Sunday, 17 August 2014

German Couple Stopped at Milos Airport with Some Kind of Amphora

Presumably a stock photo
 It is reported that two German nationals, a 34-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, were arrested at Milos airport on Saturday after an ancient amphora was discovered in their luggage. They were to face charges over the weekend of illegally trading in antiquities, the case file was submitted to a prosecutor on the island of Syros, the administrative capital of the Cyclades group of islands. The amphora involved was 32 centimeters in height with a tapered base and was pronounced to be of Roman period date by archaeologists who examined it and was sent to Culture Ministry authorities for further assessment.

I am trying to figure out which East Mediterranean Roman amphorae came that small. Most small amphoras start off at twice that height (the things were made for bulk transport after all). There are some ancient Greek ones 35-40 cm tall, but these are bulbous, flatter based (Marseillaise 2 for example, from the end of VI to the beginning of IV Century B.C., Samos from VII to the beginning of V Century B.C.). The only Roman amphora that this might correspond with is 'Keay LII' made in Calabria and Sicily (4th cent onwards can be 40 to 50cm high), but that does not have a tapered base, nor - since it had a pretty local distribution and in the western Mediterranean - should it be occurring in any quantity in the Cyclades.

Another source however describes the vessel as an  amphoriskos (with the neck and handle partially detached), which would suit, but then they in tern tend to be much smaller. Anyway whatever it is, they should not have been trying to walk off with it. 

'German couple stopped at Milos airport with amphora', , Sunday August 17, 2014

UPDATE 17th August 20:20.
It may be significant that the page with this report now seems to be inactive.

1 comment:

Tony said...


Half size amphorae are pretty common in Mediterranean Roman and Late Roman/Early Byzantine contexts, and 32cm is much too large for an amphoriskos (less than 15 or even 10 cm). The amphora on the photograph looks Medieval rather than Roman, but could well be the 32cm item -- it seems to come from the sea, as one expects on Milos.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.