pretty impressive given they didn't have magnifying glasses in 1500 BCE. i guess the artisan had excellent vision.
Not being in front of a computer or mobile screen all day helped!
There's quite a history in premodern-to-modern times of something being attributed as "first appearing" in the classical period, and then everyone being surprised to discover a much, much earlier example.
Heck, an instance of this which was falsifiable all along was the idea that Archimedes invented the Archimedes screw. Why else would it be named after him? Well, he visited Egypt and wrote about the water screws he saw in use there. They'd been there, as far as he knew, forever.
We know a good amount of what was going on in the classical period because there was only a moderate amount of disruption between then and now. But the fact of something's existence is entirely unrelated to whether we've noticed it. The odds are overwhelming that there was a lot of material comparable to this ring before and after 1500 BC. We just don't know about it.
"A lot" is a fairly vague quantifier, but I'd wager you're wrong regardless of how you define it.
We've now collectively spent about a century excavating all of the most interesting sites that we can find, and still this artifact is unique enough that the archeologist in charge of this excavation is quoted as saying:
> This seal should be included in all forthcoming art history texts, and will change the way that prehistoric art is viewed.
Are there other artifacts like this one from the same time period? Almost certainly. But apparently they're rare enough that we're finding them at the rate of about one per century.
Quite an impressive job cleaning it off, too! Can’t believe the intricate details would survive so long underground. Almost makes me wonder if it was “enhanced” in any way during the cleaning process.
The Minoans' trading hub on Thera (present day Santorini) largely disappeared into the Aegean after a massive volcanic eruption in the 1600s BCE.
Bettany Hughes has the full story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VJqnTlbCS0