Guide to Searching

The inscriptions of Israel/Palestine project is made up of over 3,000 records from the Israel/palestine region ranging from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. These inscriptions record everything from royal edicts to the daily lives of common people. This tutorial is designed to get you started browsing for specific types of records. The best way to search this database is through the faceted map search. Newcomers to the site usually begin with our stories page for highlights from our most significant inscriptions.

Map Search

The map search page contains an interactive map and facets for easy searching. Selecting facets will change the inscriptions displayed on the map. For each location with inscriptions matching the filtering criteria, a circular marker will appear. If you click the marker, you can get a pop-up with basic information about the inscriptions in that location. To the right of the map, you can see an overview of the inscriptions from that place. Clicking on an inscription ID will provide you with more detail about that specific inscription.

When you select a search facet, it will filter the results that appear on the map. If you have chosen “select multiple” at the top of the facet box, your selections will form an “and” search. For example, if you have selected “Greek” as well as “Latin”, you will see all of the Greek/Latin bilingual inscriptions. If the “select multiple” option is turned off, selecting multiple choices will result in an “or” search for that category. In our example, you would see all inscriptions containing either Latin or Greek. Search parameters across categories (i.e. material and physical type) are always “and” searches.

Text Search

More complex searches can be undertaken from the text search page. You can select the link TEXT SEARCH on the map page for targeted keyword searching, although this search box will not dynamically affect the map. Here, you can search specific reference IDs if you know them or for specific words in records’ transcriptions or translations. Supported languages are English, Latin, Greek (using Greek polytonic characters without breathings or accents), Aramaic, and Hebrew. This search will return results that include the exact character set you searched for.

Individual Inscription Entries

Try selecting “Judea” from the locations box and “dedicatory” from the type box. This search combination produces 9 results displayed on the map. To retrieve a reusable URL specific to this search, click “SEARCH” at the bottom corner of the map. You’ll notice that 12 results appear; the extra inscriptions may not appear on the map because of incorrect or missing geographic information. Looking at the results, the third entry is JERU0237, the famous “Theodotos” inscription. If you click on it, you’ll get a full record of the inscription as it appeared in its original publication. Here, you may notice that there is no diplomatic transcription. This simply means that a diplomatic transcription did not appear in the original print source.

Looking at the inscription itself, however, we discover that a man called Theodotos was responsible for the dedication of a synagogue with a suite of amenities for travelling Jews. The inscription data indicate that the synagogue was built sometime between the mid-1st century BCE and the mid-1st century CE. Its language is Greek, indicating a Jewish audience from the Greco-Roman diaspora.

The inscription header at the top of the page contains general data about the inscription (such as location, region, physical type, material, etc.). You can access relevant glossary definitions for these categories by following links in the inscription header at the top of the page. This header also provides the unique IIP reference ID, in this case JERU0237. The reference ID is generally comprised of the first four letters of the location name and a four digit number corresponding to the order in which the inscriptions from a particular location were added to the database.