Stamp seal and modern impression: geometric pattern

Period: Halaf

Date: ca. 5600–5000 B.C.

Geography: Northern Mesopotamia or Syria

Culture: Halaf

Medium: Steatite or chlorite

Dimensions: 0.55 x 0.43 x 1.02 in. (1.4 x 1.09 x 2.59 cm)

Classification: Stone-Stamp Seals

Credit Line: Gift of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, 1986

Accession Number: 1986.311.1


Mesopotamian pendants of the Halaf period are usually of simple, mostly geometric forms. However, this stamp seal appears to represent a hedgehog, an animal that was native to northern Mesopotamia. The stamping surface is decorated with two superimposed grid patterns and a chevron pattern with a central line under the animal's head. Hedgehogs continued to be represented in Mesopotamia for millennia but the animal's symbolic or mythological significance is unknown.