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Seals and Amulets in Turkey

More than 600 Ancient Seals and Amulets Found

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Archaeologists have uncovered an unusually large quantity of amulets, stamp seals and cylinder seals in an ancient sanctuary in Turkey, which date back from the 7 th to the 4 th centuries BC.  The discovery provides a fascinating insight into the beliefs and faith of the people of the time.

In total, more than 600 seals and amulets were uncovered at the sacred site of the storm and weather god Jupiter Dolichenus, one of the most important deities of the Roman Empire, which is located near the ancient city of Doliche.

 “Such large amounts of seal consecrations are unheard-of in any comparable sanctuary”, said excavation director Professor Dr. Engelbert Winter and archaeologist Dr. Michael Blömer at the end of the excavation season.

The types of seals and amulets are wide and varied. Some are made of glass, while others are stone and quartz ceramics.  Many show scenes of adoration, others depict animals or people, and some contain geometric ornaments and astral symbols. Another popular theme was a royal hero fighting animals and hybrid creatures.

The items, which would have been strung on chains and worn around the neck, were used for worshipping: “Even those images that do not depict a deity express strong personal piety: with their seals, people consecrated an object to their god which was closely associated with their own identity”, said Dr Blömer.

According to Professor Winter, “The large find provides new impetus for research to answer unsolved questions of cult practices, cult continuity and cult extension” dating from the Iron Age until the Roman Empire.

By John Black

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