Gold signet ring from Mycenae
Seals would have played an important role in mycenean society and, as functional objects, they would have served three main purposes: securing, marking, and authorizing. These functions are attested through the different types of carriers of ancient seal impressions. When securing an object, seals would have been impressed on clay lumps placed on an object, such as a container or a door, in such a way that it could not be opened without the destruction of the clay lump and the impression(s) on it. In their use for marking, seals were impressed on clay lumps hanging with a string from an object or even directly on an object, such as a pot. In these cases, the seal impression must have provided information which was somehow related to the object, such as its contents, its provenance, its creator, or its owner. When used as proof of authorization seals were impressed on free standing lumps of clay which were perhaps used as tokens, i.e. providing authorization for certain dealings, services or commodities, or even as receipts.