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A Group of Vases from Amathus 1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2013

V. R. d'A. Desborough
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The vases published below were found during the excavation of foundation trenches for a seaside ‘kentron’ between the main road and the sea at the western limits of the site of Amathus. They were in clean sand, at a depth of about 2 metres; no traces of bones were observed. The finds were removed in the presence of Mr. Perikleous, Honorary Curator of the Limassol Museum.

There is little doubt that these objects constituted a tomb-robber's cache: Mr. Perikleous was convinced that there was here no question of a tomb, a fact which would seem to detract from the value of the find. Furthermore, the objects are not all contemporary: about half belong to the fifth century, the rest to Cypriot Geometric, with the exception of two imported Protogeometric vases.

In spite of this, it is quite possible that all the objects came from one tomb. Secondary burials after a long period are by no means infrequent in Cyprus. The vases obviously came from a tomb or tombs in view of their completeness—and the Amathus cemetery area is very close. Cypriot tombs are rich in vases, and one tomb would make a sizeable haul for a robber.

I do not propose to publish the later vases. But what I hope to show is that the earlier vases are sufficiently homogeneous to constitute a true burial group, and that the Protogeometric vases are most likely associated with them. So far as concerns the Cypriot vases of earlier type, I propose to set them against vases from Amathus Tomb 101 wherever possible, as this burial seems to provide vases nearest in type.

Research Article
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 1957

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I am much indebted to the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus for permission to publish these vases, and in particular to its Director, Mr. A. H. S. Megaw, whom I also thank for giving me the opportunity to study the vases, for much information, and for the photographs which are those of the Cyprus Museum. I am also most grateful to Dr. P. Dikaios and Mrs. Klokkari for their valuable assistance in placing the Cypriot vases in their stylistic divisions. And I wish to record that, but for the late Mr. T. J. Dunbabin, I would not have been aware of the existence of these vases.

Two works, frequently referred to, are abbreviated as follows: The Swedish Cyprus Expedition—SCE. Kerameikos, Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen—Ker. Periodicals are given the standard abbreviations.


2 Cf. SCE ii, 34 Google Scholar, with particular reference to ‘treasure seeking villagers’ on p. 4.

3 SCE ii, 64–7Google Scholar.

4 op. cit., pl. xciii, 8.

5 op. cit., 67.

6 op. cit., 117. No. 32, pl. cxxxix, 1.

7 SCE iv. 2, 61 Google Scholar.

8 p. 190.

9 Desborough, Protogeometric Pottery, pl. 16.

10 op. cit., pl. 17.

11 op. cit., 291 f.

12 Ker. iv, pl. 22 (no. 1072).

13 op. cit., pl. 23 (no. 2102).

14 Ker. i, pl. 45. For T20, see p. 122.

15 Cf. JHS lxxii (1952), 104 Google Scholar.

16 SCE ii, 7983 Google Scholar and 55–64 respectively.

17 op. cit., 83. Cf. SCE iv, 2, 275 Google Scholar.

18 Ker. v. 1, 204 for a discussion.

19 SCE ii. 64 Google Scholar; iv, 2, 275.

20 SCE vi. 2, 275.

21 Cf. Ker. v. 1, 145, n. 116.

22 SCE iv. 2, 292 ff.Google Scholar Burton-Brown, , The Coming of Iron to Greece, 213 f.Google Scholar

23 SCE iv. 2, 427 Google Scholar.

24 Albright, , AJA liv (1950), 175 n. 51Google Scholar, and BASOR no. 130 (April 1953), 22. Hanfmann, , AJA lv (1951), 425 Google Scholar. McFadden, , AJA lviii (1954), 131–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Maisler, BASOR no. 124 (Dec. 1951), 24. Van Beek, , BASOR no. 124 (Dec. 1951), 26 ff.Google Scholar, and BASOR no. 138 (April 1955), 37 Google Scholar.

25 Professor Maisler has now changed his name to Mazar, but I have felt it clearer for the purpose of this article to retain the earlier name, as it was under this that he wrote the article mentioned in n. 24.

26 BASOR, no. 124 (Dec. 1951), 25 Google Scholar.

27 BASOR, no. 138 (Apr. 1955), 38, n. 15.Google Scholar

28 BASOR, no. 124, 27.

29 SCE iv. 2, 270, n. 1Google Scholar; BASOR, no. 130, 24 f.

30 BASOR, no. 124, 27 f.

31 JHS lxxiii, 134 Google Scholar; Schaeffer, , Enkomi-Alasia, I, 366–9Google Scholar.

32 Kraiker, , Ker. i, 164 Google Scholar, n. 2. Kübler, , Ker. v. 1, 70 Google Scholar, n. 103.

33 QDAP 4 (1935), 23 f. No. 95Google Scholar, pl. 13. No. 96, pl. 12 and 181, pl. 88.

34 Op. cit., 68.

35 Van Beek, , BASOR no. 138, 34 ff.Google Scholar The writer bases much of his evidence on the stratification at Megiddo, and this may provide a further problem, for C. Clairmont has recently published ( Berytus xi (1955), 99 Google Scholar and pl. xx (nos. 4 and 5)) two Geometric sherds, which he definitely states were found in Stratum V at Megiddo. It is now accepted, both by Van Beek and Maisler, that this stratum ended c. 920–918 B.C.: yet, according to our present chronology for Geometric pottery, these sherds cannot antedate 850 B.C., and could well be much later (Cf. Ker. V. i, pl. 90, no. 893).

36 QDAP 4 (1935), 181 Google Scholar.

37 Desborough, , Protogeometric Pottery, 181 ff.Google Scholar

38 Cf. particularly Al Mina ( JHS lx (1940), 2)Google Scholar, and Larisa in Aeolis ( Larisa am Hermos, iii, 170 and pl. 57. 4)Google Scholar.

39 Ker. v, 1, 204.

40 Gjerstad, (SCE iv. 2, 424–5)Google Scholar places CA I as between 700 B.C. and 600 B.C. by virtue of scarabs found in the tombs, and gives reasons for stating that CA II cannot start later than 600 B.C.

41 Ker. v. 1, 145, n. 116. A very much lower date is given by Dunbabin and Young (refs. given in the note).

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