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Mahdia shipwrecklocked

  • R. J. A. Wilson

Extract

Source of a group of late 2nd-century bc Greek works of art. In 1907 an ancient shipwreck was located by sponge-divers in the waters off Mahdia on the east coast of Tunisia. The subsequent careful exploration of the ship and the lifting of its extensive cargo, carried out between 1908 and 1913, was the first operation of its kind in the Mediterranean. The principal cargo consisted of 60 marble columns, together with Ionic and Corinthian capitals, but also on board was a whole range of sculpture in both bronze and marble. The bronzes include an archaistic herm, a Dancing Eros, three grotesque dancing dwarfs (with suspension rings attached), statuettes of Eros with a Lyre, satyrs, Hermes and actors, two lamp holders in the form of an Eros and a Hermaphrodite, and various assorted appliqués, vessels, candelabra (for illustration see Candelabrum), lamps and couch attachments. The marbles, some badly corroded, include heads or busts of ...

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