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 M54

Agora M54

Courtesy of Musée Archaéologique Intercommunal d’Istres
David Williams

Distinctive Features

This amphora type is known as the Agora M54 (Robinson, 1959: 89 Pl. 19); Knossos Type 47 (Hayes, 1983: 158); Amphores "Pseudo-Cos" en cloche (Empereur & Picon, 1989: 230-2); Nea Paphos Type 8 (Hayes, 1991: 93-4). It is superficially similar to the Pompeii 13, though there are several significant differences. The peaked, bifid handles are more curved than on the Pompeii 13 form, to accommodate the wider upper body of the amphora which forms a replacement for a neck. The simple, rounded rim is narrower and the base is formed by a short, solid spike. The shoulder consists of a slight bulge in the body half way down.
See characteristics

Date Range

From the second half of first century AD (Deposit N 20:2 at the Athenian Agora: Robinson, 1959: 89 Pl. 19) and a deposit at Kition (Marquié, 2004: 260). The type occurs in a cistern context at Nea Paphos dated "around AD 125-150" (Hayes, 1991: 93 No. 32 Fig. 68 top.d, 197-8), and in contexts of the same date range at Beirut (Reynolds, 2005a: 564 Figs. 10.a-b).

The latest date is AD 170-180 - the presumed date of the main destruction deposit at the Villa Dionysos, Knossos (Hayes 1983: 98 & 158).
Search: [1st century AD] [2nd century AD]


A kiln site has been identified at Yumurtalık in Smooth Cilicia and two other production centres are suspected in the same region (Empereur & Picon, 1989: 231-2). It was "doubtlessly" also produced in Cyprus according to Empereur (1998: 395).
Search: [Cyprus] [Eastern Asia Minor] [Eastern Mediterranean]


Mainly distributed in the eastern Mediterranean, but not found in great concentrations at any single find spot:
Greece: Athens (Robinson, 1959: 89 Pl. 19; Böttger, 1992: 338-9 Nos. 55-60 Fig. 1.12 Pl. 99.2); Corinth (Slane, 2000: 301 Note 15); Delos (Empereur & Picon, 1989: 231).
Turkey: Ayaş/Elaioussa Sebaste (Empereur & Picon, 1989: 231-2), Ephesus (Bezeczky, 2004: 87), Seleucia ad Piéria, Yumurtalık (Empereur & Picon, 1989: 231-2); Miletos (cf. Hayes, 1991: 93). Cyprus: Nea Paphos (Hayes 1991: 93 nos. 31-2 Pl. 25.3 and Fig. 68 top.d).
Lebanon: Beirut (Reynolds, 2005: 564),
Egypt: Alexandria (Empereur, 1998: 395); Mons Claudianus (Tomber, 1998: 214-5 Fig. 1.5, cf. Reynolds, 2005a: 565); Karanis (Hayes, 1983: 158), probably also Quseir al-Qadim (Hayes, 1991: 93). The western Mediterranean: Golfe de Fos, the sea off Marseille (Sciallano & Sibella, 1991). Panella (1986: 618 Note 15) stresses its absence from Pompeii, the Terme del Nuotatore in Ostia and Benghazi). It also seems to be absent from Brindisi (Auriemma & Quieri, 2004) and Carthage (Martin-Kilcher, 2005). Also found in Lusitania (Fabião, pers.comm.).
Search: [Cyprus] [Eastern Asia Minor] [Eastern Mediterranean] [Egypt] [France] [Greece] [Lebanon] [North Africa] [Portugal] [Spain] [The Levant] [Western Asia Minor] [Western Mediterranean]


Wine (Sciallano & Sibella, 1991; Empereur, 1998: 395); possibly fruit (Reynolds, 2005: 564). Added red bands and tituli picti are not uncommon on this form (Lang, 1976: 77 No. He 8 Pl. 43), they probably represent numbers, and perhaps an indication of three modii (see also Hayes, 1991: 93).
Search: [Fruit] [Wine]


Principal contributor: John Lund


Knossos 47
Neo Paphos 8
Psuedo-Cos en cloche


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

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