Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

B2 amphoras

An ovoid two-handled amphora with a ribbed body in sandy light-coloured fabrics. Produced at several locations in the north-east Mediterranean (Syria, Cyprus and south-east Turkey) from the 5th to 7th centuries AD, and widely distributed around the Mediterranean but more rarely in the north-west provinces.

Roman Amphorae: a digital resource
(University of Southampton, 2005. doi:10.5284/1000021) Pages include details of typology, chronology, distribution, epigraphy and hi-resolution images of thin-sections.
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Fabric and technology

Hard sandy cream or yellow fabric with white limestone inclusions visible in the surface.


Two handled ovoid vessels with ribbed bodies, cylindrical necks and beaded or thicked lips.


From 5th to 7th c. AD.


Several productions sites around the north-east Mediterranean, including the Rhodes, Cyprus, but perhaps principally from the south-east corner of Asia Minor (Cilicia) and the Antioch area.


Wide distribution around Eastern Mediterranean; rarer in west, but examples from Italy, Spain, southern Gaul, Switzerland, Brittany and post-Roman sites in western Britain.


Augst class 58. Keay fabric 18. Keay class LIII. Peacock and Williams class 44 (Kuzmanov XIII, Scorpan 8B, Carthage LR1, Benghazi LR1, Keay LIII).


For sources: Empereur and Picon 1989. Distribution: Thomas 1981; Giot and Querré 1985; Bonifay and Villedieu 1989; Pieri 1998; Riley 1979. General: Tomber and Williams 1986; Fulford 1989; Reynolds 1995, 71-83.


Bonifay and Villedieu 1989. Bonifay, M. and Villedieu, F., ‘Importations d’amphores orientales en Gaule (Ve-VIIe siècles)’ in Recherches sur la céramique Byzantine, ed. V. Déroche and J.-M. Spieser, BCHsuppl, 18, (1989), pp. 17-46.

Empereur and Picon 1989. Empereur, J.-Y. and Picon, M., ‘Les régions de production d’amphores impériales en Méditerranée orientale’ in Amphores romaines et histoire économique: dix ans de recherche, Collection de l’cole Française de Rome, 114, École Française de Rome, Rome, (1989), pp. 223-48.

Fulford 1989. Fulford, M. G., ‘Byzantium and Britain: a Mediterranean perspective on Post-Roman Mediterranean imports in western Britain and Ireland’, MedArch, 33, (1989), pp. 1-6.

Giot and Querré 1985. Giot, P. R. and Querré, G., ‘Le tesson d’amphore B 2 de l’le Lavret (Bréhat, Côtes-du-Nord)’, Revue Arch. Ouest, 2, (1985), pp. 95-100.

Pieri 1998. Pieri, D., ‘les importations d’amphores oreintales en Gaule méridionale durant l’Antiquité tardive et le Haut Moyen Age (IVe-VIIe siècles après J.-C.). Typologie, chronologie et contenu’ in Actes du Congrès d’Istres. 21-24 mai 1998. Société Française d’tude de la Céramique Antique, ed. L. Rivet, SFECAG, Marseille, (1998), pp. 97-106.

Reynolds 1995. Reynolds, P., Trade in the Western Mediterranean, AD 400-700: The ceramic aevidence, BAR International Series, 604, Tempvs Reparatvm, Oxford, (1995).

Riley 1979. Riley, J. A., ‘The coarse pottery from Benghazi’ in Excavations at Sidi Khrebish, Benghazi (Berenice). II, ed. J. A. Lloyd, Supplements to Libya Antiqua, 5, Department of Antiquities, Tripoli, (1979), pp. 91-497.

Thomas 1981. Thomas, C., A provisional list of imported pottery in Post-Roman Britain and Ireland, Special report, 7, Institute of Cornish Studies, Redruth, (1981).

Tomber and Williams 1986. Tomber, R. and Williams, D. F., ‘Late Roman amphorae in Britain’, Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, 1, (1986), pp. 42-54.

Distribution of B2 amphoras in Britain
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: P&W AM 44 (Peacock & Williams Class 44 amphorae, p.108).
Thumbnail images
B2 amphoras
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/B2 • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.