A Magical Rock Crystal Gem from Apollonia-Arsūf, Israel

Stefan Heidemann, Annette Zeischka-Kenzler, Oren Tal, Dana Ashkenazi, Omri Dvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses an inscribed large crystal rock gem (2.70 x 2.15 x 1.65 cm), retrieved during the excavations at Apollonia-Arsūf. It bears a two-line magical inscription written in linear Kūfic script. It is the first magical rock crystal ever found in a proper archaeological context. Based on its appearance, it can only be vaguely dated between the eighth to the twelfth centuries. A late date would make it contemporary to the associated ceramics in that layer. The relative proximity of the find place to Egypt makes an origin of the talisman from Ftimid Egypt likely, as may also be suggested in our analytical appendix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Islamic Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Arsūf
  • Ayyūbid period
  • Crusader
  • Fātimid
  • Linear Kūfic script
  • Magic
  • Palestine
  • Rock crystal
  • Talisman


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