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Cylinder Seal Glyptic in Predynastic Egypt and Neighboring Regions

Jane A. Hill


Prior to the last decade, few cylinder seals and no impressed sealings had ever been discovered in Predynastic Egyptian archaeological contexts. This monograph reviews important new finds from Abydos (Upper Egyptian Cemetery U) which demonstrate that cylinder seals were indeed used for sealing purposes, as well as other finds from Egypt and Nubia, which may be reevaluated in light of these discoveries. Seals and sealings from Lower Nubia and the southern Palestinian site of ‘En Besor are examined to trace the development of the Predynastic Egyptian glyptic style from the Naqada IId period to the beginning of the First Dynasty. This development is used to suggest a sequence for other Predynastic art works without provenance. The social and political implications of early Egyptian cylinder sea use are also examined using models established in the study of Mesopotamian seal use and sealing practices