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]

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Spatheion 1

Spatheion 1

Courtesy of Marguerite Attree
Marguerite Attree

Distinctive Features

Traditionally (Grace, 1961) but perhaps erroneously (Bonifay, 2004), the term "Spatheion" refers to a group of African amphorae with a long narrow body, long tapering spike and a fairly high neck with everted rim and two short handles applied to the neck. Keay notes that it is often difficult to distinguish between this type and his Keay 25.2 (1984: 212), except that the latter type is generally smaller. Keay divides his type 26 into variants A-M (because of differences in the rim form). Type G (Ostia 4, Fig. 570) seems to be the most common. Bonifay proposes to divide his type Spatheion 1into four groups A, B, C, D, corresponding to three different rim profiles:
- A: rim with a very developed and strongly everted lip (up to 45°), similar to Keay 25.2, commonly found on the larger variety examples.
- B: ring-like rim, with hanging lip (Keay 26G and Ostia 4, Fig. 570).
- C: triangular in section with hanging lip.
- D: simply thickened slightly everted rim.
See characteristics

Date Range

From the end of the fourth or the beginning to the middle of the fifth century AD.
Search: [4th century AD] [5th century AD]


Production is attested to at Carthage (Ariana workshop noted by Panella, 1982) and in the Nabeul region at Sidi Zahruni (Ghalia et alii, 2005).
Search: [Libya] [North Africa] [Tunisia]


Fairly widespread around the Mediterranean and into the Black Sea region (Riley 1979; Panella 1973). Mainly found in the western Mediterranean: Spain (Tarragona), south of France (Arles, Marseille, Dramont E wreck), Italy (Rome). Also attested to in the eastern Mediterranean : Argos, Athens, Tomis (Romania), Iatrus (Bulgaria), Ephesus, Gortyna (Crete).
Search: [Black Sea] [Central Europe] [Crete] [Eastern Mediterranean] [France] [Greece] [Greek Islands] [Italy] [North West Europe] [Spain] [The Aegean] [Western Asia Minor] [Western Mediterranean]


Uncertain. Preserved olives were almost certainly transported in the Spatheia 1 of the Dramont E wreck (Santamaria, 1995), as olives stones were found inside these vessels. But wine or fish sauce cannot be excluded (Bonifay, 2004). Normal capacity is around 3.5 litres.
Search: [Fish Sauce] [Olives] [Wine]


Principal contributor: Michel Bonifay


Benghazi Late Roman Amphora 8
Keay 26
Peacock & Williams 51


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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