In all their material and symbolic manifestations, seals are not only central objects of archaeological and cultural studies research, they also constitute an essential topic in interdisciplinary discourse. Seals represent a category of objects that have been and are used in the most varied of times, spaces and cultures, and which, as 'cultural artefacts' conceived and made by humans, fulfill the roles and functions ascribed to them. Seals and seals are considered in the focus of cultural technology, so that the functions of sealing and the people who seal them come to the fore. In the interdisciplinary environment, new questions are raised and methods are applied that allow the evidence to speak in its social and temporal context. For example, ancient oriental epics, images of pharaonic Egypt and epigraphic documents of the Greek world are brought into the discourse. The interdisciplinary composition makes this versatile access as well as the chronological foray through almost four millennia – from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the end of the 1st millennium AD – possible.
J. Auenmüller brings to life the images of pharaonic Egypt in which seals are represented as objects and the sealing as an action. He presents market scenes as well as locations where wine, beer, oil and honey are produced and thereby discusses both the iconographic reality of the images in temples and elite tombs and the pictorial discourse on the seal(s) in pharaonic culture. – The four-winged scarab is a widespread motif on official Iron Age seals in the Syrian-Palestinian region. R. Schmitt discusses the origin and mediation of this motif and states that parallel developments are most likely. – The considerable number of around 200,000 seal impressions that were applied to documents have been preserved from Hellenistic and Roman times. However, the research faces the challenge that almost all of the associated documents have been destroyed. The contributions by N. Moustakis and T. Schreiber make this discrepancy clear and present methods for reconstructing the functions and contexts of sealing. N. Moustakis uses epigraphic sources to approach the phenomenon of sealing in the Greek world. She does not focus on the seal artifact, but analyzes inventory lists, contracts and decrees of honor that document the use of seals. T. Schreiber focuses on the meaning and function of Hellenistic seals with portraits of rulers. Using seal impressions from the archives of Uruk/Orchoi and Seleucia on the Tigris, which bear the portrait of Seleucid rulers, as well as seal impressions with portraits of Ptolemaic rulers from the archives of Kallipolis, Edfu and Nea Paphos, he pursues the central question of who held these seals sealed. In another contribution, he examines the sigla from Doliche, today's Gaziantep, near the Turkish-Syrian border, which are closely linked to the cult of Iuppiter Dolichenus. – M. Grünbart also takes up the public function of these artefacts through his analysis of metal stamps from Byzantium (6th–12th centuries AD); he emphasizes the widespread use of identical stamps, which indicates duplication; so not only seal impressions would be serial objects, but also the stamps themselves. – The contribution by M. Odenweller finally presents a classification of the seal rings of the Merovingian period.