Update: Recent archaeology and antiquities related news

Below please find a selection of news items from the past few weeks dealing with archaeological discoveries and research, antiquities and ancient art that we felt to be of special interest. All links will open in a new tab or window. Enjoy –


Introducing a New Feature: Clio’s Object of the Week

Today we are launching a new feature, entitled “Clio’s Object of the Week.” In this feature we plan to highlight a single antiquity or ancient coin from our stock and explore the object in more detail than is normally permitted in our commercial listings. A link will be included for those interested in purchasing the item.

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Cypriot Black on Red Ware Large Pottery Bowl 7th Century BC

Our choice for the first object in this weekly feature is a superb Cypriot Black on Red Ware pottery bowl. This deep bowl dates to the 7th Century BC, which on the Island of Cyprus would correspond the Iron Age and specifically what is referred to in archaeological terms as the Cypro-Archaic Period. This last term is intended to suggest a linkage to the Archaic Period of the Greek mainland and islands, a time when Greek civilization was beginning to fully emerge from the so-called “dark age” that followed the collapse of earlier Bronze Age civilizations in Greece and many parts of the eastern Mediterranean. By the Cypro-Archaic Period, most of Cyprus was Greek speaking. The Island’s small city states had recently freed themselves from a period of Assyrian rule, though they would later be controlled briefly by Egypt and Persia, before becoming fully integrated into the Hellenistic world.

Cypriot Black on Red Ware, also sometimes known as Cypro-Phoenician Ware, typically has a burnished red slip with added decoration in thin black lines. The motifs used are typically “bulls eye” designs and parallel lines forming concentric circles in varying thicknesses. Evidence suggests that it was produced only on the Island of Cyprus at multiple production centers beginning around 850 BC, and had a long life, continuing into the 5th Century BC. Although a great deal of Cypriot pottery of all periods was legally exported from the Island during the period of Ottoman rule, especially in the 19th Century, and during the British colonial period from 1914 through 1960, deep bowls of this type are much less common than the juglets and other closed form containers available on the antiquities market today.


Of special interest on this example are the fingerprints of the potter who made it – two smudged finger marks in black slip. These are visible in the first image at the top of this article, inside the bowl at upper left, and again in the image above, directly alongside the handle but inside the bowl. These marks are a remarkable survival from antiquity. They remind us that pottery such as this was intended primarily as utilitarian ware, not as art, and that modern collectors and art historians have redefined such objects as art based on rarity and beauty.

To view this object on our Etsy store, go here (opens in a new tab or window): https://www.etsy.com/listing/280649766/cypriot-black-on-red-ware-large-pottery?ref=shop_home_active_8

To view this object on our eBay store, go here (opens in a new tab or window): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cypriot-Black-on-Red-Ware-Large-Pottery-Bowl-7th-Century-BC-/131793379127?hash=item1eaf7f5f37:g:yP8AAOSw8d9UsZhX

To learn more about ancient Cyprus, we recommend the following books —

Hellenistic Art at The Met

Here is a review in “The Art Newspaper” of the remarkable show now at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, exploring Hellenistic Art – http://theartnewspaper.com/shows/hellenistic-greece-emerges-from-the-shadows-of-classicism/

Cypriot antiquities, ancient cyprus

Classical and Egyptian Antiquities in the North Carolina Museum of Art

In 1947 the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the sum of one million dollars to acquire works of art for a new State Museum, marking the first time a state had used public funds to buy art. Since then, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) has greatly expanded both its collections, which include European and American painting, antiquities, tribal arts, modern art and sculpture and much more, and its facilities. NCMA is now housed in two large buildings (one housing the permanent collections, cafe and gift shop and one housing temporary exhibits, workshops and meeting spaces) on a 164 acre Museum Park adorned with monumental works of art.

NCMA’s antiquities collections include Egyptian art in all materials and in all sizes from the Predynastic to Ptolemaic periods, Greek, Villanovan and Etruscan ceramics, Cypriot pottery and sculpture, Roman sculpture in marble and bronze and a good selection of Roman glass. These are arranged in two large galleries and a portion of the central space of the building housing the permanent collections.

