Roman Amphorae: a digital resource

University of Southampton, 2005 (updated 2014)

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

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Agora G199

Agora G199

Courtesy of Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology
Donald Frey

Distinctive Features

This type of amphora is known as the Agora G199 (Robinson, 1959: 43 Pl. 8); Mau 27/28; Ostia forma 631 (Panella, 1973: 474-6 Fig. 34); Zemer no. 41 (1978: 52); Mid Roman Amphora 4 (Riley, 1979: 186-7); Nea Paphos Type 3 (Hayes, 1991: 91-92); Pinched-handle amphora (Leonard, 1995: 144-5); Dyczek, 2001: 160-3 Type 22. It is named after its distinctive short and right-angled handles, which are grooved and pinched from the sides. At first the vertical handle bar is longer than the horizontal one - later specimens are similar in length horizontally and vertically. The body is short and cylindrical with a distinctive elongated toe, sometimes with a 'mushroom' cap. The neck is short and cylindrical, and the rim gently everted. Early versions have a longer neck and longer handles, while later types have shorter necks and handles. The later types also seem to lose the distinctive mushroom-cap at the base. The relationship of this classical type to the version current in the late third and fourth centuries AD (as Robinson, 1959: 75 no. L11 Pl. 16; 106 no. M239 Pl. 28) needs to be clarified (cf. Slane, 2004: 36); according to Hayes (1991: 91) the latter amphorae "clearly emanate from a different source".
See characteristics

Date Range

The earliest securely dated examples are from Pompeii, therefore pre-dating AD 79. The type was most common in the second century on Cyprus; it occurs in the destruction layer of the House of Dionysos, which is now thought to have occurred at the latest in AD 225 (Hayes, 1997). It is represented in a deposit at Corinth with amphorae most likely discarded between about AD 250 and 280 (Slane, 2004: 364-6). The late version (Robinson 1959, M 239) occurs in a Tetrarchic context at Corinth with a date no earlier than AD 292 (Slane, 1994) and in an early fourth century context in the Athenian Agora (Robinson, 1959, M239). A coin struck by Maximinus Daia 2 (AD 304-310) was discovered at the Syedra kiln site where such amphorae were produced (Rauh, 2004: 330). It is not known for how long the latter version of the form persisted, but it was superseded by the Late Roman 1 Amphora at some point in the fourth century AD.
Search: [1st century AD] [2nd century AD] [3rd century AD] [4th century AD]


Kiln sites have been discovered in Rough Cilicia: at Anemurium (Williams, 1989: 90-5), and at Biçkici (Rauh & Slane, 2000; Rauh, 2004). An example of the late version (Robinson M239) has been found at the kiln site at Sydra, likewise in Rough Cilicia (Rauh, 2004: 330). No kilns have been found in Cyprus, but a source in the island was first proposed by Hayes (1977) and supported by Lund (2000a). One of six groups distinguished through X-ray diffraction at Paphos was tentatively related to a local workshop. No origin was suggested for the other groups (Daszkiewicz et al, 1997).
Search: [Cyprus] [Eastern Mediterranean] [Western Asia Minor]


Mainly distributed in western Cyprus, Rough Cilicia and at Marina al-Alamein in Egypt. Found in smaller yet not negligible quantities in the western Mediterranean, the Aegean and in the Pontic region. The distribution seems to mirror that of Cypriot Sigillata (Lund, 2000).

Most frequent in western Cyprus, especially at Nea Paphos, and in Rough Cilicia. An important find of complete examples was made at Marina el-Alamein in Egypt (Daszewski et al., 1997). Zemer (1978: 52) reports a complete example found at Atlit. Other vessels have been found at Caesarea, Sidi Khrebish (Libya), the Athenian Agora, Corinth, Crete and at Ephesus (Bezeczky, 2004a: 87), etc. This type makes up between 1.3 and 2.7% of the imported eastern amphorae at Ostia (Panella, 1986: 622 Figs. 2-3), and constitutes between 5 and 8% at Brindisi (Auriemma & Quieri, 2004: 49); it is also present in Pompeii and occurs in some quantities in the Adriatic (Auriemma & Quieri, 2004: 49). Finds are apparently more sporadically in the Black Sea region (Abadie-Reynal, 1999: 263; Dyczek, 2001). For a distribution map and references to more find spots, see Lund (2000b: 570-1 Figs. 3-4); more occurrences listed by Auriemma & Quieri (2004: 49 Note 11).
Search: [Black Sea] [Crete] [Cyprus] [Egypt] [Greece] [Italy] [North Africa] [The Levant] [Western Asia Minor] [Western Mediterranean]


Two late examples were lined with a black resinous substance, suggesting wine as the contents (Lund, 2000b with reference to Robinson, 1959: L11 and M234). Also, olive oil and other agricultural products (Leonard, 2005: 897).

The available information on capacity shows great variation and needs to be analysed carefully. Stated capacities range from 19.3 litres (Alpözen et alli., 1995: 75) to over 36 and 45.8 litres (Dyczek, 2001: 161) to 53 litres (Zemer, 1978: 52).
Search: [Olive Oil] [Wine]


Principal contributor: John Lund


Dyczek 2001
Mid Roman Amphora 4
Nea Paphos 3
Ostia 631
Pinched Handle amphora
Zemer 41


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