Open Access Research Article

The Mysteries of the Baratti Amphora

Claudio Arias1, Stefano Pagnotta2, Beatrice Campanella2, Francesco Poggialini2, Stefano Legnaioli2, Vincenzo Palleschi2* and Cinzia Murolo3

1Retired Professor of Archaeometry, University of Pisa, Italy

2Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR Research Area, Pisa, Italy

3Curator at Museo Archeologico del Territorio di Populonia, Piazza Cittadella, Piombino, Italy

Corresponding Author

Received Date: April 22, 2019;  Published Date: May 08, 2019


The Baratti Amphora is a magnificent silver vase, casually recovered in 1968 from the sea in front of the Baratti harbor, in Southern Tuscany. Since its discovery, very few certain information has been drawn about its history, provenience and destination. Previous archaeometric studies and the iconography of the vase might suggest a late antique realization, possibly in an Oriental workshop (Antioch). A recent study, performed by the National Research Council of Pisa in collaboration with the Populonia Territory Archaeological Museum, in Piombino, has led to a detailed study of the Amphora, both from a morphological point of view through the photogrammetric reconstruction of a high-resolution 3D model, and from the point of view of the analysis of the constituent material, using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrumentation. In particular, the XRF analysis has led to a reconsideration of the archaeometric measurements done in the last century. After this study, the knowledge of the Baratti Amphora has been significantly improved, opening the way to new provenience studies that could shed new light on its mysteries.

Keywords: Archaeometry; Mystery cults; X-Ray fluorescence; Silver treasure; 3D photogrammetry

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