- North African Amphoras -
|| Who is called a succesful artist ?
One of our artists had asked this question to the photography
artists in Taksim Etap Hotel.When he made a lip against the
answers,he replied himself.
A successful artist is the one who can sell his art,make it
available to people.It doesn’t matter if you perform your art for
art’s sake or for your pleasure,or for man’s sake.If you are a
photographer,you should get your photographs published,if you are an
author you should get your book printed,and if you should build your
image.To do that,you should work harder,for the cause of presenting
your works and your talent to mankind,you will also struggle.
Last month in Paris,I felt proud when I paid a visit to the Koç’s
gallery of Iznik tiles of,also Sabancı’s Golden Letters collection
in Louvre Museum then I remembered the remarks of Ersin Alok in that
meeting. And I understood it beter that this effort was indeed a
duty against mankind.
It seems that Turkish people’s effort for going beyond its
boundaries since 1980s,has not been limited with only sports,
trading, commitment services.
We have proudly carried our art, our history, our works into the
displacements of culture capitals. The Turkish stand, placed into
the Museum of Mankind, near the Maritime Museum was a good example
To tell you truth,when I was taking the photos of Egyptian
Amphoras,for North African Amphoras,the subject of the this edition
I asked myseld why I was not making an attempt to open such an
By hiding the surprise of my question that could possibly turn into
action,let us have a look at North African Amphoras,our theme for
Louvre Museum – Photograph: Mustafa Aydemir
Should we look at the map of North Africa,we will see in turn
Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia-Libia and Egypt,from the west to the
east.Consequently,the amphoras that we will mention soon,are the
last remnants of the cultural heritages that these countries have
brought along for thousands of years.
We had better examine the North African Amphoras in two categories:
Amphoras of the BC,amphoras of the AD.BC period of North Africa
represents a more active and rich outlook regarding the amphoras.
Because Keenans,Phoenicians,Cretans,Greeks sent their ships to this
large land,stretching to the northern end of the Mediterranean; so
they established the first colonies for trading.
In fact, all these setllements outside Egypt, went on the stage of
history following the colonies’ uniting with locals, by urbanizing
As you may know,at the beginning of 4000 BC, for thousand years
Egypt was the oldest civilization of the region in the process of
statehood.Remember that we had mentioned how Carthage have become a
powerful state for 6 centuries in Tunisia, while it was a Phoenician
colony (until it was laid low by the Roman Empire.)
Egyptian pottery,forming the base of Egyptian Amphoras,dates back to
very ancient times. Egyptians has created the Garzean culture in
Fayum region of North Egypt,around 3600 BC. On the pottery and vases
of this period, there are animal-ship-human figures carved as
black-white-red on light colour.
While there are no amphoras known to have been found in these
periods, experts point out that Egyptians have probably learned
making amphoras from Keenans, in 2000s BC. The Greek acknowledge
having inherited the amphoras from Egyptians, again in 7th century
In my opinion,Egyptians must have known making amphoras from quite
an earlier time.Because it sounds more reasonable to assume that a
civilization with an ability to build the huge Keops,Khafre and
Mykerinos pyramids should have had overseas relations and must have
been using a container similar to an amphora,if not an amphora
The amphora pictures on the walls of pharaohs’ tombs,supports this
claim.In these tombs (with wine-olive oil-honey-fig-dried fish-
grain-almond etc. inside them ) amphoras were found as well.Even the
dismounted royal boats of pharaohs,who believed that they would
return to life after death,have been found in recent years.
The tradition of Egyptian amphora,lasting for centuries,underwent
changes after Octavian had won the battle of Actium and made the
region a province of Rome.You may know that after date, Rome used
the region as a cornloft.
As I previously indicated,after Egypt,the most important center of
amphoras in North Africa,is Carthage.The amphora types are as
unusual and interesting as the people in the region, of whatever
counrty they are in North Africa.However,as a result of the
geographic conditions, confining people to the narrow coastline, the
production variety and circulation of the amphoras in this large
piece of land, is not as rich as it is in the northern coasts of
But these were the places where any kind of domestic items from
Africa could be bartered with North Mediterranean countries. Ovens
for amphora production, later to be found, and the new finding from
the excavations at the bottom of the sea will clarify our knowledge
of the amhoras in this region.
