Seal of the month
February 2019 ('Dinner for two: Minoan Valentine')
Two humans in profile are standing on either side of a tripodic vessel (tripod cooking pot?) and hold an oblong object in its interior. Above the pot, there is a plant element.
Stylistic dating: Late Bronze Age
The right figure is wearing a long garment that could represent a dress or skirt but probably not a robe since it does not appear to be fastened in the front. Because of this the CMS has identified the figure as female despite the fact that it has neither long hair (loose or tied in a bun) nor female breasts, elements that are commonly used to render female figures.
The two figures are engaged in an action of either stirring something with the help of a rod-shaped element or grinding/crushing with the help of a pestle. While it is not possible to say with certainty what action is depicted, the shape of the vessel which is known to have been used in cooking could suggest that the figures are involved in the act of food preparation. The image on this seal could, therefore, be seen like a snapshot of everyday life in the Bronze Age Aegean.
Such images are rather rare on Aegean glyptic and, when they appear, they provide an exceptional insight into the way of life in these societies. Seal iconography is an invaluable source in our attempt to visualise prehistoric life in the Aegean, especially since no deciphered texts apart from Linear B exist that provide information about everyday life during the Bronze Age. These images can be likened to ‘photographs’ from the past that attest nicely to similarities between life then and now: