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Study of Seals in Turkey Seeks Birth of Bureaucracy

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

MALATYA, TURKEY—According to an Anadolu Agency report, researchers led by Francesca Balossi Restelli of Sapienza University are investigating the formation of state administration and bureaucracy at eastern Anatolia’s site of Arslantepe through the analysis of 250 seal impressions recovered from a 5,600-year-old temple. Microscopic examination of the impressions suggests that the seals themselves were made of stone, metal, and wood. The impressions, depicting lions, snakes, and human figures, were placed on vases, bags, baskets, and doors. The seals were not found within the temple because they were kept in the homes of officials, explained retired director of excavations Marcella Frangipane. This year, the excavation team found houses dated to the late Chalcolithic period. “We hope we can understand how this important system [bureaucracy] was born from these houses,” Restelli said. To read about an ivory plaque unearthed at Arslantepe, go to "Artifact."

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