A handle fragment of a royal storage jar, of the 8th century BCE. Prior to the firing of the jar, its handle was stamped with a seal, of which just the wingtip of a two-winged royal icon remains visible. Above the royal icon, word LMLK (“of the king”) would have been inscribed. A series of concentric circles were incised besides the impression, post-firing.
LMLK impressions, dated to the late 8th century BCE, have been found throughout the ancient kingdom of Judah, and are commonly understood as part of the preparation activities of King Hezekiah to his rebellion against the Assyrian Empire. Sennacherib’s retaliatory war campaign razed many cities in the Judean planes, but many of the cities in the hill-country were not destroyed and there, these jars were put into re-use. Concentric circles, like the ones on this handle are believed to be related to a taxation system.