Own A Piece Of History
Ancient LMLK Handle Jar with the name MMST
The Biblical City of Mamshit, Iron Age . 8th/7th Century B.C.
LMLK Mamshit Handle (Lamelech)
in very good condition with the full legend
The ‘LMLK’ jar (Hebrew for ‘to the king’) is a type of jar that appeared near the end of the 8th century BC in the Kingdom of Judah and disappeared around the mid-7th century BC.
The name of the jar comes from the type of stamp that decorated these jars’ handles: One of two winged symbols (a scarab/a circle) and around it the word ‘LMLK’ (‘to the king’).
Often the name of one of four cities in the Kingdom of Judah was included in the stamp: Hebron, Zif, Socoh and MMST (which hasn’t been identified yet). The purpose of the jars was carrying liquids, likely wine and oil.
‘LMLK’ jar handles were first discovered by British archaeologist Charles Warren in 1867 while holding excavations in Jerusalem.
Since then hundreds of such handles have been found in sites such as Lachish, Ramat Rachel, Beit Shemesh, Timnath and more. There are two main theories surrounding the purpose of these jars: Wine and oil jars intended as tax payment to the Assyrian Empire or wine and oil jars stockpiled by King Hezekiah in preparation for his rebellion against the Assyrians. It is not known why there was a need for special stamps, given that other kingdoms in the area paid taxes to the Assyrians through wine and oil, but did not stamp their jars in a special way.
Some have suggested that the stamps were intended to emphasize the rise of a new king – Hezekiah – and the changing of the face of the kingdom. Indeed, a similar winged symbol was found on a bulla carrying the signature of Hezekiah.