Amphora (Greek: ἀμφορεύς): ancient jar for transporting wine or oil.

Olive oil amphora from Tripolitana

Sometimes beautifully decorated, amphoras were an important container of wine and oil. These oldest of these large jars were made as early as the Neolithic and they remained in use all over the ancient world until after the Middle Ages. Archaeologists recognize all kinds of types and production centers, allowing them to reconstruct trade networks. For example, the Dressel-20 amphora was produced in Baetica (modern Andalusia) and used to transport olive oil. In Rome, the Monte Testaccio ("hill of sherds") consists of thousands and thousands of Dressel-20 amphoras.

Amphoras were often used as final resting place for babies.


This page was created in 2019; last modified on 9 June 2019.