the study of seals attached to documents as a source of historical information

Sigillography is the study of the seals used on documents.[1] It is one of the auxiliary sciences of history. It has links to diplomatics, heraldry, social history, and the history of art.

Pine resin seal on vellum tag or tail of an English deed (1638).

This field of study was started in the 15th century by students of old artifacts. Then it became more well known in the 16th and 17th centuries.[2][3] At first this field of study was thought of as part of diplomatics. But over time it became known as its own field of study.


  1. "Ancient Seals—What Were They?". JW.ORG. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  2. Harvey, P.D.A.; McGuinness, Andrew (1996). A Guide to British Medieval Seals. London: British Library and Public Record Office. pp. 22–6.
  3. New, Elizabeth (2010). Seals and Sealing Practices. Archives and the User. Vol. 11. London: British Records Association. pp. 29–32. ISBN 978-0-900222-15-3.