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Byzantine amphora

Byzantine amphora found off the coast of Turkey

Amphora, 5th-7th centuries CE, clay, gift of L.W. Headman, 1995.1.14.

This amphora was found off the coast of Turkey, although the exact shipwreck it came from is unknown. This type of amphora was made first in the 5th century CE, but was more common in the following centuries. It has a wide geographical distribution. Examples have been found at the Athenian Agora in Greece, Yassiada shipwreck off NW Turkey, Egypt, and Cyprus. Amphorae are the main vessels used for the sea transport of commodities in this period. This vessel could have held 7-8 liters of liquid, probably olive oil or wine. The term amphora comes from the Greek word amphoreus meaning “a vessel carried on both sides.”  The encrustations visible on the vessel’s surface are caused by centuries of wear in the marine environment. Tube worms attached themselves to the neck and handle of the vessel while it lay at the bottom of the sea.

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