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Large pottery storage jar (pithos)


Height: 113.000 cm

Gift of Minos Kalokairinos

GR 1884.8-7.1 (Vases A 739)

Room 12: Minoan and Mycenaean

    Large pottery storage jar (pithos)

    Minoan, about 1450-1400 BC
    From Knossos, Crete

    This large storage jar was found in the third 'magazine' (store-room) in the West wing of the palace at Knossos by a Cretan antiquary from Herakleion, named Minos Kalokairinos, who conducted small-scale excavations there in 1878, before the arrival of Arthur Evans. He sent a number of jars like this one to various European museums, and his excavations confirmed the archaeological potential of the site.

    The storage of large quantities of agricultural produce, mainly grain crops, olive oil and wine, was one of the main functions of the palaces of Minoan Crete. Gathered from the surrounding countryside, it was then used or redistributed by the palaces. Through this, they reinforced their control of the island.

    The rope decoration may reflect the way such huge jars were transported. Once in place, they must have been filled and emptied using smaller vessels or dippers.

    R. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenean art-1, revised edition (London, 1979)


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