or on a coin.

Such writing on the walls — or column, stone, tomb, floor, or mosaic — is essential to a scholar’s toolbox, explains Prof. Jonathan Price of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Classics. Along with his colleague Prof. Benjamin Isaac, Prof. Hannah Cotton of Hebrew University and Prof. Werner Eck of the University of Cologne, he is a contributing editor to a series of volumes that presents the written remains of the lives of common individuals in Israel, as well as adding important information about provincial administration and religious institutions, during the period between Alexander the Great and the rise of Islam (the fourth century B.C.E. to the seventh century C.E.).

These are the tweets of antiquity. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene or poem based on some ancient graffiti OR write a story, scene or poem where one of your character’s tweets is discovered in the future.

Journaling Prompt: What will your descendents discover when they read your journals?

Art Prompt: Tweets of Antiquity

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about your favorite historical period and show how the “tweets of antiquity” has revealed information about it to us.

Photo Credit: Retlaw Snellac on Flickr

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