An inscribed pithos from the ophel, Jerusalem

Eilat Mazar, David Ben-Shlomo, Shmuel Ahituv

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


During the 2012 excavations at the Ophel, a large building was partially revealed; it is broadly dated to the early (?) Iron Age IIA (it is hoped that a more accurate dating will be obtained after the study of its finds has been completed). A pile of large pottery fragments (L.223C) from seven pithoi was used as a stabiliser for the earth fill under the second floor of the building. All the pithoi belong to the neckless, folded-out rim type that is most likely the successor of the Collared-Rim Jar of the Iron Age I. The inscribed pithos rim was analysed by thin section petrography. The results indicate that the vessel was made of clay sourced to the central hills region, as were several other pithoi found with it. However, a certain variability in the so-called Moza clay formation used for these vessels was identified. Similarly-shaped pithoi from southern Israel that were analysed have the same provenance. The inscription is incised in a Proto-Canaanite/Early Canaanite script of the eleventh-tenth centuries BCE. It reads from left to right, but a combination of the letters m, q, p, h, n, l, n yield no meaning in west-Semitic. The inscription remains, for now, enigmatic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Exploration Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'An inscribed pithos from the ophel, Jerusalem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this