The Iron Age IIA ‘Benyaw Inscription’ on a Jar from Tel Abel Beth Maacah

N. Yahalom-Mack*, N. Panitz-Cohen, C. A. Rollston, A. Cohen-Weinberger, R. A. Mullins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During the seventh excavation season in 2019 at Tel Abel Beth Maacah, located in northern Israel, part of a well-constructed building was revealed just below topsoil in Area K. One partially excavated room in this building was found to contain at least five smashed storage jars in situ. Restoration showed that the jars are all of the same type and mode of manufacture, and one of them, with a marked handle, bears a one-word ink inscription. The standardization of the jars, the marked handle, and the inscription, indicate the existence of a local, centralized administrative system. The typology and surface treatment of the jars point to a date in the 9th century or at the latest, the beginning of the 8th century bce, a date corroborated by the palaeography of the inscription and by other pottery in the building. The inscription itself consists of a Hebrew personal name (as it has a Yahwistic theophoric ending) written in the Old Hebrew script. The name and its archaeological and regional context add information concerning the possible cultural and political affiliation of the site at this time, a debated issue in light of its location in the border region between the kingdoms of Israel and Aram Damascus, and within the sphere of the Phoenician polities of Tyre and Sidon to the west.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)68-90
Number of pages23
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Palestine Exploration Fund 2021.


  • Abel Beth Maacah
  • Aram Damascus
  • Israelite kingdom
  • Phoenicians
  • Yahweh
  • epigraphy
  • inscription
  • palaeography

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Iron age -- Eretz Israel
  • Inscriptions, Hebrew -- Eretz Israel
  • Names, Hebrew -- Eretz Israel
  • Storage jars -- Eretz Israel
  • Handles -- Eretz Israel
  • Abel-Beth-Maachah (Israel)


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