POTSHERD (pot shurd, Heb. heres). A piece of earthenware. Job used a potsherd to scrape his body in his affliction (
POTSHERD pŏt’ shûrd (חֶ֫רֶשׂ, H3084, earthen pot). Potsherds are the fragments of any broken pottery jar. Large ones were used to carry coals from one house to another or to dip up water from a spring or cistern (
Sherds from large storage jars were used for writing material. Such sherds are called ostraca. The famous Lachish ostraca were military correspondence between that city and its outpost. Some scholars believe that the Samaria ostraca were government tax receipts to those who had paid taxes in terms of produce. Others think they were ordinary receipts. Some of the messages referred to in the Bible were doubtless written on potsherds. Finally, potsherds were ground fine and added to the waterproof plaster used in lining cisterns.
Today potsherds serve as the best clue for dating Bible history. At times they are even better than coins, which often remain in use much longer.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A piece of earthenware (