Body type dating

Neck amphorae were commonly used in the early history of ancient Greece, but were gradually replaced by the one-piece type from around the 7th century BC onward.Most were produced with a pointed base to allow upright storage by embedding in soft ground, such as sand.

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The two spellings are transcriptions of amphiphorēwes (plural) and amphorēwe (dual) in Mycenaean Greek from which it may be seen that the short form prevailed on the mainland.

Homer uses the long form for metrical reasons, and Herodotus has the short form.

Stoppers of perishable materials, which have rarely survived, were used to seal the contents.

Two principal types of amphorae existed: the neck amphora, in which the neck and body meet at a sharp angle; and the one-piece amphora, in which the neck and body form a continuous curve.

The amphora complements the large storage container, the pithos, which makes available capacities between one-half and two and one-half tons.

In contrast, the amphora holds under a half-ton, typically less than 50 kilograms (100 lbs). Where the pithos may have multiple small loops or lugs for fastening a rope harness, the amphora has two expansive handles joining the shoulder of the body and a long neck.

They are occasionally so well preserved that the original content is still present, providing information on foodstuffs and mercantile systems.

Amphorae were too cheap and plentiful to return to their origin-point and so, when empty, they were broken up at their destination.

The volume of a Roman amphora was one cubic foot, c. Roman amphorae were wheel-thrown terracotta containers. During the production process the body was made first and then left to dry partially.

Amphorae often were marked with a variety of stamps, sgraffito, and inscriptions.


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