Minoan Marine Style Rhyton [Object of the Day #95]

October 29, 2012



This rhyton, decorated with six leaping dolphins against a rocky seascape, is an example of the Marine Style in Minoan pottery.   It has a hole at the bottom and may have been used for libations.  The lively Marine Style, with its depictions of dolphins, octopi, and other sea creatures amid rocks and seaweed, is perhaps the most distinctive of Minoan pottery styles.

The rhyton was found in the excavations of Richard Seager, on the little island of Pseira, in the Gulf of Mirabello, in east Crete.   Seager excavated at Pseira in 1906-1907.  He uncovered a Minoan town with streets and blocks of houses and found substantial amounts of Late Minoan pottery of the same date as the rhyton.  Along with numerous settlements on the island, the town was destroyed at the end of Late Minoan IB.

American archaeological exploration of Crete began in 1900, and Seager, along with Harriet Boyd Hawes and Edith Hall Dohan, were pioneering archaeologists in those early years.  They uncovered Minoan settlements, like that on Pseira, in east Crete, and their work added immeasurably to our understanding of the Minoan civilization.

Penn Museum Object #MS4287

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database