A nearly 7,000-year-old clay imprint was discovered in Israel, a seal that may have been used for a variety of reasons, including signing for deliveries.
The findings, published last month in Levant, note that the seal was discovered between 2004 and 2007, along with about 150 other pieces, including pottery and clay, in Israel’s Beit She’an Valley.
In addition to signing and sealing deliveries, it could also have been used to close silos or barndoors.
It’s the first evidence of one of those uses, according to a statement from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
When the barndoors were opened, the seal broke, indicating that someone had been inside.
“Even today, similar types of seals are used to prevent tampering and theft,” said one of the study’s co-authors, HU professor Yosef Garfinkel, in the paper. statement.
A nearly 7,000-year-old seal has been discovered in Israel that may have been used for a variety of reasons, including signing for deliveries
The seal was discovered, along with about 150 others, in Israel’s Beit She’an Valley between 2004 and 2007.
Pottery and clay were also found at the excavation site, researchers say
The one-centimeter stamp discovered in Tel Tsaf (photo)
The seal was discovered between 2004 and 2007, along with about 150 other pieces, including pottery and clay, in Israel’s Beit She’an Valley
“It turns out that this was used by landowners and local administrators to protect their property as early as 7,000 years ago.”
This seal had “two different geometric stamps on it and gives credence to the emergence of administrative practices in the Levant during the protohistoric periods,” the authors wrote in the study’s summary.
Many ancient seals found in the First Temple of Jerusalem, dating back nearly 2,600 years, had a personal name or biblical figure.
But this seal comes from an era when writing was not yet in use, with importance given to the two geometric shapes, perhaps an indication that two people were involved in a transaction, perhaps further away than Israel.
“In this place we have evidence of contact with people from Mesopotamia, Turkey, Egypt and the Caucasus,” Garfinkel added.
“There is no prehistoric site anywhere in the Middle East that reveals evidence of such long-distance trade in exotic artifacts as what we found in this particular spot.”
Amazingly, the one-centimeter seal was found in ‘excellent condition’ due to the arid climate in the Beit She’an Valley.
After analyzing the seal, the researchers determined that it probably came from at least 10 kilometers away. Live Science reported.
In addition to the seal, there was evidence at the excavation site that the area was once home to people of “significant wealth,” who built shops full of ingredients and materials.
Further research is needed to determine how influential the area was and whether people came from far away to visit it.
“We hope that ongoing excavations at Tel Tsaf and other sites from the same period will provide additional evidence to help us understand the impact of a regional authority in the southern Levant,” Garfinkel noted.