Home Page

Educational Site
Ancient Texts Relating to the Biblical World
 MRZH Text
 Cuneiform Tablet
 Amman Citadel
 Heshbon Ostraca
 Incirli Stela
 Cylinder Seals
 El-Amarna Tablets
 Kingdom of Sam'al
     Bar Rakkib II, III

Biblical Manuscripts
 Leningrad Codex
 Leningrad f.40b
 Leningrad Carpet Page

Dead Sea Scrolls
 Isaiah Pesher
 Copper Scroll
 Words of Moses

 Etruscan Pendant
 Deity on a Bull
 Sasanian Seals

 Annenberg Exhibition

 Chicken Little
 Papyrus Grain

 Qusayr `Amra
 St. Catherine's

Scholarly Site



What's New

Educational Site

Annenberg Exhibition


4. Achaemenid Agate Cylinder Seal, 1900.53.0052A, Persian Period c. 5th-4th centuries B.C.E.

This is another roll-out image of a cylinder seal in the Spurlock Collection (see no. 3), showing three Magi, or Zoroastrian priests. Each Magus holds a bundle of sticks, and all rest upon a winged sun-disk. Note how the artist has used the pattern in the agate stone to form an apex with the sun-disk. The image at the top shows a 360 degree rollout of the cylinder seal, the bottom left a conventional photograph, and the bottom right an image of a seal impression captured using Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) technology, developed by Hewlett-Packard Imaging Labs, with specular enhancement. A PTM image is created by taking many digital photographs, each from a different light angle. The images are then combined using special software, the result being an image in which one can view an object from any light angle.  For the undergraduate research project on cylinder seals (see no. 3) the students had access to imagery never before employed in the study of these important cultural objects—and hence they were able to examine and analyze them at a level of detail that can lead to important discoveries (for an example, see no. 5).

Photograph by Bruce Zuckerman, Marilyn Lundberg and Wayne Pitard, West Semitic Research. Courtesy Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Previous Next

Home Page | Educational Site | Scholarly Site | Projects | Information | What's New

Copyright © 2000-2016 West Semitic Research Project. All rights reserved. Contact us at