||The cultural and historical setting of the Near East provides a unique opportunity to study a longer usage of sealing practices in administration and magic, which extends beyond the constraints of a specific time period or region. Comparing ancient practices with more recent ones can offer important insights into the development of sealing practices and provide answers to specific questions related to the handling of seals and the social status of the seal bearer. Since the initiative towards the workshop was taken by staff members of the NVIC, the focus was on Egypt but other cultures in the Near East and Central Asia were also considered. Following up on the workshop, the present volume retains the geographical and chronological scope, but added a few contributions dealing with the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods. Glancing at the content, the reader will be struck by the diachronic and spatial persistence of the use of seals for administrative and other purposes, and by their multi-functionality.