Roman Amphorae: a digital resource

University of Southampton, 2005 (updated 2014)

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Resource identifiers

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University of Southampton (2014) Roman Amphorae: a digital resource [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (doi:10.5284/1028192)

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Dressel 1

Dressel 1

Form 1C. Courtesy of Museo Nacional de Arqueología Maritima, Cartagena
Marguerite Attree

Distinctive Features

This was the most common type of late Republican Roman amphora.

Following an early classificatory scheme by Lamboglia (1955), the type is conventionally sub-divided into three sub-types, known as the Dressel 1A, 1B and 1C, which are still used today. These sub-types are distinguished largely on the basis of differences in the shape of the rim (discussed critically by Tchernia, 1986: 312-20). The Dressel 1A has a pronounced triangular rim, often quite difficult to distinguish from the rim of the Greco-Italic type; the rim of the Dressel 1B has a thick near vertical collar rim; the rim of the Dressel 1C takes the form of a narrow mouth and a high collar, which flares outwards in the earlier versions, and which Will (1982) suggests is directly derived from her Greco-Italic form Will 1E. There are few significant differences in the shape of the bodies of these three sub-types although those of the Dressel 1A and B tend to be heavier and more cylindrical while that of the Dressel 1C tends to be more spindle-like. Furthermore, the neck of the Dressel 1C tends to be wider at the bottom closer to its junction with the shoulder. A broad scheme to distinguish between the varieties of Dressel 1A and 1B handles and spikes has been suggested by Stockli (1979), based mainly on the size of these features, but its practical use is perhaps doubtful given the nuances of form which are sometimes apparent in the general class of Dressel 1 amphora. The Dressel 1 is sometimes stamped on the rim and very occasionally on the neck. Where present, the stamp normally consists of two or three letters, sometimes more, or a symbol (such as an anchor or trident) or both. Alphabetical symbols were used in the ager cosanus, particularly at the kiln at Albinia, while elsewhere the stamps are quite often in the form of names (e.g. Sestius).
See characteristics

Date Range

The Dressel 1A evolved from Greco-Italic types, perhaps directly from Will type 1C and 1D (1982) and Tchernia (1983; 1986) suggests c. 140/130 BC as the transition date. The form persisted through to about the middle of the first century BC (Peacock, 1971; 1977c; Tchernia, 1986). The Dressel 1B was produced between the last quarter of the second until the last decade of the first century BC (Peacock, 1971; 1977c; Long, 1987; Hesnard et alii, 1989). The Dressel 1C was manufactured between the late second to the second quarter of the first century BC (Lamboglia, 1955; Beltrán Lloris, 1970; Will, 1979; 1987a).
Search: [2nd century BC] [1st century BC]


This type of amphora was produced mainly along the Tyrrhenian coastal area of Italy from Etruria to Campania, where a number of kiln sites are known (Peacock, 1977c; Manacorda, 1981;Tchernia, 1986; Peacock & Williams, 1986; Will, 1987a; 1987b; Hesnard et alii, 1989). For the Dressel 1A and 1B, the principal production areas seem to have been around Pompeii and Cosa and in the wine producing areas of the Caecuban and Falernian plains (Peacock & Williams, 1986; Will, 1987a; 1987b; Hesnard et al, 1989). However, away from this area kilns have also been discovered at Cropani Marina ( Calabria), and at Baxos (Messina), in the ager Volterranus and ager Pisanus, Rosignano Marittima, and at Naxos (Sicily). The Dressel 1A was also produced along the Mediterranean coast of north-eastern Spain (viz. Carreté et alii, 1995) and in France, although on a very much reduced scale, while the Dressel 1C was manufactured on a small scale in the vicinity of sites such as Gades (Cádiz), Carteia (El Rinconcillo) and Baelo (Bolonia) on the south coast of Baetica (García Vargas, 1998: 71-4; Fernández Cacho, 1995; Bernal Casasola, 2003).
Search: [France] [Italy] [North West Europe] [Spain] [Western Mediterranean]


Very common in the western Mediterranean area, especially the coasts of southern France, Spain and Lusitania, where all variants are found in very great numbers (Panella, 1981; Tchernia, 1983; Fitzpatrick, 1985; Will, 1987b; Poux, 2004: Fig. 203 ; Beltrán Lloris 1970 ; Molina Vidal, 1997: 63-119; Fabião, pers.comm.). It also reaches parts of temperate France as well as Britain and Germany (Panella, 1973; Peacock, 1971; Fitzpatrick, 1985; Ettlinger, 1977; Deniaux, 1980; Galliou, 1984; Will, 1987b). It is also present in some numbers in the eastern Mediterranean (Will, 1979; Lund, 2000).
Search: [Eastern Mediterranean] [France] [Germany] [Great Britain] [Italy] [North West Europe] [Portugal] [Spain] [Western Mediterranean]


Tituli picti make it clear that the predominant content carried was wine (Zevi, 1966; Beltrán Lloris,1970; Tchernia, 1986). However, spondylus shells, resin and hazelnuts have been found in examples of the Dressel 1B (Benoit, 1962; Parker & Squire, 1974; Tchernia 1986), while garum has been suggested as a possible content for examples of the Dressel 1C at Pompeii, and olives were found in a Dressel 1C from the Cavalière wreck (Charlin et alii, 1978).
Search: [Fish Sauce] [Wine]


Principal contributors: David Williams, Clementina Panella and Simon Keay


The following link will take you to the Centro para el Estudio de la Interdependencia Provincial en la Antiguedad Clásica CEIPAC database. In the CEIPAC system this amphora has the ID KE51+BYZ. Note: access to CEIPAC requires registration, which is possible via