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Microasiatic sarcophagus found in two large separated fragments.  On the sides of the preserved frontal part, there is a relief of a scene of Dionysius flirting with a dancing Maenad. On the short sides there are carvings of a Satyr’s mask, a swag and a bunch of grapes.

On the two large fragments, the sarcophagus presents traces of epilithic (superficial) and endolithic (internal) biological colonisation.  The epilithic growth is represented especially by little calcareous tubes of different shapes and sizes caused by several genera of sedentary sea worms (Polychaeta). Encrusting red algae thalli are often compact and thickly covering, limited in some areas and widespread in others. There is a rare presence of Brachiopoda shells (marine animals provided with two valves, one adherent to the material, the other one free) and bivalve molluscs (Lamellibranchiata). The epilithic growth is present both on the well preserved surfaces (central image of the table below) and on the surfaces heavily attacked by endolithic organisms (sponges and bivalve molluscs).


As far as the endolithic colonisation is concerned, the artefact presents a vast and considerable degradation caused by boring sponges, visible as tiny, circular and isolated perforations and cavities that together form gaps of different sizes (image below).  In some parts, the artefact completely lost its outer layers and bioerosion affected the underlying layers up to a few centimetres deep.

Another sign of considerable degradation was caused by boring bivalve molluscs,  visible as holes up to 2 cm in diameter, some of them still containing their shells (as in the image below).  Considering the holes’ morphology and the presence of the remains of the molluscs, this bioerosion was attributed to the species Lithophaga lithophaga (commonly known as a date mussel) and Rocellaria dubia.

ARATA 2005, pp. 155-156; MEDAGLIA 2008, p. 116; MEDAGLIA 2010, p. 340.
Davidde B., Ricci S., Poggi D., Bartolini M., 2010. Marine bioerosion of stone artefacts preserved in the Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei in the Castle of Baia (Naples), Archaeologia Maritima Mediterranea; 7: 75-115.

Pensabene, 1978, pp. 116-117, n. 9, fig. 15;

Ricci S., Sacco Perasso C., Antonelli, F., Davidde Petriaggi B., 2015. Marine Bivalves colonizing roman artefacts recovered in the Gulf of Pozzuoli and in the Blue Grotto in Capri (Naples, Italy): boring and nestling species. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation (98) 89 – 100.

Ricci S., Davidde B., Bartolini M., Priori G. F., 2009. Bioerosion of lapideous objects found in the underwater archaeological site of Baia (Naples). Archaeologia Maritima Mediterranea, 6: 167-188.

Arata F. P. 2005, Opere d’arte dal mare. Testimonianze archeologiche subacquee del trasporto e del commercio marittimo di prodotti artistici, Monografie di Archeologia subacquea. Studi, ricerche e documenti, Roma

Medaglia S., 2008, Per un censimento dei relitti antichi lungo la costa crotonese. Nota preliminare, in Ricerche archeologiche e storiche in Calabria: modelli e prospettive, “Atti del convegno di studi in onore di Giovanni Azzimmaturo (Cosenza 2007)”, Cosenza.

Medaglia S. 2010, Carta archeologica della provincia di Crotone: paesaggi storici e insediamenti nella Calabria centro-orientale dalla Preistoria all’Altomedioevo, RICERCHE. Collana del Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti, IV, Università della Calabria, Cosenza.

MUSAS Ref. No.CAPCOL-04DimensionsPresumed total length approx. cm 230; h. cm 113MaterialsWhite marbleLocationSandpit inside the National Archaeological Museum of Capo ColonnaOriginWreck of Seleno EstDatingII - first half of III century A.D.Share