Glossary of Biblical Archaeology Terms

Cartouche - An oval figure on an Egyptian monument containing the signature of a king.
Cuneiform - Babylonian wedge-shaped writing done by use of a stylus, and not alphabetic but rather syllabic in character.
Graffiti - Wall scribbling.
Hieroglyphics - The word means "sacred engraving," because the Egyptian priests used them on monuments, and the priests or those initiated were the only ones supposed to be able to read them. It is used now of any picture form of writing.
Lapis lazuli - Sapphire.
Ostraca - Fragment of pottery containing writing.
Pyramid - The tomb of certain Egyptian kings.
Scarab - A seal made in the form of a beetle and worn as a charm by the ancient Egyptians.
Squeeze - A copy of an inscription made by forcing plastic material into the depressions.
Stele - An inscribed monument made of stone in the form of an upright slab.
Tell - Mound of an ancient city. Most of the names of these mounds are in the Arabic language.
Terra cotta - Clay and sand material used for statues.
Ziggurat - Babylonian shrine for a god or goddess.

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