Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Pottery Bonanza Volume 49 Number 5, September/October 1996
by Robert S. Bianchi

Egyptian, Persian, and Greco-Roman pottery has been found in a workshop at the site of Athribis, modern Benha, 50 miles north of Cairo. The discovery is helping art historians develop narrow chronological periods for Egyptian art from the last centuries of pharaonic civilization into the Roman period, 305 B.C.-A.D. 350.

Numerous coins found at the site allowed a team from the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology to date the workshop and its terra-cotta figurines, one of which depicts an armed battle between a frog and mouse, possibly the earliest known representation of a scene from the Batrachomimachia, a Hellenistic Greek parody of Homer's Iliad. The motifs of other figurines are erotic and have been associated with the cult of Dionysos. Also found at the site were gold earrings, each decorated with a miniature winged Eros, and numerous sherds of faience vessels.

© 1996 by the Archaeological Institute of America