Search
Close this search box.

Gezer Calendar

archaeology in Israel

So the Gezer calendar is a small limestone tablet with an early Canaanite inscription discovered in 1908 by Irish archaeologist R. A. Stewart Macalister in the ancient city of Gezer, not so far from Jerusalem. It is commonly dated to the 10th century BCE. Although the excavation was unstratified and its identification during the excavations was not in a “secure archaeological context”, presenting uncertainty around the dating. In addition, scholars are divided as to whether the language is Phoenician or Hebrew and whether the script is Phoenician (or Proto-Canaanite) or paleo-Hebrew.



Some More About the Gezer Calendar

The calendar is inscribed on a limestone plaque and describes monthly or bi-monthly periods and attributes to each a duty such as harvest; planting, or tending specific crops.

The inscription, known as KAI 182, is in Phoenician or paleo-Hebrew script:
???????.?????
??.???????
?????????
??????????
?????????
???????
?????
???

The text has been translated as:

Two months gathering (October, November — in the Hebrew calendar Tishrei, Cheshvan)
Two months planting (December, January — Kislev, Tevet)
Two months late sowing (February, March — Shvat, Adar)
One month cutting flax (April — Nisan)
One month reaping barley (May — Iyar)
One month reaping and measuring grain (June — Sivan)
Two months pruning (July, August — Tammuz, Av)
One month summer fruit (September — Elul)
Abij [ah]

The Interpretation of the Text

Scholars have speculated that the calendar could be a schoolboy’s memory exercise, the text of a popular folk song or a children’s song. Another possibility is something designed for the collection of taxes from farmers. The scribe of the calendar is probably “Abijah”, which means “Yah (a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton) is my father”. This name appears in the Bible for several individuals, including the king of Judah (1 Kings 14:31).

arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Eshtaol Forest

RELATED POSTS

Shiloh Excavations In The City Of David

Yigal Shiloh Excavations In The City Of David left a huge impression on the ancient tel. This post is about his conclusions and results.

Abydos Ware

Abydos ware is a pottery group from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BCE. Vessels like these were found on sites in Canaan in the ...

Ramesses II Gate Jaffa

The Ramesses II Gate Jaffa is a must-see site when touring Old Jaffa. The intriguing-looking gate tells the story of an entire period!

Walls of Jericho

The tale of the falling walls of Jericho is one of the most iconic and debated stories in religious and historical narratives.

Castel National Park

Castel National Park in Israel is a beautiful and historic site located in the Judean Hills, near Jerusalem telling the story of the 1948 war

The Old Synagogue at Meron

The Old Synagogue at Meron is one of the oldest synagogues found in Israel. And is the earliest example of the so-called 'Galilean' synagogues

Merneptah Stele

The Israel Stele, also known as the Merneptah Stele, is a significant historical artifact discovered by Flinders Petrie, in 1896.

How Do Archaeologists Date Remains They Find?

In my private tours in Israel, I am asked how do archaeologists date remains they find?  When archaeologists dig in a biblical Tel how do ...

Egyptian Execration Texts

Execration texts are ancient Egyptian hieratic texts, the listing of enemies of the Pharaoh. Often enemies of the Egyptian state.

Antonia Fortress

The Antonia Fortress, was built by King Herod the Great in the 1st century BCE as part of his extensive construction projects in the city.

Need help?

Skip to content