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Article

Economic administration in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (ca. 931–587 BCE): epigraphic sources and their interpretations

Several epigraphic corpora and some isolated inscriptions from Southern Levant may be
considered as documents reflecting accounting procedures. This paper is a survey of such
documents from the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the period between ca. 931 and ca. 587
BCE. The emerging picture is fragmentary and uneven, which is related to two main reasons:
apparently most of the documentation was kept on papyrus which usually does not survive in
this region; the kingdom of Israel ceased to exist after ca. 720 BCE, the period when writing
started to proliferate in Southern Levant. In the course of the research some of the corpora
have been analyzed according to several, sometimes conflicting theories. On the other hand,
there is a strong tendency to consider such corpora as lmlk jar handles, Samaria ostraca and
“fiscal” bullae as documents reflecting taxation systems in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.