Minoan sealstone

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A gem-grade seal-stone (top) and its impression.

Minoan seal-stones are carved gemstones produced in the Minoan civilization. They have been found in quantity at specific sites, for example in Knossos, Mallia and Phaistos.

Minoan seal-stones are of a small size, 'pocket-size', in the manner of a personal amulet. They might be thought of as equivalent to the pocket-sized, 1 inch (3 cm) scaraboid seals of Ancient Egypt. However Minoan seals can be larger, with largest examples of many inches.

Subjects depicted[edit]

These include with animals, dance, and goddesses. One common iconographic motif in Minoan art, especially frescoes, is bull-leaping; the example illustrated shows leapers and a bull. Other themes are varied, including for example: 'pottery and a plant'-(with 5 moon/planet crescents), 'confronted-goats', and a 'single bird'.[1]

Significant archaeological finds[edit]

In 2015, an international team of archaeologists led by University of Cincinnati researchers discovered the Griffin Warrior Tomb, an undisturbed Bronze Age warrior’s tomb at Pylos in southwestern Greece.[2] The grave contained more than 50 gold or hardstone seal-stones, with intricate carvings in Minoan style showing goddesses, altars, reeds, lions and bulls, some with bull-jumpers soaring over the bull’s horns – all in Minoan style and probably made in Crete.[3] The Pylos Combat Agate is the most remarkable of this.


  1. ^ The March of Archaeology, pg. 63.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Bronze Age warrior's tomb