An amphora and amphora ( from Ancient Greek ἀμφορεύς amphoreus, two-handled clay vessel '; formed from ἀμφί amphi, on both sides ' and φέρειν pherein 'carry' ) is a bulbous enghalsiger pitcher with two handles usually made ​​of clay, but also in metal ( bronze, silver, gold). With two handles wearing should be facilitated originally. Amphorae are among the most ancient vases.

The Amphora is also a unit of measurement. The volume as a Roman measure of capacity is a Roman cubic foot, which is about 26.026 liters


Amphorae were used in ancient times as a storage and transport vessels, among others for oil, olives and wine, as well as honey, milk, cereals, Garum, tropical fruits such as dates and more. They were produced in those regions where the transport of goods were produced, ie approximately where wine or olive cultivation took place. Depending on the contents, the volume is different, capacity amount to between 5 and 50 liters.

They were often thrown away as disposable containers after transport, there is the Monte Testaccio in Rome largely of fragments of amphorae. Other cars have found a new use, such as urn with cremation burials or to cover the dead body with graves.

The production facility in the area of Seville in Spain worked on the Ancient addition. The development of the amphora - since 15-16. Century without handles - finally arrived in the New World.

Today amphorae are for ornamental purposes only, such as a vase made ​​. A special role is played by the amphora to date in the production of special wines, called " Amphorenwein ". This expansion is mainly in " biodynamic wines " popular, but also sulfurized wines from Georgia are often aged in special amphorae. See also: Quevri wine.

Archaeological importance

A change in the forms and frequent inscriptions offer dating possibilities. Absolutely datable finds from shipwrecks and other closed discoveries allow a temporal classification. The chronology of the Pre-Roman Iron Age in Central Europe also includes the Amphorenchronologie with a.

Since the origin and contents of many Amphorenformen are known to allow archaeological discoveries beyond the reconstruction of trade links.


There are different types of amphorae, which were in use at different times:

Neck-amphora (approx. 6 - 5th century BC)

When the neck amphora handles are attached to the neck, which is delimited by a sharp kink from the abdomen. There are two different types of neck-amphora:

  • The Nolanische Amphora ( late 5th century), which is named after the place where Nola, near Naples, and
  • The Tyrrhenian amphora.

There are some special forms of neck amphora, which have certain features:

  • The Spitzamphora whose lower end is tapered and partially knopfarting.
  • The Loutrophoros, which was used for storage of water during the marriage as well as the burial ritual.

Amphora (ca. 640-450 BC)

The amphora in contrast to the neck-amphora no remote neck, rather the stomach goes into a rounding down the neck over. From the middle of the 5th century it was hardly prepared. The Pelike is a special form of the amphora. When her stomach is displaced downwards, the largest diameter is therefore in the lower part of the vase body. The Pelike was created for the first time at the end of the sixth century.

Panathenaic Preisamphoren

A special form of the Panathenaic black-figure painting with Preisamphoren, were produced for the Athenian Panathenäenfest and - apparently for ritual reasons - the black-figure style of painting still for centuries retained for ' invention ' of the red-figure painting (!).

Similar shapes

Similar antique amphorae are the stirrup jar, the Amphoriskos and the pithos.


The German archaeologist Heinrich Dressel categorized end of the 19th century, known in his time amphorae. The types designated by him bear his name, supplemented by a numerical designation that marks the Amphorentyp (see sample picture " Dressel 1B ").

Black- side

Amphorae in the Aeolian Archeological Museum in Lipari

Amphorae from gnathia in Puglia

Amphorae from gnathia in Puglia

Original retail equipment Herculaneum in Campania ( 79 AD )

Amphorae in the City Museum in Makarska, Croatia