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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Keay 56

Distinctive Features

Keay (1984) divides this type into three sub-types, though sub-types A and C only consist of one sherd each - the majority of samples are therefore sub-type B. It consists of a tall cylindrical body similar to Keay 55, with "a wide shoulder and short, squat conical neck, the uppermost point being delineated by an horizontal ban of incised comb decoration. The rim is gently everted with a convex rim face and straight inner rim surface. The handles have a small circular profile and elliptical section". The foot is probably button-shaped as showed by a complete example from Fornells (Menorca) (Palol, 1982: Fig. 23).
See characteristics

Date Range

End of the fifth to mid-sixth century AD (?)
Search: [5th century AD] [6th century AD]


Production is attested to in Zeugitana at Nabeul (workshop of Sidi Zahruni) (Ghalia et alii, 2005).
Search: [North Africa] [Tunisia]


Thinly distributed in the western Mediterranean (Catalunya, southern France, Liguria). Ten examples from Catalunya are published by Keay (1984). A complete example (variant B), probably late (comes from Fornells (Minorca) (Palol, 1982: Fig. 23). On the other hand, both the examples from the baptistery of Albenga (Pallarès, 1987: Fig. 9-10) are early (variant C, end of the fifth century). The type is present at Carthage from the second half of the fifth century onwards (Peacock, 1984a: Form 46, Fig. 39, 58-60). In the eastern Roman empire examples are attested at Tomi (Romania) (Opaiţ, 1997-98).
Search: [Eastern Mediterranean] [France] [Italy] [North Africa] [North West Europe] [Spain] [Tunisia] [Western Mediterranean]


Unknown although olive oil is a possibility. Capacity around 67 litres.
Search: [Olive Oil]


Principal contributor: Michel Bonifay

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