The upper half of an amphora

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The upper half of an amphora

Amphorae were the commercial packaging of the classical world - the predecessor of the modern tin can, vacuum pack and wine bottle. They were made in various shapes and fabrics throughout the Mediterranean. Most had a pointed base - a form which was well suited to stacking in a ship, and gave the user something to grip when the contents were poured out. Thousands of sherds of such vessels have been found at Exeter, as at other towns and fortresses throughout the Roman Empire. The study of such sherds is a major source of knowledge of the Roman economy. In Exeter most sherds come from Spain, especially from the area of Baetica in South-West Spain. Other sources are scattered around the Mediterranean.

Acknowledgments: RAMM Exeter Archaeology

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