Ancient Seals, Bullae and Seal Impressions Online

imageA recent most generous gift from Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen, long time friends and great supporters of archaeological projects, will enable the researchers of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the pre-eminent organization in the fields of Israeli and Biblical Archaeology, to digitize and make available on – line published items from the important collections of ancient seals, bullae and seal impressions in the National Treasures of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

imageIn our continued efforts to share and make accessible to people around the world the archaeological treasures of the Land of Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority is making available on-line highlights from the collection of nearly 1.5 million archaeological objects in the National Treasures. Having the artifacts’ information and high-resolution images available to millions of people anywhere in the world is of tremendous importance to everyone interested in the archaeology and history of the Land of Israel – students, archaeologists, researchers, and the general public.

The Ancient Seals, Bullae and Seal Impression Collections of the IAA

imageThere are some 2,400 seals, 600 bullae, and nearly 4,500 impressions, mainly on amphora handles, in the IAA’s collections. The collections range from the 6th Millennium BCE, Neolithic period, to the end of the 19th Century CE during the Ottoman period. Most of the items in the IAA’s collections were discovered in excavations carried out in Israel, hence the tremendous importance of the collection to the archaeological research in Israel and the Ancient Near East.

Important hoards of seals and impressions from the Neolithic – Early Bronze periods were discovered in places such as Ha’Goshrim, Megiddo and Arad. An important collection are the hundreds of Egyptian bullae from Ein – Ha’Bsor in the northern Negev. Middle Bronze – Late Bronze period important hoards are the hundreds of Egyptian and local scarabs from sites such as Hazor, Tel Dan, Acre, Megiddo, Lachish, Adjul and others.

The collections of seals and bullae from the Iron Age, especially those bearing Hebrew names, are of great importance to the study of governing structures during the Israelite period. In addition to the seals and bullae, hundreds of jar handles bearing the LMLK impression are also part of the collection.

An exceptional collection of 2,500 Hellenistic period Greek stamps on handles of wine amphoras provide detailed information on the origin and production dates of wine brought to Israel from the Aegean islands. Hoards of such handles were discovered in sites such as Maresha, Caesarea, Acre, Lachish, Jerusalem and Beth – Shean.

Hundreds of roof tiles stamped with the Roman Army’s 10th Legion stamp were discovered in a Jerusalem excavation, and are now part of the collection. And lead bullae dating from the Byzantine period and adorned with Christian motives are also an important part of the National Treasures.

We thank Jeanette and Jonathan Rosen for making this important project possible, and invite and encourage you to visit the National Treasures On-Line site and learn more about the cultural heritage of the Land of Israel and the life of the people who inhabited the land over the past 5,000 years. The National Treasures On – Line is another example of the IAA’s efforts to share and to provide meaningful, unlimited and easy public access to our collections and the archaeological treasures of our country.

There are several other important collections that we would like to digitize and make available on-line, including ancient glass, coins, textiles, and others, and we invite you to contact us if you are interested in joining us in this important undertaking.

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