What’s the definition of bulla?
1. Byzantine emperor’s formal decree.
2. Lump of clay used to seal documents, often bearing the impression of a seal.
3. Bull-shaped vessel from Cyprus.
4. Minoan ritual involving leaping over a bull.
A bulla (plural: bullae) is a lump of clay used to seal documents, often bearing the impression of a seal. They are usually discovered in excavations preserved as hardened ceramic lumps—due to being baked by fire. Although such fires may have destroyed the building in which they were kept and the documents to which they were attached, the flames made the bullae virtually indestructible.
The bulla pictured features the signature of King Hezekiah and a winged sun disc. It was discovered in the Ophel excavations, directed by Eilat Mazar, at the base of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.