Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project


Cat. No.



Late Bronze Age (c. 1550-1200 B.C.)


Beth Shemesh, Stratum IV, square R 28 (XLVIII)


L: 8.3 cm; H: 3.5 cm; W: 4.9 cm


Limestone seal. Semi-conical with an oval bezel and a transversal suspension hoop

Accession Number

Jerusalem Rockefeller Museum IAA I.5825


Grant 1932: 21, No. 1107, pl. 48; Grant and Wright 1939: 162; Keel 2010: 258-259, no. 95; 1994a: 34, fig. 20; 1994b: 88; 1995: 211; Keel et al 1990: 386, no. 30, fig. 98; Knapp 2019: 126; Wachsmann 2013: 64, fig. 2.35; 2000: 135, fig. 6.30

Single-levelled galley to the right (to the left for impressions). The rendering is simplistic and very schematic. The hull consists of the ladder motif, made up of two parallel horizontal lines joined together by four vertical stanchions. The stempost is vertical, while the curving sternpost is represented by a single oblique stroke. Below the hull are five wheat shaped incisions representing the oars. There are two stick figures, with the large one standing amidships, while the smaller one is at the stern. Both of them hold vertical curving objects in their right hand. Another ladder motif is shown floating vertically in front of the large figure in the bow area. Wachsmann thinks that this element is not part of the first ship. There is a pair of three dots framing the composition from the left in a crescent shaped arrangement. Despite the sparse details, there is enough information provided to indicate that this is a single-levelled galley with an open rowers' gallery and a vertical stempost.

Grant, E. 1932. Ain Shems Excavations (Palestine): 1928–1929–1930–1931. Part II. Biblical and Kindred Studies no. 4. Haverford, Penn.: Haverford College.

Grant, E. and G.E. Wright. 1939. Ain Shems Excavations (Palestine), Vol. V (Biblical and Kindred Studies 8.) Haverford, PA: Haverford College.

Keel, O. 1994a. “Philistine ‘Anchor’ Seals,” IEJ 44.1/2: 21-35.

―――. 1994b. Studien zu den Stempelsiegeln aus Palästina/Israel IV. Mit Registern zu den Bäden I-IV (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 135). Fribourg/Göttingen: Universitätsverlag/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

―――. 1995. Corpus der Stempelsiegel-Amulette aus Palästina/Israel (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, Series Archaeologica 10). Fribourg and Göttingen.

―――. 2010. Corpus der Stempelsiegel-Amulette aus Palästina/Israel: Von den Anfängen bis zur Perserzeit: Katalog Band II: Von Bahan bis Tel Eton. Fribourg / Göttingen: Academic Press / Vandenhoeck Ruprecht.

Keel, O., Shuval, M. and Ch. Uehlinger. 1990. Studien zu den Stempelsiegeln aus Palästinal Israel III: Die frühe Eisenzeit, ein Workshop (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 100). Göttingen.

Knapp, A. B. 2018. Seafaring and Seafarers in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Wachsmann, S. 2000. “To the Sea of the Philistines,” in E.D. Oren (ed.) The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment. University Museum Monograph 108. Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, pp. 103–43.

―――. 2013. The Gurob Ship–Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

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