A small, barrel-shaped stone object with a hole down the center and an incised design or cuneiform inscription. It was originally rolled on clay when soft to indicate ownership or to authenticate a document and was used chiefly in Mesopotamia from the late 4th to the 1st millennium bc.
- Despite the disaster in the museum, virtually all 80,000 of the institution's cuneiform tablets appear to be safe, as do most of the precious Mesopotamian cylinder seals.
- The earliest known gems are cylinder seals made in Babylon about 4000 BC.
- More than 50 museums from countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East contributed nearly 400 rare works of art including sculpture, jewelry, vessels, weapons, inlays, cylinder seals and tablets.
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