Deciphering ancient inscriptions and manuscripts would be easy if archaeologists found them completely whole and intact. All that would have to be done then would be to figure out the language and the script. Unfortunately, most inscriptions are found in fragmentary condition. When that happens, an epigrapher has to not only figure out what the surviving pieces say, but also what the missing pieces might have said. Scholars call this process "reconstruction." We invite you to try the process yourself with the story of Chicken Little.
Below is part of the story of Chicken Little. Part of it has been torn off. It is your job to fill in the rest of the story, one letter per square. Download the image onto your own computer, print it out, and go to work. Send your solution to West Semitic Research, 12 Empty Saddle Road, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274, and we'll send you the access code to the real solution (include your email address). By the way, no one has ever gotten it 100% right!
Exercise by Bruce Zuckerman, West Semitic Research.
Commentary by Marilyn J. Lundberg.