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Study Analyzes Imprints of Fabrics on Bronze Age Seals

Monday, July 19, 2021

Imprinted Clay SealsHEIDELBERG, GERMANY—Science in Poland reports that Agata Ulanowska of Warsaw University examined a University of Heidelberg collection of casts and imprints of the bottoms of thousands of Bronze Age seals from Lerna and Phaistos, two administrative centers in Greece separated by about 750 years. On about 1,600 of them, she identified imprints of textiles and other materials, including tree phloem, club-rush, wicker, leathers with hair, smooth leathers, and parchment, and changes in how the materials were crafted over time. “For the first time we have tangible evidence of changes in textile technology,” she said. Such seals would have been used to secure doors closed with a pin and string, lids of chests, boxes, baskets, vessels wrapped in fabric and tied with string, and documents tied with string. Sometimes seals were thrown away when they were removed, or sometimes they were saved and stored as a means of record keeping. To read about the Bronze Age site of Gournia, go to "The Minoans of Crete."

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