عنوان مقاله [English]
Seals and sealings are important artifacts which are known to be used to mark personal property or to limit access to the main commodities in administrative institutions since their earliest appearance in the archaeological contexts of the Late Neolithic in the ancient Near East. Thus, they have valuable information of the socio-economic history of ancient societies. However, since they are found mainly in uncontrolled old excavations or plundered by illegal excavators, they have been studied more often through art historical approach. The present paper studies an unprovenanced contest cylinder seal which was given to the directors of the Iranian archaeological team during 1996 surveys in Silakhor plain in the East Central Zagros by a villager and claimed to be found on the surface of Tepe Keydan. Previously, 10 contest cylinder seals had been found in the Central Zagros, but no comprehensive study has been done on these seals. The goal of this paper is to date Keydan cylinder seal (KCS) and search origins, backgrounds, contexts and functions of the contest seals in the Central Zagros through examination of their style and iconography as well as archaeological data and Mesopotamian textual evidence. Thus, KCS is dated to the ED III and may be dated to the ED III b. It has been suggested that the contest seals are of Susa or Mesopotamian origin. Given the increasing interactions between the Central Zagros, Susa and southern Mesopotamia in the mid-third millennium B.C, they may have been imported to the region through looting in wars, movement of people for example those Elamite soldiers which were recruited as military personnel by southern Mesopotamian powers, or most importantly through trade. It has also been suggested that the contest seals might have been belonged to local political, economic or military elites as their counterparts in southern Mesopotamia and probably used to seal clay sealings.