Heirloom cylinder seals at Mleiha (Sharjah Emirate, UAE)
History and Archaeology
cylinder seal; Neo-Assyrian; Iron Age; Mleiha; snake cult; SE-Arabia
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Very few cylinder seals are reported from South-East Arabia. The paper presents two cylinder seals that were found as heirlooms at Mleiha, UAE. The first is a Neo-Assyrian seal with a ritual scene: kneeling worshippers around a tree of life. The second is a seal of local manufacture. The positioning of its image, a human figure holding an Arabian horned viper, is turned 90°, questioning whether it was ever used as a seal or rather worn as an amulet or bead. Local seal production and seal use is discussed. Seals from the Iron Age II suggest the object is of local production, as does the iconography that can be linked to Iron Age snake cults in South-East Arabia. Comparable snake representations are however, occasionally still found in the Mleiha / PIR period.
Overlaet, B., Jasim, S., & Yousif, E. (2023). Heirloom cylinder seals at Mleiha (Sharjah Emirate, UAE). Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/aae.12233