Courtesy Larry G. Herr

The same, but different. Two seal impressions with the same inscription, but made from different seals, turned up in the excavation of building B at Tell el-‘Umeiri (see photo and plan). The better-preserved impression appears here along with a drawing of it. Hastily stamped into jar handles, the impressions exhibit crudely shaped letters of Aramaic script of the late sixth or early fifth century B.C.E. Probably written in the Ammonite language, the inscription reads, “Shuba’, Ammon.” The unusual use of the national identification, Ammon, resembles a type of Judean seal, the Yahud seal, which scholars think served as a stamp on goods in the Persian provincial tax system. By analogy, scholars believe that these seals served a similar function in a Persian province of Ammon (the existence of which was previously hypothesized, but never before confirmed). “Shuba’” presumably represents the name of the provincial governor or tax collector.