Seal Portal

Online resources for the study of Mesopotamian stamp and cylinder seals, often with incised legends naming the owner, his profession or educational standing, his patronymic and, looking up in the Mesopotamian hierarchy, his administrative affiliations, are difficult to come by, even though this unassuming administrative tool has played a very substantial role in the development of writing, and in the smooth functioning of an advanced ancient society. The Seals Portal presents a pathway to the growing documentation of seals in the CDLI, including text annotations, various generations of images, as well as although admittedly limited image annotation files.

The CDLI catalogue currently [6/30/2022] contains entries documenting 56,969 Mesopotamian seals and sealings: 42,070 represent clay tablets, tags or other sealings, most of whose seal impressions included owner legends, and just 8,707 are physical seals; 6,648 CDLI entries represent composites derived from seal impressions, and therefore the negatives of original cylinder seals now lost.

All CDLI Seals

View all seals in the CDLI, both seal impressions, composite seals and physical seals.

Composite Seals

Composites Seals are derived from seal impressions, and therefore the negatives of original cylinder seals now lost.

Physical Seals

View all Physical Seals, both stamp and cylinder shaped, in the CDLI.

Sealings

View all impressions of seals in the CDLI. Whenever possible seal impressions, or sealings, have been linked to a composite seal entry as well.

Well Attested Seals

Highlight Seal of Ayakala, governor of Umma.jpg

Seal of Ayakala, governor of Umma

Seal of Ayakala, governor of Umma during the Third Dynasty of Ur (ca 2100-2000 BC) attested impressed on ca 1180 tablets.

Highlight Seal of Ur-mes, fattener.jpg

Seal of Ur-mes, fattener

Seal of Ur-Mes, fattener, attested impressed on ca. 310 tablets from Puzriš-Dagan during the Ur III period (ca 2100-2000 BC).

Highlight  Seals of Ur-Nungal.jpg

Seals of Ur-Nungal

Two versions of the seal of Ur-Nungal, an accountant for the crown stationed at Umma. Ca. 262 tablets were impressed with the two versions, possibly re-carvings of this seal.

Highlight Seals of Bukušum.jpg

Seals of Bukušum

The seal of Bukušum is known in two versions from ca 35 impressions on Early Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1900 BC) tablets from Isin.

Highlight Early Dynastic “City Seal”.jpg

Early Dynastic “City Seal”

Early Dynastic “City Seal” found impressed on ca 27 ancient clay objects from Ur dating to the Early Dynastic I-II Period (ca. 2900-2700 BC).

Highlight Seal of Illuratum.jpg

Seal of Illuratum

Seal of Illuratum, the daughter of Abi-maraṣ, and servant of the god Išhara. Illuratum’s seal is attested on ca 50 tablets from Sippar-Yahrurum during the Old Babylonian period (ca. 1900-1600 BC).

Highlight Seal of Nabi-ilīšu.jpg

Seal of Nabi-ilīšu

Seal of Nabi-ilīšu, archivist of Rim-Anum, an Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1900 BC) king of Uruk, attested on ca. 35 tablets.

Seals and impressed artifacts by period

Period Seals Impressed artifacts
Pre-Writing (ca. 8500-3500 BC) 6
Uruk IV (ca. 3350-3200 BC) 14
Uruk III (ca. 3200-3000 BC) 425
Proto-Elamite (ca. 3100-2900 BC) 6
ED I-II (ca. 2900-2700 BC) 473
ED IIIa (ca. 2600-2500 BC) 205
ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340 BC) 76
Ebla (ca. 2350-2250 BC) 3
Old Akkadian (ca. 2340-2200 BC) 729
Linear Elamite (ca. 2200 BC) 1

Page 1 of 3, showing 10 record(s) out of 28 total

Page 1 of 3, showing 10 record(s) out of 28 total

Cite this Artifact

CDLI contributors. 2022. “Seal Portal.” Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. November 29, 2022. https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/artifacts/seals.

CDLI contributors. (2022, November 29). Seal Portal. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/artifacts/seals

CDLI contributors (2022) Seal Portal, Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. Available at: https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/artifacts/seals (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

@misc{CDLI2022Seal,
  • note = {[Online; accessed 2022-11-29]},
  • author = {{CDLI contributors}},
  • year = {2022},
  • month = {nov 29},
  • title = {Seal {Portal}},
  • howpublished = {https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/artifacts/seals},
}

TY  - ELEC
AU  - CDLI contributors
DA  - 2022/11/29/
ID  - temp_id_202662450165
M1  - 2022/11/29/
TI  - Seal Portal
UR  - https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/artifacts/seals
ER  -