Amphoras in Brazil ?

I recall a snippet on a PBS programme about finding a Greek/Roman amphora in a Brazilian dig… Don’t remember any other details.

Gonna go look around the net, but any TM input ?

“Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

  • T.Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

Ok, I’ll bite. WHAT is an amphora???

From Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: am·pho·ra
Pronunciation: 'am§-f&-r&
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural am·pho·rae /-"rE, -"rI/; or -ras
Etymology: Latin, modification of Greek amphoreus, amphiphoreus, from amphi- + phoreus bearer, from pherein to bear – more at BEAR
Date: 14th century
1 : an ancient Greek jar or vase with a large oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles that rise almost to the level of the mouth
2 : a 2-handled vessel shaped like an amphora

Seriously, folks… for those of you in need of a dictionary, here’s a link to a handy online version:

It’s amazing. Just type in a word, and it gives you the definition. It’s fun, and it’s EASY!

Oh, btw… the 2nd definition quoted above answers the alleged question. Just because it has an amphora shape does not mean it was produced in the Old World.

nickrz, are you some vehement anti cultural diffusionist? Can’t stand to think that there were important pre-Columbian contacts? Do you believe that the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria were the 15th century equivalents of the Saturn V? I will speculate that the amphorae found were more likely Carthaganian or Ibero-Punic. The Carthagaians effectively closed the Pillars of Hercules until the end of the second Punic War. There are historical accounts of their exploration of the west coast of Africa and interesting reports, althought I have never seen the actual translations, of their explorations of some western lands. Apparently, reports of this land were controlled so as to keep competition away. (I know this sounds a little too convenient.) However, Ibero-Punic contact around 300-150 BC would explain some mysteries such as some runic-like inscriptions, the beginning of the Adena culture, etc. I am not a fervent diffusionist nor do I take any cultural pride in what are Punic explorations but do look at the data and in this case the hard evidence.

The newbies have been kind of snippy lately, eh?

Anyway even though Nickrz is quite possibly the most vehement anti cultural diffusionist I can think of, (it’s all the guy talks about) this information seems to cast doubt on the Brazilian amphoras.

It’s an email communication in the archives of the University of Michigan Department of Classical Studies. It was apparently a hoax.

Speculation is fun, but doesn’t answer questions, and often leads to bankruptcy (fiscal or intellectual).

The purpose of Straight Dope is to avoid speculation and deal in actual fact. NOT that most of the members here necessarily agree :wink:

Really now, a moderator replies with a purely factual message and he gets accused by Mipsman of not engaging in wild speculations? That’s not very fair.

Why must we assume that a 2-handled vessel is automatically Greek, or European? I’ve seen an ancient metal statue of a Chinese warrior who looks for all intents and purposes like a Viking, but I certainly don’t think that the Chinese culturally diffused in North Europe a few hundred or a few thousand years ago.

Especially in the light of the link that Alphagene provided regarding the dubious veracity of this strange claim, we really ought to bring Occam’s razor into our daily lives a bit more. Is it sensible to assume that the ancient Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, or whoever else (none of whom possessed very advanced sailing technology, and who got off on stories of a hero lost in the Mediterranean and nearby seas for 10 years) crossed the ocean and settled in Brazil, leaving behind NO evidence except one vase? Or is it more sensible to wait for hard evidence before engaging in wild speculations?

The Romans in Brazil is probably just another attempt to lay cultural/ethnic claim to land. We have seen similar ridiculous attempts by people trying to claim that white people were in North America before the Indians. It is now suggested that the first people in the Americas were actually black (something that makes more sense but which we must still verify properly):

We should wait for hard evidence before speculating wildly about ancient cultures travelling huge distances, and we really ought to look at WHY some people want these claims to be true so badly, and what their motives really are. Desire for something to be true does not equal truth.

Try this link:

This is a discussion of ‘cocaine mummies’ – mummies found in Egypt, but found to contain both cocaine and nicotine.