Artefact parameters

Differentiating the ancient seals record between artefacts and images is crucial to our approach. It allows to reconcile the fact that impressions of one seal (= image 1) can be impressed on two or more different tablets or clay lumps (artefacts 1, 2, …) on the one hand, and that one tablet (= artefact 3) can bear the impressions of various seals (= images 2, 3, …) on the other.

We register the following parameters for seals and sealed objects:

artefactID internal ACAWAI-CS project identifier
externalIDs and links to online ressourcesexternal persistent identifiers in online repositories like CDLI p-, q- an s-nos (wherever available); links
type and subtypeseal (cylinder, stamp)
tablet (tablet, envelope, label)
clay lump (door sealing, container sealing)
genre and subgenre for tablets only: legal, administrative, letter (sale contract, loan, inheritance document etc.)
physical dimensionslength (x), width (y), depth (z) (in cm)
material and colourthe degree of specification available differs greatly and ranges from precise geological determinations to broad categories (red, blue, yellow stone…). Since colouring was crucial to ancient classification systems, we include this information wherever we can.
production and its historical datingthe reason for producing an inscribed and sealed clay tablet is usually recorded in its textual content: often a legal or administrative transaction involving several stakeholders and officials. This event is often dated resulting in a precise historical dating for the artefact. Personal names, in particular royal names, mentioned in a cylinder seal inscription equally result in historical datings (time-spans) but are recorded togehter with the prosopographical data.
disovery and archaeological datingsite and date of discovery with specifications on archaeological find spot, building context and stratigraphy whenever available. The archaeological dating depends on the stratigraphic context in which the artefact was found.
acquisition and locationmeans, date and source of acquisition by the current holder (collection) of the artefact; link to online resources
Table 1: Artefact parameter registered by the ACAWAI-CS project.

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