Name for a vessel made of clay, earthenware, bronze and more rarely of glass. The Greek name "amphora" is derived from the fact that the vessel could be carried by "two handles" ("amphi" = "carrying two handles" and "phéro" = "carrying"). In the case of larger volumes or weights, this was done by two persons. It was probably invented by the Canaanites, the forefathers of the Phoenicians, and brought to Egypt in 1500 BC. The amphorae became the most popular vessel in antiquity, used for liquids of all kinds, especially oil or wine, and was later brought to China by the Greeks.
The classic wine amphora was a bulbous clay vessel with two handles on a narrow neck and a pointed lower part. Most amphorae did not have a foot, so they could not be placed without a three-legged stand, but could also be stored lying down or hung from the handles. They were also often used for ship transport, for which they were placed in a thick layer of sand to fix them with their pointed lower part. There were many different forms, including the Attic pelike (also called stamnos) with a fixed base and short neck, which was mainly used for storing and transporting wine and oil, but also as an urn for storing ashes in tombs. Small amphorae for ointments, perfumes or fragrances were called amphoriskos.