A Fascinating Salvaged Shipwreck Roman Period Pottery Amphora c. 2nd-3rdC A.D.


Origin: Mediterranean
Period: Roman
Provenance: A single owner estate
Date: c.2nd/ 3rdC A.D.
Height: 9 inches
Width: 4 inches

Recovered from the seabed fully enveloped with sea bed encrustations, the classically shaped amphora having an elongated conical body tapering to a peg toe, hollowed; rounded shoulder merging with long narrow neck; biconical rim moulding., the handles with two grooves from top of neck to shoulder with wheel-ribbing covering body and shoulder. There are Lime deposits and root marks amongst the encrustation.

Intact, this suggestive piece of salvage is in as found, original condition. The seabed encrustations remain undisturbed and when in the sea, these encrustations protect treasures that are thousands of years old. Internally, the amphora is perfectly smooth. This amphora is fresh to the market.

Roman amphorae were used for many purposes, particularly for storage purposes. They varied considerably in size from as small as this one to over a metre high. They would be sealed in various ways, with a stopper and cloth and sometimes the stopper would be sealed with the merchants or owners seal. In some periods the shape was also used for luxury pottery, which might be elaborately painted. Stoppers of perishable materials, which have rarely survived, were used to seal the contents. Most were produced with a pointed base, like this one, to allow upright storage by being partly embedded in sand or soft ground. This also facilitated transport by ship, whereby the amphorae were tightly packed together with ropes passed through their handles to prevent breaking or toppling during rough seas.

Deeply evocative, this is just what we like to see, a piece that now matter how hard one tries, you cannot begin to imagine where this object has been, how it was lost, who owned it or how it betrayed its owner, now recovered from its ocean graveyard, these very stories it would surely so like to tell.