Presented here are twenty-four images representing nineteen objects, in roughly chronological order, selected for their special beauty, rarity or remarkable craftsmanship. I hope you will enjoy these. All images should be credited to Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities. Here is a link to NCMA’s “Plan Your Visit” page (opens in a new window or tab): http://ncartmuseum.org/visit/plan_your_visit

egyptian antiquities, egyptian pottery, egyptian art

Egyptian Predynastic decorated jar, Naqada II Period, 3,500-3150 BC, marl clay with red paint.

cypriot antiquities, cypriot plank idol

Cypriot plank idol, 2000 BC, burnished pottery

Shabti box, Egyptian antiquities, ancient Egyptian art

Shabti Box, Thebes, New Kingdom, Dynasty 19-20, 1295-1069 BC, wood with gesso and paint.

Egyptian antiquities, Egyptian art, ancient egypt

Egyptian False door from the tomb of Ni-Ankh-Snefru, detail, possibly from Saqqara, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2321-2278 BC, limestone with traces of paint.

Egyptian false door, Egyptian antiquities, ancient Egyptian art

Egyptian False door from the tomb of Ni-Ankh-Snefru, possibly from Saqqara, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2321-2278 BC, limestone with traces of paint.

Egyptian antiquities, ancient egyptian art, egyptian mummies

Face mask from an Egyptian wood coffin lid, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22, 945-715 BC, wood with gesso and paint.

egyptian mummies, ancient egyptian art, egyptian antiquities

Detail from the coffin of Amunred, Egyptian, Third Intermediate to Late Period, 715-525 BC, wood with gesso and paint. Note the Falcon of Horus on the shoulder.

egyptian mummies, ancient egyptian art, Egyptian Antiquities

Detail from the lower part of the coffin of Amunred. Facing representation of the Jackal of Anubis guard the feet, below processions of female and male deities.

Maat, hieroglyphics, egyptian mummies, ancient egypt

The coffin of Amunred, showing the central panel of inscriptions and the figure of Maat, goddess of truth and justice, on the chest.

Egyptian bull, Ptolemaic art, egyptian antiquities

Egyptian reclining bull. Wood with gesso and paint. Said to be from North Saqqara. Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 BC.

Cypriot antiquities, ancient cyprus

Head of a god or priest, Cyprus, 450-425 BC, limestone with traces of pigment. Note the mix of archaic Greek and more naturalistic style in this object, which may represent a temple priest or a temple donor who commissioned the statue.

Aphrodite, Greek sculpture, Parian marble

Torso of Aphrodite, Hellenistic Greek, about 60 BC, white Parian marble.

Canosan pottery, South Italian pottery, Greek antiquities

Double jar with a central handle, Late Daunian Period, 4th-3rd Century BC, from a Canosan workshop, South Italy. Pottery with added pigment.

Centuripe, Greek pottery, Greek antiquities

Detail from a large “Lebes Gamikos” or funerary vase from Centuripe, a Greek colony in Sicily, 250-225 BC, ceramic with paint and gilding. The central panel depicts a bride flanked by attendants with small applied Erotes flying above.

Ptolemaic pottery, Ptolemaic art, Greek antiquities, Egyptian antiquities

A “Hydria” or vessel for pouring water, 3rd Century BC, Egypt, pottery with buff slip and added paint. This vase shows something of the unique fusion of Egyptian and Greek art during the Ptolemaic period.

Lucius Caesar, Roman sculpture, Augustan art

Lucius Caesar, nephew of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, late 1st Century BC, marble

Roman relief sculpture, Roman antiquities, Roman art

Roman decorative relief, late 1st Century BC or early 1st Century AD, marble.

Livia, Roman bronze sculpture, Augustan art, Roman antiquities

Roman head of a woman in the guise of a goddess, possibly Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus, cast bronze with silver inlays, 1st Century AD

Roman sculpture, Roman marble, Roman antiquities

A Roman bone box for holding the cremated remains of the deceased, represented by one or both of the standing couple on the main panel, flanked by seated women. Marble, 2nd Century AD. The deceased couple have chosen to have themselves depicted as a philosopher and a muse.

ancient roman art, ancient roman sculpture

Detail from the Roman bone box, showing the male half of the couple.

Roman antiquities, Roman artifacts, Roman sculpture

Detail from the Roman bone box, showing the female half of the central couple.

Roman mosaic, mosaic floor, Roman art

Roman mosaic floor panel of the 2nd Century AD, composed of various types of marble and glass. The design includes geometric and floral motives and an endless knot design, all enclosed in a braided border.

Roman sculpture, Roman Herakles, Roman art, Roman antiquities

Roman marble statue of Herakles (Hercules) with his club. 2nd Century AD.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperors, Roman Sculpture

Portrait bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, marble, late 2nd Century AD. Marcus Aurelius is best known as the philosopher Emperor, a champion of Stoic philosophy and author of the “Meditations.”