Map & Corpus of Plus-Mark Incisions

Biblical Accounts
NonBiblical Accounts

x (cannot classify)


Personal Seals



List of all sites sorted by root-name (common alternative spellings in parentheses) where jars with incised Plus marks have been excavated {map grid coordinates in braces}:

  1. Arad {M-55}
  2. Azekah (Tell Zakariya) {H-42}
  3. Beersheba (Tel Beer-sheba, or Tell es-Seba' {G-56})
  4. Beit Mirsim (Tell Beit Mirsim; Debir or Kirjath Sepher?) {G-49}
  5. Beth Shemesh (Ain Shems or Tell er-Rumeileh) {H-40}
  6. Beth Zur (Khirbet et-Tubeiqa) {L-45}
  7. Chephirah (Hirbet Kefire, or Kefireh, or Khirbet el-Kefirah) {L-38}
  8. Ein Gev {Z-8}
  9. Ekron (Tel Miqne or Khirbet el-Muqanna') {F-39}
  10. Gath (Tell es-Safi or Tel Zafit) {E-42}
  11. Gezer {G-37}
  12. Gibeah (Tell el-Ful) {P-38}
  13. Gibeon (el-Jib) {N-37}
  14. Hazor {X-1}
  15. Horvat Uza {N-43}
  16. Ira (Tel 'Ira, Horvat el-Garra, or Khirbat al-Gharra) {I-56}
  17. Jerusalem {P-39}
  18. Kedesh (Qudeis) {O-15}
  19. Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) {F-46}
  20. Megiddo {N-14}
  21. Mevorakh {G-16}
  22. Mesad Hashavyahu {A-35}
  23. Nasbeh (Tell en-Nasbeh; Mizpah?) {O-36}
  24. Qasile {D-29}
  25. Rabud (Khirbet Rabud; Debir?) {J-50}
  26. Ramat Rahel (Ramat Rachel; Khirbet es-Sallah; Netopha or Beth-Haccerem?) {O-41}
  27. Timnah (Tel Batash) {G-39}
  28. Tumuli (#5 & #6 in Amiran's Area "A" near Kiriat Menahem or Kiryat Menah'em) {N-40}

Total sites where before-firing cooking-pot (a.k.a. IHCP = Incised Handle Cooking Pot) handles have been found:  20

Total sites where after-firing Plus-mark (AFPM) handles have been found:  12

Note:  Many other sites exist where incised handles have been found; however, their type has not yet been confirmed.  The sites shown here as "Unconfirmed" have a very high probability of belonging to the AFPM group.  See "Ancient Contribution Jars" by G.M. Grena for additional info & references (BlogSpot version or WordPress version; same content at both websites).

Note:  This map was produced using a 2005 road atlas, a 2005 satellite photo, & additional detail from archeological reports.

Most excavation reports from the past century have not provided detailed descriptions of incised handles, typically labeling them as "potter's marks", & showing one or a few representatives.  In addition to the 2 major types presented on this page, many other varieties of marks (zigzags, checkerboards, depressions, strokes, letters) appear on a variety of jars (jugs, juglets, pots) in a variety of locations (handles, rims, bodies).  Here are the minimum quantities from each of the sites shown on the map above:

IHCP Corpus

AFPM Corpus

91 from excavations (95 total) 33 from excavations (37 total)

Note:  Whereas pre-fired incisions & seal impressions are rare & valuable to antiquities collectors, marks made after firing such as AFPMs are not nearly as important since they could easily be forged, so they bear no scientific value.

The primary information for this page came from Aren Maeir's landmark article:

"And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully" (2 Chron. 31:12): On the Meaning and Function of the Late Iron Age Judahite "Incised Handle Cooking Pots", Journal of the American Oriental Society vol. 130.1 (2010), pp. 43-62.

"Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, & set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh & that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."--Ezekiel 9:4
Number of visits:
This page was created on December 29, 2010, & last updated on December 29, 2010