Roman Amphorae: a digital resource

University of Southampton, 2005 (updated 2014)

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Beirut 8

Distinctive Features

This represents the final phase of Beirut amphora production. Unlike the output of the first century BC to early/mid fifth century AD (Beirut 1 to 7), the Beirut 8 is free-standing and rests on a small domed base. Nevertheless it shares the same style of tronco-conical body as other Beirut amphorae. The handles also differ in that they are placed low on the neck and are more strap-shaped (though with the typical triple-banded section). The earliest version, Beirut 8.1, has a wide, folded, band rim and fairly wide domed base (mid fifth century AD to c. AD 551, typical of Beirut earthquake deposits). Perhaps from c. AD 575 till c. AD 640/650, the amphora is smaller, with a simple ribbed neck and plain, rounded rim (not a band). The latest bases are quite small and are well-domed.

Minimum height: Beirut 8.1/2: 55.9 cm (AD 551?); Beirut 8.2, (mid seventh century AD): 58 cm.
Minimum width: Beirut 8.1/2, 20 cm.; Beirut 8.2, 16 cm.
See characteristics

Date Range

Mid fifth to mid seventh centuries AD. The earliest date is around c. AD 450 (occurs regularly with Beirut 7, then alone from c. AD 460/475). The latest date is c. AD 640/650? Production had certainly ceased by the second half of the eighth century AD.
Search: [5th century AD] [6th century AD] [7th century AD] [8th century AD]


Chemical analysis of the fabric indicates a Beirut origin for the Beirut 8.1. Though the majority of Beirut 8.2 are also from Beirut, a fair number of examples, particularly those of seventh century AD date, occur in a pale fabric that suggests an origin outside the environs of Beirut (an unprovenanced non-Beirut source in pale ?kaolinite fabric, orange-red patina surface, the same as the cooking ware ‘CW 34’ (Waksman et alii, 2004). Occasional classic examples of Beirut 4 (early third century AD) occur in the same fabric, but are rare.
Search: [Lebanon] [The Levant]


Beirut, the Levantine coast and Cyprus. More specifically, Beirut 8.1: Beirut, Butrint.
Beirut 8.2: Beirut, Caesarea, Cyprus (Salamis), the Iskandil Burnu wreck (off Bodrum).
Search: [Eastern Mediterranean] [Lebanon] [The Balkans] [The Levant] [Western Asia Minor]


Wine? Some examples have their necks pierced for fermentation (see also Beirut 1). The domed base also suggests that wine was carried (cf the Calabrian form Keay 52).
Search: [Unknown] [Wine]


Principal contributor: Paul Reynolds

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