Minoan sealstone

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A gem-grade seal-stone and its impression.

Minoan seal-stones are gemstones, or near-gem-quality stones produced in the Minoan civilization. They were 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.

Topics of the seal-stones[edit]

The topics of the seal-stones centers on the Minoan civilization, with animals, dance, goddesses, etc. One common iconographic art theme in Minoan art, especially frescoes, was bull-leaping; the example seal-stone 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 an undisturbed Bronze Age warrior’s tomb at Pylos in southwestern Greece. 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.[2]


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