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cylinder seal

a small carved cylinder used especially by the ancient Mesopotamians to impress a design in wet clay.
Origin of cylinder seal
1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cylinder-seal
Historical Examples
  • The cylinder-seal was employed in Assyria from the earliest periods of her history, Fig. 72.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
  • There is apparently only one isolated occurrence of a camel on a cylinder-seal, and that belongs to the Persian period.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
  • No. 85-4-8, 1; it is shaped like a cylinder-seal, and is inscribed with an incantation for Shamash-Killni.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
Contemporary definitions for cylinder-seal

a small barrel-shaped stone object engraved with a design, scene, or inscription which was impressed onto clay when the seal was rolled over tablet


People used cylinder seals to 'seal' ancient documents for about 3,000 years.

Usage Note

archaeology's 21st Century Lexicon
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