• r2-182-10
    Fragment of marble Roman sarcophagus, overview. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Architectural Fragments

Late 2nd or early 3rd C. AD, Roman
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture, Sarcophagus
Sculpture Type
Found in river bank near PC.

”PC sarcophagus” fragments. A large number of fragments (about 100) of an Asiatic sarcophagus were found in the Pactolus bed near the sector PC, in the summers of 1959 and 1960. The architectural fragments are identical with those on the celebrated sarcophagus of Claudia Antonia Sabina (Cat. 243 Fig. 422) and must have been made in the same workshop. Numerous fragments of hands, legs and drapery were found, as well as a few head fragments. Of special note are two beautiful pieces, the portrait head of a young woman and the head of a horse from the couch on the lid. These, as well as some architectural fragments, are described below (Cat. 180, Cat. 181, Cat. 182 and Cat. 183 Figs. 328-332).

The five fragments described here, from the sides of the sarcophagus, are typical and representative of the many additional fragments which have been found. On fragment A, above the preserved corner of the central pointed pediment, is a row of flat palmettes on the surface, rolled alternately inward and outward. A small elongated leaf lies above at the corner, separated from the palmettes by a plain band. The entablature below the pediment consists of, from top to bottom, a row of dentils, an ovolo carved with egg and dart, a very flat cyma reversa decorated with the Lesbian cymation. The shadows of the palmettes are made by the drill. B is the same entablature although less is preserved; the pediment corner topped an arched niche. More of the conch is preserved. C shows a leafy capital topped by projecting volutes at the two corners. On D the upper portion of a spirally fluted column and the leafy section of its capital are preserved. E is a fragment of an Ionic column base.

The moldings of this sarcophagus, as well as the leafy capitals with volutes, are identical to those on the sarcophagus of Claudia Antonia Sabina (Cat. 243 Fig. 422). On analogy with that sarcophagus, dated ca. 190, the PC sarcophagus belongs also in the late 2nd C.



A: r. side of pediment from an Asiatic sarcophagus, preserving a small fragment of shell niche and part of the molding from the recessed entablature. B: left side of an arched pediment from the same sarcophagus, together with molding fragment and part of shell decoration within niche. C: fragment of capital. D: fragment of fluted column and capital. E: fragment of column base.

A: max. H. 28; max. W. 0.17; L. ca. 0.55. B: L. ca. 0.25.
Cf. description of entablature in Sardis V, 10. For the moldings, ibid., figs. 10-14 (they are also close to, but not identical with, the moldings of Morey’s Denizli A and B, figs. 26-27) and Wiegartz, Säulensarkophage, 158, pl. 6b. Cf. also ibid., 169, pl. 2. dated ca. A.D. 160.
See Also