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Punic in Wales? An intriguing inscription

March 21, 2021

Punic is the name we give to a language spoken in north Africa, a continuation of the earlier Phoenician language (originating in the Levant, around modern Syria and Lebanon), and written for the most part in a developed form of the same writing system. Punic inscriptions have surfaced in several areas around the Mediterranean, but one of the furthest-flung examples comes from a less exotic location – Holt, a town on the Welsh border, a bit to the south of Chester. So what was Punic doing there?

inscr

Image from A. Guillaume ‘The Phoenician Graffito in the Holt Collection of the National Museum of Wales’, Iraq 7 (1940), 67-8.

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