Sant’Imbenia amphorae

(Phoenician Age)

The term "amphora" indicates a terracotta container with a tapered or globular shape, provided with two handles, used in antiquity to transport liquid (wine, oil) or solid (wheat or other grains) foodstuffs.

Various fragments have been discovered in the historical centre of Posada which can be attributed to five Sant'Imbenia type amphorae, probably produced in Sardinia, which spread from the eighth century B.C. and were inspired by Levantine shapes (fig. 1).

The first two fragments still have their rim and neck with the handle attachment on the shoulder and are characterised by a coarse clay mixture.

The third fragment retains a wider part of the shoulder and has a purer mix than the first two (fig. 2). The fourth specimen consists of part of the rim and the last one has a wall with a handle, with the characteristic tendency to widen at the beginning of the vessel’s body. Probably all these ceramic finds were produced locally, but the hypothesis is only based on the forensic examination of the mixture, whilst waiting for further analysis which may confirm or not this hypothesis. Similar specimens were found in Irgoli (figs. 3-4).

This type of amphora was probably intended to contain and transport wine.

Fig. 1 - Nuraghic village of S. Imbenia, Alghero. On the left: Nuraghic wine amphora for transport, imitating oriental shapes; on the right: Phoenician wine amphora for transport, IX-VIII centuries B.C. (from¬izia=81257&pic=5&ng=2).
Fig. 2 - Rims of amphorae from Sant'Imbenia, Posada (from SANCIU 2010, fig. 4).
Fig. 3 - Sant’Imbenia type amphorae from Santo Stefano, Irgoli
(from SANCIU 2010, fig. 21).
Fig. 4 - Sant’Imbenia type amphorae from Santo Stefano, from the Irgoli Antiquarium (from SANCIU 2010, fig. 22).


  • I. OGGIANO, La ceramica fenicia di Sant'Imbenia (Alghero-SS), in P. BARTOLONI, L. CAMPANELLA, La ceramica fenicia di Sardegna. Dati, problematiche, confronti, Roma 2000, pp. 235-258.
  • A. SANCIU, Fenici lungo la costa orientale sarda. Nuove acquisizioni. Fasti On Line Documents & Research 174, 2010.
  • A. SANCIU, Nuove testimonianze di età punica da Posada e dalla Sardegna centro-orientale. Sardinia, Corsica et Baleares Antiquae, IX, pp. 51-58.
  • A. SANCIU, Posada. Centro storico. Recupero di materiali archeologici. Erentzias. Rivista della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici per le province di Sassari e Nuoro, I, pp. 376-377.
  • A. SANCIU, Nuove testimonianze d’età fenicia e punica dalla costa centro-orientale sarda. ArcheoArte. Rivista elettronica di Archeologia e Arte, Supplemento 2012 al numero 1, pp. 167-182.