Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

Seal H-166 is held to be of foreign origin. It has two engraved faces. The engraving are pictographic. In my opinion, the seal most probably produced address labels for an intriguing destination.

My hypothesis is that the half of the address label shown on the left is a pictograph of the stepped pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara in Egypt. The key identifying features are firstly, five step levels leading up to a sixth level which bears the Egyptian symbol for sun, and secondly the distinctive perimeter wall with its recessed design, which is presumably meant to convey the impression of fortifications. The orientation of the building on the seal, whereby northwest is conventionally placed at the top, matches that of the Djoser pyramid.

The second half of the address label (not shown here) depicts a figure, wearing a tunic, with the head of a bird of prey (a hawk or a falcon). It may depict a priest associated with the Egyptian god Horus. There are also two sets of three pyramids shown in profile, one set mirroring the other. Interestingly, the pyramid complex at Giza is said to mirror that of the earlier pyramids at Saqqara. Lastly, on the falcon side of the seal are two symbols for water (again mirrored). It may be that the water represents the Nile Delta and the upper reaches of the Nile River, and thence the unification of the lands of Upper and Lower Egypt.


My conclusion is that goods may well have gone from or via Harappa to the temple complex at Saqqara in Egypt.

Illustrative Text Reference:

Harappa: Seal: H-166 a and b: Jagat Pati Joshi and Asko Parpola, 1987: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 1: Page 205: Collections in India: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

Image Credit:

Pyramid of Djoser: Lynn Fawcett, 2017.