Sumerian Cuneiform Cylinder Seal, Iraq, 3000 BCE

by Tanja Gohlert, '00


Seals were most often made of stone but also sometimes of bone, ivory, faience, glass, metal, wood, or even sun-dried or baked clay. A recessed inscription was carved onto the cylinder, which produced a raised impression when rolled on a clay tablet or envelope. Cylinder seals were used to protect vessels, clay envelopes and storeroom door latches from tampering. They guaranteed authenticity, marked ownership, indicated participation in a legal transaction and protected goods against theft.

<< Museum Directory
<< Previous Invention
Methods & Sources >>
Next Invention >>