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Ancient Seals

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Breaking Ancient Seals
The University of Michigan Papyrus Collection

Encyclopædia Britannica:

Seals came into use before the invention of writing for the securing of jars, bales, bags, baskets, boxes, doors, etc., and this use continued throughout ancient times. The method was either to shape clay over the stopper or lid or to make a fastening with cord and place clay around the knot and then impress it with the seal.

...The method of sealing a papyrus document was to roll it into a tube, tie a strand or cord around the centre, and seal a clay lump over the knot. This method continued into the Christian Era, from which time a great number of Greek papyri have survived in Egypt.