Height: 3.600 cm
Diameter: 1.700 cm
Excavated by Sir Leonard Woolley
Room 56: Mesopotamia
Green sparry calcite seal
From Ur, southern
Early Dynastic period, about 2600 BC
Found in one of the graves in the royal cemetery at Ur (PG1774)
During the first half of the third millennium
BC a new range of seal designs emerged in southern Mesopotamia.
They can be divided into two main types: the combat scene (as seen
on an shell cylinder seal also in The British Museum) and the
banquet scene, as represented here. Banquets were clearly an
important part of life for some people and appear not only on
cylinder seals but also on more ornate objects like the Standard of
Ur. The image may have had a religious significance since the
figures wear fleece garments like those worn by some
The banquets depicted takes different forms. In some the figures drink through tubes from a large vessel, while in others they drink from cups or eat from a table. This last form is mostly found in the north-west.
Many seals with banquet scenes are found in tombs belonging to women. It is possible that the two types of seal design reflect a division between the sexes: men having seals showing combat scenes.
D.J. Wiseman, Catalogue of the Western Asiat (London, 1962)
C.L. Woolley and others, Ur Excavations, vol. II: The R (London, The British Museum Press, 1934)