Amphora Spatheion (Keay XXVI)

(date uncertain)

The Arbatax sea has returned and keeps on returning evidence of the past. Including the amphorae representing one of the most frequent finds.

Found by the Lieutenancy of Arbatax in 1992, 108 cm high, diameter 16.8; circumference 53 cm. It has an elongated, slim, cylindrical body, pronounced neck with the handles flanking it, thickened, rounded rim (fig. 1).

Dates are not certain, but this type was widespread from the IV to the VII century A.D. in the Mediterranean and eastern, central and northern Europe. It was used to transport oil, olives, fish preserves, wine.

Fig. 1 - Spatheion from the Arbatax sea (from Salvi et alii 2005, p. 86).
Fig. 2 - Spatheion, Museo Nacional de Arqueología Maritima, Cartagena (from
Fig. 3 - Example of spatheion (from Caravale, Toffoletti 1998, p. 147).
Fig. 4 - Example of spatheion (from Caravale, Toffoletti 1998, p. 147).


  • A. CARAVALE, I. TOFFOLETTI, Anfore antiche. Conoscerle e identificarle, Atripalda 1998, p. 147.
  • D. SALVI, P. BERNARDINI, M.R. MANUNTZA, G. GASPERETTI, (a cura di L. PUTZU, E. GAUDINA), Tesori riscoperti dalla terra e dal mare: la Guardia di Finanza in Sardegna, Cagliari 2005, p. 86.
  • S.J. KEAY, Late Roman Amphorae in the Western Mediterranean. A Typology and Economic Study: The Catalan Evidence, BAR International Series 196, I, Oxford 1984, p. 212.