The Moabite Stone – A Failure of Communication


I created this comic to quickly and graphically sum up a near-apocraphal story in archaeology–the fraught, colonialist acquisition of The Moabite Stone, a important Iron Age inscription originating in Dhiban, Jordan. I had to change it several times, as there are several wildly different versions of the tale. It was fun to make the comic, but I wonder if I could have done a better job showing the complexity of the exchange between the local Bedouin and the artifact-hunting antiquarians. While I believe in using comics for archaeological outreach, I’m not sure that this one was much of a success, as it removes complexity from the story rather than showing there can be multiple narratives.

For that, I consider this comic a failure in its current state. But I think it’s sometimes good to show the failures in visual communication as well as the successes.