Many experts have studied the amphoras of this region and made the
classifications by their names.
Picture 1) Carthage Amphoras, with covering the 5th century BC to
2nd century BC, have been found in Tunisia, Libia, Sicilia and
Sardunia. (Amfora MANA A, MANA B, MANA C1b)
Picture 2) Along with Egyptian and Carthage Amphoras of 2nd century
BC, Moroccon amphoras, with a fairly large mouth, is also
interesting. These cylindrical amphoras, having a pointed bottom,
little handles and supposedly used for carrying saltwater, have only
been found at the coasts of Morocco.(Amphora Dressel MANA the 18th
Picture 4) Mana E amphora (the ibizan amphora) in Ibiza and Cartage,
covering the 4th and 1st century BC, are one of those rare, typical
Picture 5) Tripoli Amphoras covering the 2nd and 1st century Bc,
again has small handles and is of pear shape body. May not the Roman
Emperor Domitranus, limiting the viniculture in the 1st century BC,
have sent for the North Africa imported olives and olive oils inside
these amphoras ?
Picture 6) The amphoras of the same region, though changing a little
in appearance, existed between the 1st and 4th century BC.
Picture 7) Dressel 30 Amphoras, covering Algeria in the 3th and 4the
century BC, and thought to have been carrying wine, bears similarity
to our East Mediterranean Amphoras.
Picture 9) In Tunisian cylindrical amphoras,covering the 3th and 5th
century AD, the mouth and neck widens a bit, the bottom gets even
more pointed and longer.
Amphoras, classified as Africa 1 and Africa 2 Amphoras, covering the
2nd and 5th century AD, have cylindrical body, a small mouth, small
handles, a short neck and pointed bottom.
Picture 10) The most evident feature of the big,wide cylindrical
African Amphoras,covering the 4th - 7th centuries AD in Tunisia,is
their thin surface and being quite light.
Picture 11) The small Agora 254 amphoras,covering the 1st and 4th
centuries in Libia coasts,looks very much like our jugs.
Picture 12) Last one from this group is the Egypt-Roman type
amphora, covering the 1st and 4th centuries AD in Egypt and having 2
small handles on top, a long neck and a pointed bottom with a
The interesting type of amphora that you can see in my hands,in the
photo is a North African amphora of supposed to have covered the 5th
and 7th century AD. And beginning from the entire northern coast of
the continent, from Egypt, it has spreaded to the Atlantic. This
amphora has taken its place on my collection after it fell into a
trawlnet off the Karaburun village of the Black Sea. Various
Egyptian Amphoras, found at the Pharaohs’ tombs,in 2000s BC,Louvre
I also want to remind the precious amphoras enthusiasts of this. I
am not an amphora master. I am just a collector.I collect all the
information on this field through the books,excavation
reports,drawings and papers presented to the Archeology conferences.
I make researches on the political and social events, of the
amphoras of that date. I try to figure out the connection between
immigrations-battles-interactions. I examine my own amphoras and the
ones in museums.
Still, I avoid giving an exact date and making final judgements. I
try to combine information from the experts of this subject, thus
reaching more general facts.
And belive me that after all these things,I feel i have not covered
a distance even one barley grain long.
When I get this belief that I know a few more words than you do,or
that I have found something, I do try to convey these to you, who
are someone amateur like me, or only interested.
I also know that love, attention and interest force the virginity of
that mysterious doors.
|From the book Amphores, by
Martine Scillano-Patricia Sibella ,published in 1991-1994, I have
presented you with some parts of the identifications and drawings I
submitted about the North African Amphoras. Most of these drawings
and identifications were already classified, following the German
Archaeologist and Jone M.Mana’s researches on the amphoras of this
region. Naturally, all of the publishing writers and experts of
amphoras have utilized the knowledge of previous researches and have
added them their own comments and predictions, in the light of new
When wiritng an article, when publishing a book, all sources on the
index part,as an ethical necessity. Eventhough I surely look for the
sources I have referred to in my articles, within the subject, at
the end of this series of amphoras I will give you all of them in
alphabetical order.Please be informed.
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