Michael Metcalf writes:

The silences of the lead seals

Michael Metcalf is currently writing a monograph of Byzantine Cyprus, drawing together as many sources of evidence as possible - the written sources (of course); church architecture; excavations; field surveys; numismatics; and sigillography. He is currently pondering how to understand the gaps in the sigillographic evidence – a combination of reasons, e.g. pure chance in a too small random sample; failure to identify officials via monograms; failure to identify seals found in Istanbul as Cypriot; much lower volume of seal use in pre-Heraclian Cyprus; movement of settlements to higher ground, with losses of seals in more difficult terrain; (?) unsealed correspondence by the Comnenian ‘clan’; suspicion among finders, selectively, in response to policies of the Antiquities department.