Dalmatia, Museum, Roman art

Artefact: Fish-shaped Glass Bottle from the Roman necropolis of Iader (Zadar)

While I finished working on my next blog entry about Classical Pula (Croatia), I started a new weekly post called Artefact of the Week. Not only have I been lucky enough to explore many ancient sites through my archaeology travels, but I have also been fortunate to visit many museums.

Let’s begin with this beautiful bottle in the shape of a fish on display at the new Museum of Ancient Glass in Zadar (however, this photo was taken at the Glass exhibition currently being held in different museums in Zagreb). It was found at the Roman necropolis of Iader (Zadar) during archaeological excavations in 2005 and dates from the second half of the first century AD.

Fish-shaped Glass Bottle, from Iader Roman necropolis, grave 59, 2nd half of 1st century AD, Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar © Carole Raddato
Fish-shaped Glass Bottle, Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar
© Carole Raddato

According to the Archaeologica Adriatica journal, two of the eight examples of these bottles were found in the Croatian littoral. Since none of the findspots was located in the western part of the Roman Empire (places of discovery are Greece, Romania, and Croatia), it is believed that fish-shaped relief bottles were created in the eastern Mediterranean, most likely in the Syrian glassmaking workshops in the first century AD when small Syrian relief bottles in vegetal and anthropomorphous shapes with relief decoration were very popular  (source).

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