A clay imprint nearly 7,000 years old was discovered in Israel, a seal that may have been used for a variety of reasons, including signing deliveries.
The results, published last month in the Levant, show the seal was discovered in Israel’s Beit She’an Valley between 2004 and 2007, along with about 150 other pieces, including ceramics and clay.
In addition to signing and sealing deliveries, it could have been used to close silos or barn doors.
This is the first evidence of any of these uses, according to a statement from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
When barn doors were opened, the seal broke, which was a sign that someone had been inside.
“Even today, similar seals are used to prevent tampering and theft,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Professor Yosef Garfinkel from HU.
A seal nearly 7,000 years old has been discovered in Israel that could have been used for a variety of reasons, including signing for supplies
The seal was discovered between 2004 and 2007 along with around 150 others in the Beit She’an Valley, Israel
Pottery and clay were also found at the excavation site, the researchers said
The one-centimeter stamp seal discovered in Tel Tsaf (pictured)
The seal was discovered along with about 150 other pieces, including ceramics and clay, in Israel’s Beit She’an Valley between 2004 and 2007
“It found this was already being used 7,000 years ago by landowners and local administrators to protect their property.”
This seal had “two different geometrical stamps and testified to the rise of administrative practices in the Levant during early history,” the authors write in the abstract of the study.
Many ancient seals found in Jerusalem’s First Temple, nearly 2,600 years old, had a personal name or biblical figure.
But this seal dates from a time when script was still in use, and placed emphasis on the two geometric shapes, perhaps an indication that two people were involved in a transaction, perhaps further away than Israel.
“At this point we have references to contacts with peoples from Mesopotamia, Turkey, Egypt and the Caucasus,” added Garfinkel.
“There is no prehistoric site anywhere in the Middle East that provides evidence of such a distant trade in exotic items as what we have found in this particular site.”
Amazingly, the one-centimeter seal was found in “very good condition” due to the dry climate in the Beit She’an Valley.
After analyzing the seal, the researchers determined that it was likely from a distance of at least 6 miles, Live Science reported.
In addition to the seal, there were references to the excavation site, where people once lived on “considerable wealth” and built shops full of ingredients and materials.
Further research is needed to determine how influential the area has been and whether people have come from great distances to visit it.
“We hope that continued excavations in Tel Tsaf and other locations from the same period will provide additional evidence that will help us understand the implications of a regional authority in the southern Levant,” noted Garfinkel.