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 a Bronze Age warrior’s tomb in southwestern Greece. The grave contained more than 50 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]


  • Ceram, C.W. The March of Archaeology, C.W.Ceram, translated from the German, Richard and Clara Winston, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York), c 1958.