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Title: Notes on Seals and Seal Use in Western Iran from c. 900-600 BCE
Author(s): MARAS, Sabrina
Journal: Iranica Antiqua
Volume: 40    Date: 2005   
Pages: 133-147
DOI: 10.2143/IA.40.0.583204

Abstract :
Beyond the bounds of the Neo-Elamite state, centered in the main on Susa and its highland hinterland, a number of less distinct political entities, including the Manneans (in northwest Iran), the Kingdom of Ellippi (in modern-day Luristan), and, still more ambiguously, the Medes (in western central Iran), and the Persians (in Fars), were each beginning to emerge during the course of the first half of the first millennium BCE. Yet the material culture of Iran in the Iron II and Iron III periods does not always seem to reflect the separate existence of these latter highland entities. Additionally, beyond the bounds of Elam, there is still little textual evidence from Iron Age Iran as a whole. Indeed, the Aramaic inscription from Bukan (Lemaire, 1998, pp. 15-30) constitutes one of the rare exceptions to the general rule. This is where the study of seals — in particular the imagery they display — has the potential to be a valuable investigative tool. Seals can of course reflect, both in their use and in their iconography, elements of real or perceived political and social identity; and, on occasion, they may even help to document details of the forging of one or another given identity, either in alliance with or in opposition to a more established neighboring political power.

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