Stamp seals

Selection of stamp seals. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Thousands of ancient seals have been found throughout the ancient Near East. They are usually carved out of limestone or semi-precious stone, but they can be made of bone, glass, bronze or silver. When pressed into wet clay the seal make a bulla. Usually inscribed with the owner’s name, seals were used in the ancient world to identify, authenticate and protect the contents of documents and vessels. String would be tied around a rolled document and wet clay would be pressed around the knot. Then the seal would be pressed into the clay.


Selection of stamp seals. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

A region notable for its early ancient civilizations, geographically encompassing the modern Middle East, Egypt, and modern Turkey.

A piece of clay that was stamped by an identifying seal and used to fasten a container shut, thereby keeping the contents private.

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