Seal of the month

 

Vi 102b 1 1





 








 

 

 

 
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Seal of the month

April 2018

 

 

Vi 102b 1 1


 
Vi 102a 2 2


 
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

CMS VI no. 102
Eight-sided prism. Agate. Hard stone technique.
Inscriptions of the Cretan Hieroglyphic on all sides.
From ‘Neapolis’.
Stylistic dating: MM II.

 

 

Commentary

The seal belongs to the so-called Hieroglyphic Deposit Group. The seals in this group are cut in hard stones and are elaborately engraved. They most often carry inscriptions of the Cretan Hieroglyphic and are multi-facial, mainly four- and three-sided prisms. This eight-sided prism is a singular example of a Cretan Hieroglyphic multi-facial seal.
Since the Cretan Hieroglyphic has not been deciphered the meaning of the inscriptions on the sides of this piece is unknown. It has, however, been suggested that the inscriptions on Cretan Hieroglyphic seals could encode different responsibilities of their users in a hierarchical administrative system. The idea behind this suggestion is that each inscription encodes an administrative responsibility and, therefore, the more inscriptions one prism carried the more responsibilities its user would have and higher in a hierarchical system (s)he would be.  
Impressions of this type of seals on ancient sealings are common and have been found in Knossos, Malia and Petras. Because of the large number of impressions of these seals in Knossos, it has often been been suggested that they were produced there. However, seals (as opposed to seal impressions) of this group have not (yet?) been found in contexts in Knossos (here p. 167). Instead, their distribution as we know it today suggests a larger connection with eastern Crete. The recent discovery of a large batch of this type of seals in the Petras cemetery reinforces the idea that seals of this group were 'at home' in the eastern part of the island .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest Revision: 2018-04-07
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