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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Tripolitanian 3

Tripolitanian 3

Courtesy of Museo Nacional de Arqueología Maritima, Cartagena
Marguerite Attree

Distinctive Features

Tripolitanian amphorae were first identified by Zevi (Zevi & Tchernia, 1969) but the typological differentiation is due to Panella (1973). Tripolitanian 3 has an everted collar rim, less massive than the Tripolitanian 1. The short and conical neck is unified with the body following a continuous line (no angle as with with the Tripolitania 1). The body is long and cylindrical, with a curved base and characteristic conical foot, with a plug of clay inserted inside the spike. The ear-shaped handles are set below the rim (often attached on the lower part of it) and just below the neck on the shoulder. Keay (1984) divides this class into three sub-types, A-C, based on variations in the rim: sub-type A has a rim "a doppio gradino" (double-stepped flange) with a pronounced lower step; sub-type B has a pronounced everted rim; type C was also "a doppio gradino", but with an underdeveloped upper step. Bonifay (2004) notes a late variant with a hyper developed upper step ("cap-like" profile). Tripolitanian 3 amphorae are frequently stamped on the rim; stamps on handles are less frequent and rare on the neck. Tripolitanian stamps are mostly composed of three letters in relief in a cartouche, probably referring to a tria nomina. These initials are sometimes followed by the letters C(larissimus) V(ir), denoting the senatorial title, or P(raefectus) P(raetorio). Stamps which mention AVG probably refer to imperial properties (Manacorda, 1983).
See characteristics

Date Range

Second to second half of third centuries AD at Ostia, but with more localised distribution in the fourth century AD (Panella, 1973; 2001). Manacorda places its first appearance at Rome between AD 209 and 217, based on the stamps AUGGG, IMPANT/AUG and AUG/ (Manacorda 1977: 154). Dated examples from Tarragona published by Keay (1984) are from third and fourth century AD contexts. An example from the Schola Praeconum deposit at Rome is dateable to AD 430-440.
Search: [2nd century AD] [3rd century AD] [4th century AD]


This amphora form was manufactured in Tripolitania (south-eastern Tunisia and western Libya), where several kiln sites are known (Panella, 1973; Arthur, 1982), including Zitha (Bonifay, 2004).
Search: [Libya] [North Africa] [Tunisia]


Mainly western Mediterranean, particularly Tripolitania, Tunisia and Italy (especially Ostia and Rome) (Panella, 1973; Carandini & Panella, 1981). Keay (1984) reported thirteen examples amongst his Catalan material.
Search: [Italy] [Libya] [North Africa] [North West Europe] [Spain] [Tunisia] [Western Mediterranean]


This is generally considered to be olive-oil (Panella, 1973; Manacorda, 1977c; Bonifay, 2004). The Leptis Magna example held 82 litres.
Search: [Olive Oil]


Principal contributor: Michel Bonifay


Ostia 24


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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