An extremely old stamp.

This ancient stamp dates to the 22nd century BC, and is from the holy city of Nippur, located southeastern Iraq. Nippur was the religious centre of Mesopotamia for thousands of years, and was believed to have been where Enlil created mankind.

Translated, the inscription on the stamp reads: Narâm-Sîn built the house/temple of the god Enlil. As the British Museum state: “Such stamps were used to impress or mark the bricks of important religious and public buildings. They are therefore an important source for the identification of architecture and a valuable criterion for the date of a building.” The impression in front of the stamp is modern.

Artefact courtesy of & currently located at The British Museum, London. Photo taken by Klaus Wagensonner.


The earliest form of printing: Akkadian Stamp of the Builder of the Temple of Ishtar,  Naram-Sîn, from Akkad, Sumer c. 2291-2254 BC

A royal inscription on a clay and gold stamp in Sumerian cuneiform, it reads:


There are three more brick stamps of the Akkadian King Naram-Sîn with the same text known: one in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, one in the Kalamazoo Public Library, Michigan and a tiny fragment in the British Museum. Naram-Sîn was the first king to use blocks for printing bricks. Prior to him the inscriptions on the bricks were written by hand. These 3 brick stamps with the known bricks, are the earliest evidence of printing, in this case blindprinting on soft clay.

Naram-Sîn was the third successor and grandson of King Sargon of Akkad. Under Naram-Sîn the Akkadian Empire reached its zenith. He was the first Mesopotamian king known to have claimed divinity for himself, and one of the first to be called “King of the Four Quarters.” There is an inscription on the Bassetki Statue from the reign of Naram-Sîn with an inscription mentioning the construction of a temple in Akkad after he had crushed a revolt against his rule. (Perhaps this is the the temple mentioned on the stamp?) The Bassetki Statue was looted from the Iraq Museum during the 2003 invasion of Iraq but subsequently retrieved and returned to the museum.

Akkad was the capital of the Akkadian Empire, which was the dominant political force in Mesopotamia at the end of the third millennium BC. The existence of Akkad is known only from textual sources; its location has not yet been identified, although scholars have proposed a number of different sites. Most recent proposals point to a location east of the Tigris.

More about the Akkadian Empire…

Shabti of Nubian Queen Maleteral. Shabtis were workers provided to assist the deceased with chores in their next life. In contrast with Egyptians, people of Nubia (Sudan) only placed shabtis in graves for a relatively brief period in history, 750-250 B.C. Excavated by George Reisner for the MFA-Harvard University joint expedition beginning in 1916.

In the ancient Nile valley, one’s success in the afterlife depended on objects. Burial offerings were thought to accompany a soul from one life into the next. Thousands of years later, many of these artifacts can be found within museum storerooms, often still grouped as they once were found. Revered and studied by audiences no one could have expected.

This image is part of my series, Hereafter, which explores artifacts in the storage rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, whose Egyptian collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. These objects are some of the earliest acquired by the MFA Boston and they form a cornerstone upon which an encyclopedic museum was built.

Photography by Diana Zlatanovski.


Settler’s Grove, Idaho Panhandle National Forest. According the the US Forest Service website, some of the cedars are at least 400 years old.


Αμφίπολη: Το θαύμα συνεχίζεται -Βρέθηκε το κεφάλι της Σφίγγας

Αμφίπολη: Βρέθηκε το κεφάλι της ανατολικής Σφίγγας του τύμβου Καστά

Το μαρμάρινο κεφάλι Σφίγγας, αποκάλυψε η ανασκαφική έρευνα στον τύμβο Καστά της Αμφίπολης. Σύμφωνα με την επίσημη ενημέρωση του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού το κεφάλι είναι ακέραιο με ελάχιστη θραύση στη μύτη, έχει ύψος 0,60 μ., ενώ ταυτίζεται και αποδίδεται στον κορμό της ανατολικής Σφίγγας, όπου ήταν ένθετο.

 «Στρέφεται προς την είσοδο και φέρει πόλο. Στο κάτω μέρος του λαιμού σώζεται ακέραιη η διατομή της έδρασης στο σημείο ένθεσης στον κορμό της. 

Έχει κυματιστούς βοστρύχους, που φέρουν ίχνη κόκκινου χρώματος, οι οποίοι πέφτουν στον αριστερό ώμο της, ενώ συγκρατούνται από λεπτή ταινία. Πρόκειται για γλυπτό εξαιρετικής τέχνης. Βρέθηκαν, επίσης, θραύσματα από τα φτερά των Σφιγγών» σημειώνεται στην επίσημη ανακοίνωση του ΥΠΠΟ, όπου αναφέρεται ακόμη: «Σήμερα, πραγματοποιήθηκε δοκιμαστική τομή (2Χ2μ.), στην είσοδο του τέταρτου χώρου και σε βάθος 0,45μ. Μπροστά στην είσοδο, στον χώρο αυτό, αποκαλύφθηκαν δυο τμήματα, από το δυτικό θυρόφυλλο, τα οποία και συνανήκουν.

Το πρώτο έχει διαστάσεις 0,89Χ1,49Χ0,15 και το δεύτερο 0,89Χ1,30Χ0,15. Επίσης, αποκαλύφθηκε το βόρειο τμήμα του μαρμάρινου κατωφλίου, το οποίο έχει συνολικά μήκος 2,15μ. πλάτος 1,6μ. και πάχος 0,25μ. Φέρει κυρτές βαθύνσεις, για την ένθεση των μεταλλικών τροχιών που διευκολύνουν την κίνηση των μαρμάρινων θυροφύλλων.

Όπως προκύπτει από την συγκεκριμένη τομή, εδώ υπήρχε δάπεδο από πωρόλιθους, που έφεραν λευκό επίχρισμα. Εκατέρωθεν του κατωφλίου εντοπίστηκαν, κατά χώραν, οι πωρόλιθοι του δαπέδου. Στην ανατολική πλευρά της τομής το δάπεδο φαίνεται ότι έχει υποστεί καθίζηση, ενώ δυτικότερα το δάπεδο είναι κατεστραμμένο και οι λίθοι του πεσμένοι στο εσωτερικό της τομής».

Τις επόμενες ημέρες έχει προγραμματιστεί η αφαίρεση πεσμένων πωρόλιθων από το εσωτερικό του τρίτου χώρου καθώς και των τμημάτων της θύρας, τα οποία περιγράφει η ανακοίνωση. Παράλληλα, θα ενισχυθούν οι υποστυλώσεις, προκειμένου να συνεχιστεί η ανασκαφική έρευνα στην υπόλοιπη έκταση του τρίτου χώρου.

Πηγή: ΑΜΠΕ

Women and Weaving in the Ancient Near East

From earliest times in the Near East, women were the producers of cloth for garments and usage inside the home. In ancient Mesopotamia activities relating to the production of cloth were ideologically linked with women and femininity. Some archaeologists suggest that increasing poverty due to the annexation of privately owned land left many families and women in particular, with no choice but to offer themselves for employment within (or be sent to) these powerful estates. Women were the acceptable labour force for the production of textiles as there was, within Mesopotamia, an ideology that linked………. Read More

Read and find more great archaeology blogs at: Archaeology Blog Project