Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Single-levelled galley

Cat. No.



Second half of the 8th century B.C. (Late Geometric)


Oropos, west quarter



A117a: fragmentary spouted (?) krater, diam.: 30 cm. ship in a square panel

A117b: fragmentary spouted krater, diam.: 26 cm. ship in panel directly below the spout on 3 joining fragments

Accession Number

A117a: Inv. ΩΔ/Πℽ 651; A117b: ΩΔ/Πℽ 1208


Mazarakis 2002: 171-72, fig. 11b; Vlachou 2012: 147-149, figs. 7, 8, pl. 16:4

A117a: Fragmentary single levelled ship to the right with a low flat hull, a straight vertical stempost, and a high curving sternpost. The hull is formed by two thin parallel horizontals connected by a series of sixteen vertical lines. These are not continuous, with an empty section aft of amidships. The stempost and presumably the forecastle are represented by two parallel vertical lines, the upper half of which is missing. The keel line curves gradually into a vertical sternpost. A short horizontal stroke intersects the sternpost roughly at the level of the quarter rudder's handle. The quarter rudder has a rectangular oar blade with its bottom edge left open. The mast is amidships, encased in a rectangular mast step tabernacle. The verticals along the hull are difficult to interpret. The second non-joining fragment with a human figure possibly shows him standing next to a ship. The fragmentary state makes its reading difficult but it seems to show a concave stempost and proembolon;

A117b: Schematic rendering of a ship c. 2.6 cm in length. Comprised of two horizontal lines, with the keel-line having a slight rocket and curving up slightly to join the gunwale. The two horizontals are connected by 10 vertical lines.

From the first occupation level of the west quarter, dated to the second half of the 8th century B.C. and characterized by an extensive burnt area with large quantities of fine decorated pottery and scattered concentrations of stones. The nature of the occupation of this level is unclear. Given the presence of pottery joins from remote areas it is possible that this represents an extensive dump following a destruction by fire. Other possibilities have been proposed such as a sacrificial deposit. The local pottery style is very close to that of Euboea, unlike the northern and eastern district of Attica which share common features with Athens. In addition to Euboean imports and local imitations, the similarities of architectural forms and urban planning (organization of space, layout of habitation areas) with those of Eretria indicate a close connection between the two sites (Vlachou 2012: 137). This is further confirmed by an inscribed stone disk written in the Eretrian alphabet (Mazarakis 2002: 157). The geographic position of Oropos just opposite Eretria was certainly a factor, while its location on the route from Athens to Eretria was possibly one of the reasons for its foundation. Imports from various areas of the Aegean (especially from the east) as well a significant number of orientalia indicate that the site enjoyed far-ranging maritime connections. These imports come mostly from the occupation levels and include items such as glass beads, sealstones of steatite, a faience scarab, a scaraboid of red serpentine, and a perfume bottle in the shape of a monkey. Figural pottery at Oropos is extremely rare on pottery shapes beside the krater, which suggests that it had a special role and function. On A117a, in addition to the ship there is a second fragment showing a human figure.

Mazarakis, A.A. 2002. “Recent Excavations at Oropos (Northern Attica),” in M.Stamatopoulou and M. Yeroulanou (eds.) Excavating Classical Culture: Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Greece. Oxford: Beazley Archive and Archaeopress, pp. 149-78.

Vlachou, V. 2012. “Figured Pottery from Oropos and Zagora: A Comparative Analysis,” in J.-P. Descoeudres and S. A. Paspalas (eds.) Zagora in Context: Settlements and Intercommunal Links in the Geometric Period (900–700 BC). Proceedings of the Conference held by The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens and The Archaeological Society at Athens: Athens, 20–22 May, 2012. Mediterranean Archaeology 25, pp. 137-151.

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  • copyright icon © Photograph by T. Manolova Click for fullscreen
  • copyright icon © Drawing by T. Manolova Click for fullscreen
  • copyright icon © Click for fullscreen
  • copyright icon © Photograph by T. Manolova Click for fullscreen