Food export from Ephesos: according to amphora finds  

FWF-Projekt Nr. P20776

Project Leader:T. Bezeczky


The goal of the new project is to collect the amphorae in the important economic-political centres of the Mediterranean ( Rome , Ostia , Massilia, Carthage , Alexandria , Athens ), which were produced in the vicinity of Ephesos.

Amphorae indicate the storage and transport of produce such as wine and olive oil.
Thus they can serve to describe the economic role of Ephesos in the Roman and Late Roman periods.

From the late Hellenistic period to the Byzantine period, several different kinds of amphorae were produced along the coast of Asia Minor and on the neighbouring Greek islands.

The location of Ephesos, at the mouth of the river Kaystros, was excellent from the point of view of sea trade. The merchandise produced in the valley of the river passed through the port of Ephesos on its way to its final destination. There were several kinds of amphorae made in and around Ephesos, only a few of which were used for long-distance transportation. 

Production of the vessels was continuous over several hundred years. The amphorae produced here had one characteristic in common: they were made of highly micaceous fabric, and burned to a reddish-brown colour. Although no amphora workshop has yet been excavated around Ephesos, the amphorae were made in huge quantity. The kinds of clay with which the amphorae were made have recently been identified by petrographic analysis.

This is an important development, as there were amphorae made with the same shape as those from Ephesos at other places along the coast of Asia Minor , but no workshops have been excavated yet. Sardeis counts as an exception in the area, as the vessels made in the area clearly differ in both shape and fabric from the amphorae of Ephesos.

Thanks to research, there is more and more information available concerning the food trade of Ephesos.

Among the many important finds from Ephesos, much has been published on amphorae.

These give an idea of the Greek-Roman food culture: what kinds of wines, olive oil, olives, fish-based sauces and fruits they consumed. These kinds of produce were brought to Ephesos from the Iberian peninsula, Southern France, Italy , North Africa , Egypt , Greece , Syria , Palestine , the Black Sea coast, the western coast of Asia Minor and the Greek islands.

Correspondingly, the foodstuffs produced in Ephesos (probably wine and oil) were transported to many of the above mentioned places.

I propose to collect and publish the already known amphorae in one database.

Using this as a starting-point, the amphorae originating from Ephesos could be selected from the deposite of larger Roman centres.

I would like to identify the Mushroom rim, Aegean Local 1 and 2, Late Roman 3, Ephesus 56, Kapitän II types of amphorae and the one handle jar (Agora F65-66, etc.).