Length: 1.100 cm
Width: 0.500 cm
Thickness: 0.500 cm
Room 12a: Greece Minoans
Green jasper seal-stone with signs in the Minoan 'hieroglyphic' script
Minoan, about 1700-1550 BC
An example of the earliest Cretan script
This tiny seal stone is a good example of the precise skill of the Minoan seal engravers, who achieved remarkably controlled results at a very small scale. All four sides are engraved with signs in the the earliest of the three main scripts surviving from Minoan Crete.
Known misleadingly as 'hieroglyphic', the script has no connection with hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, and 'pictographic' is a better description. The script, which presumably represents a native Minoan language, has not been deciphered. Examples of the other two scripts found in Bronze Age Crete, Linear A and Linear B, are also preserved in the British Museum.
R. Higgins, The Greek Bronze Age (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)