• latw-205-1
    Alabaster alabastron. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Alabaster alabastron

Date
Probably fifth century BC, Late Lydian (Persian)
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 9082
Inventory No.
9082
Sardis CATNUM
S03.132
Material
Alabaster, Stone
Object Type
Stone Vessel
Site
Sardis
Sector
Tomb 03.1
Trench
Tomb 03.1
Locus
Tomb 03.1 Locus 1
Description
Calcite (Egyptian alabaster) alabastron. Elongated ovoid body with round bottom; horizontal rim with rounded lip. Two small lug handles below rim. Mended from fragments, a few fragments missing. Fine lathe marks over interior and exterior surfaces. Height 0.132 m, diameter 0.044 m.
Comments
From the same tomb as Nos. 196-204; found near at mid-body of a skeleton, near one of the lekythoi (see Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”). The alabastron was named after the most typical material from which they are made (or vice-versa, the stone named after the vessel). It originated in Egypt, but became popular throughout Anatolia and Greece from the seventh through the fourth centuries BC. In addition to examples made from this translucent stone, the same shape was copied in pottery and, occasionally, in silver and other materials; four silver examples were found in tombs near Güre (Özgen, “The Lydian Treasure”). As a container for perfumed oils it was probably functionally equivalent to, but of much greater prestige than, the ceramic lekythoi placed as an offering on the couch opposite (No. 203).
Discussed
Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”
Bibliography
Greenewalt 2005, 82-3; Roosevelt 2008; forthcoming study by Susanne Ebbinghaus.
Author
NDC