Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Jar handle sealing

Cat. No.



8th century B.C. Iron II


Akko, Early Persian period pit, stratum V, Area K


L: 2.05 cm; H: 1.6 cm


Sealing on a storage jar handle, oval shaped.

Accession Number

Haifa University Reg. No. 4969/150


Brandl and Yahalom-Mack 2022: 244-246, fig. 5.a; Conrad 1999; Keel 1997: 622-623, no. 258

Ship facing right with a crescentic hull. Vertically rising stempost ending in a club like device. The sternpost rises in a gentle outward curve, then bends sharply inwards at a 90o angle then slightly upwards again. This morphology is highly reminiscent of the inward-facing duck-head stern devices observable on some Cypriote ships. Mast amidships with fore and backstay. There are five oars.

The stamped jar handle was found in Area K, in the side wall of an early Persian period pit belonging to Stratum V that had penetrated Stratum VI below it (Conrad 1999). Although other sherds from the pit date to the Persian period, the object is associated with an early type of mortarium dating to the 8th (Brandl and Itach 2019: 216, n. 1).

The excavator identifies the sternpost device as the back-turned head of a bird, either a duck or a goose (Conrad 1999: 37). This is not implausible, given that it is a well documented sternpost device from Cyprus. The ship indeed finds good morphological parallels in C5 and C6.

Brandl, B. and G. Itach. 2019. “A Locally-made Scaraboid from Khallat es-Sihrij Near Tel Aphek and Its Neo-Assyrian Connection.” Tel Aviv 46: 211–226.

Brandl, B. and Yahalom-Mack, N. 2022. “A Clay Pendant with an Impression of a Phoenician Seagoing Ship from Tel Abel Beth Maacah,” in Davidovich, U. Yahalom-Mack, N. and Matskevich, S. (eds.). Material, Method, and Meaning: Papers in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology in Honor of Ilan Sharon. Tubingen, pp. 241–252.

Conrad, D. “Stempelabdruck eines Schiff es vom Tell el-Fuḫḫār (Tel Akko)” In P. Åström und D. Sürenhagen (eds.) Periplus: Festschrift für Hans-Günter Buchholz zu seinem achtzigsten Geburtstag am 24. Dezember 1999. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology Vol. 127. Jonsered: Paul Åström Förlag.

Keel, O. 1997. Corpus der Stempelsiegel-Amulette aus Palästina/Israel, von den Anfängen bis zur Perserzeit, I: Von Tell Abu Farag bis ‘Atlit. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag, and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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