Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Minoan ship

Cat. No.





Central Crete


Diam.: 1.6-2 cm


Lenticular black steatite seal, slightly elliptical. Bored slightly out of axis.

Accession Number

Oxford Ashmolean Museum 1938.958


Wedde 2000: 346, nos. 957, 958

Crescentic hull with pointed extremities. The hull is decorated with 14 parallel oblique lines. Two steering oars to the left and 15 oar lines below the hull. Mast amidships with a split yard and boom. The yard is lowered to the boom, attached by two halyards on each side. To the left and right are stays with pearls attached (dresslines). The dots along the gunwale possibly represent the crew. There are additional sub-circular dots: three above the left yard, three below the left boom, and seven below the right boom. The decoration of the rig with garlands parallels the Theran procession ships.

The seal has been variously dated by a number of scholars: MM I (Kenna 1960: 103); "close of MM II" (Evans 1928: 242); perhaps MM II (Marinatos 1933: 185); MM IIA (Gray 1974: 16, nr. 9); c. 1800 BC (Casson 1971: fig. 47); Mycenaean (Evans 1897: 338. It has since been re-dated by Boardman on the basis of its material and style to LM IIIB (Boardman 1970: 106).

Wedde, M. 2000. Towards a Hermeneutics of Aegean Bronze Age Ship Imagery. Peleus Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Griechenlands und Zyperns, vol. 6. Bibliopolis: Mannheim and Möhnsee.

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