Lands of the Bible Archaeology Foundation/Hans Hinz

In the translucent glow of semiprecious stone, ancient cylinder seals (shown here) display delicate etchings of human and animal figures. Each seal contains a unique design that could be repeatedly created by rolling the seal across the wet clay of a jar or tablet, thus identifying the object as the property of the seal’s owner. The largest seal here is less than two inches long; they could all be easily carried. Some were probably hung by cap or pin eyes from bracelets or necklaces, as two of these seals demonstrate.