The object of this research is the seal, a material culture product which represents a privileged tool for the analysis of economic and administrative features of past societies. The author investigates the role of this tool in relation to the structural changes that affected Near Eastern communities at the turn of the late IV and early III millennium B.C.

The second half of the fourth millennium represents a pivotal moment in the history of Mesopotamia named the "urban revolution" by Gordon Childe, an expression that refers to major technological, demographic and organisational changes leading to the formation of the first proto-statual organisations. This 'revolution' spread from Lower Mesopotamia to the whole Near Eastern region, influencing local communities in several ways.

At the beginning of the III millennium B.C.in the northern regions - such as southern Anatolia, the urban experience came to a sudden halt, as did any contact with the southern communities. A process of cultural regionalization followed this, giving birth to an interesting patchwork of heterogeneous socio-economic situations. The choice of Upper Mesopotamia and  Eastern Anatolia as the main study settings was dictated by these regions' richness: they represent a peripheral area that was diversely affected by the social changes taking place in southern territories, and these differences are reflected in the modes of manufacture and use of seals. 

AUTHOR: Susanna Cereda

REFEREE: Marcella Frangipane

UNIVERSITY: Sapienza Università di Roma. Department of Scienze dell'Antichità.

DEGREE: Laurea Triennale (B.A.)