Lions: The Seekrit Impressions

You all know of lmlks. Some of you may know of yhwds. Some of the more learned ones among you may know of yrslm impressions/pentagrams/stars (these are Hasmonean and ended with the minting of Hasmonean coins) and mwsh impressions and concentric circle incisions and rosettes. But does anyone but the most learned ever recall the most arcane system of jar-marks in Judah of all?

After the fall of Jerusalem, there appear lion stamp impressions. Little has been published regarding them. Some impressions are circular in shape, others rectangular. According to an excavation volunteer, one he discovered had yhwd lettering on it, suggesting a Persian date. It is known most (77 out of about 110) were excavated at Ramat Rahel, 5 were excavated at Mizpah, and at least 17 were excavated in the City of David. Unlike the yhwd stamped jars (all made in the province of Yehud), the clay of some jars stamped with the ‘lion’ mark originated from the Shephelah, while other lion stamped jars’ clay originated from the Jerusalem area. It is ambiguous as to what period (Early Persian or Babylonian) this system should be assigned, but it was certainly larger in size than the mwsh (Moza) system, having its center at the known Babylonian gubernatorial center of Mizpah (30 out of 42 known mwsh-stamped jars were found at Mizpah). It might either be the link between the yhwd and mwsh systems, or might have been used concurrently with one of these systems. Due to these marks’ sizable appearance at Jerusalem, I strongly suspect they date later than the mwsh system (only four mwsh impressions were found at Jerusalem, while 17 yhwd impressions were found at Jerusalem).

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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