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Cylinder Seal

Object Number:30-12-3
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Iraq
Archaeology Area: PG 1237 | Old Body #22, New Body #61
Locus: Pg 1237/22
Period: Early Dynastic IIIB
Date Made: 2500-2340 BCE
Early Date: -2500
Late Date: -2340
Section:Near Eastern
Materials:Lapis Lazuli
Length: 4.5 cm
Outside Diameter:2 cm
Credit Line:British Museum/University Museum Expedition to Ur, Iraq, 1930
Other Number:U.12380 - Field No SF
B17722 - Old Museum Number
P270233 - CDLI Number


CBS Register. Ur 1928-9, Season VII. Cylinder Seal.. lapis. Banquet scene and crossed animals. (30-12-551).

This lapis lazuli seal was found associated with one of the most elaborately adorned of the 68 female victims in the “Great Death Pit.” She wore the full complement of gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and marble headgear and jewelry. In addition, a gold pin with a lapis lazuli ball head and a silver pin with a lapis lazuli had held her cloak together. Perhaps this lapis lazuli cylinder seal was suspended from one of these. Next to her was a silver tumbler.

This double-register cylinder seal shows a summarily carved composition. In the top register, an unusual version of the banquet scene is depicted, showing two seated female celebrants, both facing left, each raising a vessel. A servant stands behind a table holding breads. In the lower register, an animal combat is shown. The combination of banquet and combat scenes is unusual but not unique on cylinder seals and other artifacts. The significance of the association is unknown. It has been suggested that these seals designated offices responsible for the economies both inside and outside of the court, but it is unclear what the elaborate adornment of the seal’s owner can tell us above her official responsibilities.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Ancient Mesopotamia: The Royal Tombs of Ur (1983 - 1998) View Objects in Exhibition
Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur's Royal Cemetery ( Oct 2009 - Jan 2017) View Objects in Exhibition


[Catalogue] Horne, Lee C., and Zettler, Richard L. 1998. Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Page 83/Figure 27View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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