Sunday, April 27, 2008

Were there commercial brands 5000 years ago?

Phil Paine has argued for a long time that many of the economic activities that we think of as characteristically modern -- especially commercial trade networks -- go back much farther in history and are typical of many cultures. Here is an interesting piece of news from the archaeological front. David Wengrow, an archaeologist at University College London, is now arguing that the well-known Mesopotamian bottle stoppers, which bear stamped-clay symbols, were in some cases used as brand logos. Here's the article from the New Scientist.

Image: One of the bottle stoppers in question, or perhaps a seal that produced bottle stoppers.


  1. Anonymous3:51 pm

    What a pity the first translators didn't understand the meaning of the Akkadian phrase on the stopper: "roll up the rim to win"....

  2. Anonymous8:43 am

    Hummm...and all names, nations, religions are evidence of brands, along with every other purpose of identification or communication? I wonder. We marketers struggle with defining just what a brand/what branding is, so finding evidence of it 5,000 years ago is, well, a bit dicey, for starters. But it's a fascinating idea, and I've blogged about it a bit at DIM BULB if you'd like to check it out: