Height: 12.500 cm
Gift of Mrs J.T. Bent
Room 11: Cycladic Islands
Late Cycladic, about 1550-1500 BC
From the island of Therasia, Aegean Sea
A small vase from under the volcano
This juglet has eyes painted on each side, and a row of dots around the neck. Though not particularly impressive, it has a very interesting provenance. It comes from Therasia, the second largest of the roughly circular group of islands that make up modern Thera (Santorini). Thera is an active volcano, and a large-scale eruption in the Late Bronze Age (probably in about 1530 BC) changed the shape of the island. A huge, sea-filled central caldera formed as we see it today, and the land mass was broken into three smaller parts.
The juglet was given to the British Museum by Mrs Mabel Bent, who travelled in the Cyclades with her husband James Theodore Bent, the excavator and collector, in 1883 and 1884. The fruits of their research on Antiparos formed the basis of the Museum's Early Cycladic collection. This juglet must have been a personal possession, separately acquired, which she later gave to the Museum. It was recovered from Therasia at a time when only occasional stray finds from the island of Thera were known. Excavations have since revealed a large settlement on the south shore of Thera itself, its art and architecture heavily influenced by Minoan Crete. This juglet, by contrast, is purely in the island style.