Amphorae, then and now

DRAGICEVIC posterAuthor: Francis Dragičević
Mentor: Lecturer Miona Miliša, PhD

Arts Academy in Split (Croatia)
Study programme: Integrated undergraduate and graduate course of study in conservation-restoration
Specialization: Archaeological heritage (4th year of study)


In ancient times amphorae were in daily use. They were mainly containers used for the storage and transport of oil, wine, dried fruit... This is why they were produced in vast numbers. Most of them are similar in shape. Some of them are, however, different, and this difference in shape is due to the type of product they were intended for. The eastern side of the Adriatic Sea was a busy maritime route and many cargo ships ended their journey at its bottom. So far, Croatian coastal waters have yielded as many as 44 recorded archaeological sites containing amphorae of the older and younger Greco-Italic types. The vast number of the finds has led to the conclusion that part of them have been produced locally. In some cases the stoppers, which usually contain the mark of the workshop in which the amphora was produced, have survived. The big problem of these sites are insufficient resources for their protection. Therefore, the easy access and inadequate protection against plunder are the main reason of their vulnerability. The desire to possess something unique has led to the development of an important black market, so much so that of 30,000 stolen objects recorded by the Ministry of Culture, amphorae represent the largest group. Many of them were illicitly taken from the sea and sold, and now need serious conservation treatment, without which they will perish.

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Short biography

FRANCIS DRAGIČEVIĆ lives in Donji Humac, on the island of Brač. After finishing her high school education at the School of Fine Arts in Split, where she was a part of painting department, it seemed like a logical choice to enroll in the Arts Academy in Split. Francis is currently a fourth-year student, and she is specializing in conservation-restoration of archaeological materials.