Much ado about a small thing: An iron-age stamp seal from late roman beth she’arim in galilee

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A stamp seal of the Iron Age has been found in a Late Roman level at Beth She’arim, in a room that collapsed in the beginning of the 5th century C.E. The seal is of the bifacial type, with two complex scenes of royal and divine imagery, and is dated ca. 1000 B.C.E., some 1400 years prior to the archaeological context in which it was found. Although there are Iron Age II finds at Beth She’arim, the seal seems to have found its way to a later phase not by accident, but deliberately collected and reused in the Late Roman town. The paper will explore this unique seal and the phenomenon of readopting old seals as talisman antiques during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) licenses nos. G-42/ 2014, G-23/2015, G-83/2016 (when the seal was found), G-87/ 2017, G-71/2018, G-81/2019; and Israel Nature and Parks Authority permits. The excavation is funded by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation, no. 596/15, the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, and private donors. The 2016 season was conducted by Adi Erlich with the aid of Rona Evyasaf and a professional team. Ron Lavi was the area supervisor who found the seal. The excavators were volunteers and students from the University of Haifa and the Technion.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Schools of Oriental Research.


  • Antique
  • Beth She’arim
  • Heirloom
  • Iron Age
  • Stamp seal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Archaeology


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