Lands of the Bible Archaeology Foundation/Hans Hinz

Stamp seals dating to the first millennium B.C. These polished stones have flat surfaces incised with drawings or inscriptions that were pressed into wet clay. Two of these stamp seals are encased in ornate silver and gold settings with loops by which they could be hung on bracelets or necklaces.

In ancient times, a seal served as I.D., passport, and even credit card. The seal’s impression was the equivalent of the owner’s signature and thus committed the owner to the terms of any inscribed tablet on which the impression appeared.