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Kamnaskires' Top 10 Antiquities of 2022


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Forewarning: Major liberties taken (i.e. cheating) with #8 below!



I have a real fondness for potsherds. I picked up a couple of groups of sherds this year. This lot may be the most interesting:


Eleven terra sigillatta fragments, c. 1st - 2nd century AD, largest measures about 67mm (2.6") at widest point.
Above: Group shot of the eleven.
Below: Individual studies of seven of the sherds:
- Apollo seated left with kithara; for a very similar but clearer rendition of the scene, see this fragment from the Museen am Donaulimes in Österreich: https://www.donau-limes.at/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Apollo_CIMG7573G.jpg
- Recumbent animals.
- Two figures, including nude male at right.
- Helmeted warrior left, holding round shield.
- Hindquarters of a dog or boar.
- Lion (?) right.
- Nude warrior in contrapposto with shield and, perhaps, spear.




Apulian blackware figural handle from a large jug, head (of Zeus?) at its base, 13.4 cm (h) (5.3"), c. 4th century BC, ex-Private collection from the 1960s.



I am going to totally cheat with #8. I am declaring it a five-way tie between the following weapons. Each is special in its own way, and they are genuinely on par for me, as far as their merits go.


From left to right:
Iron spearhead, 18.4 cm, possibly Roman (as it was listed), 1st - 4th century AD, supposedly from the Danubian Limes. (Although such types are indeed cataloged among Roman weapons of Eastern Europe, there were similar spearheads used through the Middle Ages...thus I list this as "possibly" Roman.) I recently started a small collection of European iron weaponry, and I think this is the most interesting piece of that subset so far.
Bronze spearhead from northwest Iran, 23 cm, 1200 - 800 BC. A very, very rare type associated with Marlik.
Bronze spear butt (counterpoise), 22 cm, likely northwest Iran, early first millennium BC. I own five spear butts from this period, but this is the only one that is fully intact. (Other than a corroded-out hole.) The others have broken tips. So, this earned its spot here.
Bronze dagger, Western Asia, 31.1 cm, possibly Luristan, 1200 - 800 BC. This is my fifth dagger with a flanged hilt (for bone, wood, or ivory inlay) from this period. While it's the worst of the those in terms of its condition, it's the only flanged-hilt dagger I picked up this year, and I'm glad I got it.
Iron dagger, 22.86 cm, possibly Parthian or early Sassanian, c. 1st - early 4th century AD? Although this dagger was listed by the seller as Roman, its form closely matches iron daggers and swords of the late Parthian and early Sassanian periods in Iran (as cataloged by Khorasani, as well as by Farrokh, Harmian, Kiapi, and Lojandi.)




Jug, Roman, c. 3rd century AD, 10.8 cm (w) x 14.6 cm (h). I like the simple form of this one.




Bronze dagger, 40.6 cm, northwest Iran, possibly Amlash, 1200 - 800 BC. Crescent-shaped guards were prevalent in daggers and dirks of Early Iron Age Iran. I was pleased to snag this example.




Bronze dagger blade, 39.4 cm, northwest Iran, 9th - 8th century BC. While some sellers have listed this rare type of ancient Iranian blade as a spearhead, specialists/researchers usually call them daggers. This type has been excavated from tombs in and around Amlash in NW Iran, and is datable based on adjacent fibulae.




Bronze dagger, 24 cm, western Iran, late 3rd to 2nd millennium BC. A very rare type, associated with Luristan and Elam.




Bronze spearhead, northwest Iran, possibly Marlik, 1200 - 800 BC. At 62.5 cm (almost 25") long, the largest piece in my collection.




Vessel/Pot, western or northwestern Iran, 25.4 cm (w), c. 1000 BC. Beak-spouted vessel with carinated body, decorated with pinched bands and incised lines. Some small losses. The best of my three Early Iron Age Iranian beak-spouted vessels.




Bronze sword, 51.1 cm, northwestern Iran, Talish area, c 1000 - 800 BC. From a hugely important collection (John F. Piscopo). A standout acquisition for me.

Edited by Kamnaskires
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Wow, these are fantastic! And nothing like anything I have in my collection. The one time I bought a couple of ancient daggers/spearheads on ebay, they vanished from the tracking system and never arrived. Even though it was a US dealer. Stolen by someone in the postal system, I'm sure.

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3 hours ago, DonnaML said:

The one time I bought a couple of ancient daggers/spearheads on ebay, they vanished from the tracking system and never arrived.

That's awful. Sorry to hear this, Donna.


To your point: Yes, it can be a pretty specialized area of antiquities collecting, depending on whether one chooses to dabble with just an item or two, or go whole hog. I blame Dorney, who sold me my first Western Asian weapon (an arrowhead), for making me whole-hoggish. As I recall, there was no label affixed to that arrowhead, cautioning about potential addiction. Nevertheless, I took the high road and chose not to sue. 😁

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that's a good year for your collection. The swords and spearheads are beautiful and interesting. I am sure you have now a representing collection, but go on. Personnaly, I prefer very nice potsherds, it is a very nice collection, there are really very nice sherds in terra sigillata and these pottery fragments are very interesting and important.

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