Seal of the month

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New finds/Seals not in the CMS

The Seals from the Minoan Site of Chryssi Island...


New Publications

Hudler, Angelika. 2019. (E)scaping arguments: Gemmae dubitandae and their position in exploring Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology...


Other News

Workshop: Seals, Stamps, and Administration. Digitizing Bureaucracy – Preserving Heritage



CMS Databases

Within the framework of the CMS project in Marburg the material published in the CMS series was digitalized and recorded in the CMS Databases. The Seals Database documents the seals and their ancient impressions. The Sealings Database records the objects displaying ancient seal impressions.

The databases contain revised data in line with current insights of Aegean glyptic research. Many corrections of the data provided in older volumes have been undertaken and better images are often available. Therefore, the user will find a revised version of the CMS volumes in the CMS Databases. Consequently, the information in the former will often differ considerably from the data found in the printed volumes.

The CMS Databases are integrated in ARACHNE, the Central Object-Database of the German Archaeological Institute and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne, and are freely available on the web. In order to access  higher resolution images, the user is advised to register with ARACHNE (free of cost).

How to use the CMS Databases

For the structure of the search categories of the CMS Databases, look here (a very informative manual in English with information on the structure of each search category [generic search field] that is not provided further down).

The databases can be used without registration. However, it is suggested that you register in ARACHNE before you use the CMS Databases as only registered users can enlarge the CMS images and view them in high quality on their computer screen. Registration in ARACHNE is free of charge, but it will take a few days until you receive the confirmation of your registration.

There are two ways to access the CMS Databases: One is to go to the ARACHNE interface for the CMS Seal Database, here you will find only the CMS Databases. The other is to go to the ARACHNE interface for All Databases, here you see all databases which are part of ARACHNE, and among them the CMS Databases: Einzelobjekt – Siegel (Individual Object – Seal), the sixth on this page, is the CMS Seal Database; Einzelobjekt – Träger von Siegelabdrücken (Individual Object – Carrier of Seal Impressions), the seventh on this page, is the Carriers of Seal Impressions Database.

You can use the databases to browse through a CMS volume or search for an object/objects according to your criteria:

Browse through the CMS volumes

Inexperienced users

Experienced users (fastest way)

Search for seals according to your criteria

Inexperienced users

Experienced users (fastest way)

Search for seals by CMS numbers

Search possibilities

Important information if you are using the CMS Databases for research purposes

The databases are an important tool for the study of the Aegean Bronze Age. They are, however, computer generated and there are times when they do not function one-hundred per cent as they should. For this reason, researchers who aim for completeness are advised to check the search results against the background of the information provided in the print volumes. Users should also be aware of the fact that the CMS can no longer claim completeness of data since there are numerous seals that have not yet been included in the volumes.

The material recorded in the databases is multi-facetted and complicated. The job of creating a concept according to which one can search the databases has therefore presented serious challenges and dictated compromises. Despite the fact that most issues have now been resolved, there are still some problematic aspects which the user should take into consideration when using the databases:

- All fields are complete apart from the field Stilistische Einordnung of the Seal Database. An estimated amount of 10% of the information for this field is missing.

- If you have searched through the General Databases Page in ARACHNE the results of your search in the upper menu bar (Suchergebnisse für Einzelobjekte) will be followed by a number. This is the number of entries your search has provided. You need to keep in mind that this is not a number of seals but a number of seal faces. Since many Aegean seals have more than one seal face, this number will often not be equivalent to the actual number of seals. If you search for 'Mensch' (human), for example, you will find 1058 examples of seal faces that bear humans. If you want to know the number of seals as opposed to the number of seal faces retrieved you need to search via the CMS Seal Database Page in ARACHNE. Here you can enter your desired term into the field Suchen and then click on this field. You will be redirected to the page Sucherergebnis. In the column to the right you can see your search history and, next to your term of query, a number in parenthesis. This is the number of actual seals retrieved by your search. If, for example, you search for the word 'Mensch', you will find 966 seals depicting humans.

- If you are searching the Seal Database according to provenance, you will not find the seals that are known through their seal impressions. Try, for example, to search for seals from Sklavokambos and you will see that you will find none despite the fact that there are numerous seal impressions from this site. The reason for this is that no provenance is provided in the Seal Database for seals known from seal impressions (for the reason see here). There is, however, a way to find these seals when searching by provenance by searching through the method described here at 3. If you search by provenance on the field Suche, you will find entries of both the actual seals and the seals known from seal impressions. If, for example, you type cms Sklavokambos in this field, you will see that the seal impressions from Sklavokambos are retrieved. Another problem, however, is that this search will produce double finds: you will find the seal impressions from Sklavokambos but also the carriers of seal impressions from there, the latter following the first. This happens because searching in the general field retrieves results from both the Seal Database and the Carriers of Seal Impressions Database. You may, however, ignore the finds that are of no interest to you. 

Help System for non German speakers

Depending on the browser, ARACHNE is available both in German and English. However, at the moment, the data can only be retrieved in German.

Throughout the databases, explanatory texts and/or images will appear on mouse-over for all domains and terms. A help-system is available for non-German speakers through which an English translation is provided for each German term used in the lists of terms. Moreover, a German-English and an English-German glossary containing expressions used in the list of terms make it possible for the non-German speaker to use the database. This can be found in the following section. The English translation of the database has been undertaken in collaboration with Olga Krzyszkowska

In the future, an English version of the databases will be made available.

ARACHNE glossaries

Editor: Email
Latest Revision: 2018-05-03
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