1887.1.414

Copper alloy mirror broken in three pieces. [MN 25/06/2010]

Place details: EUROPE. Greece / Attica [Attikí] [Αττική] Athens [Αθήνα] Plateia Omonoias. Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Copper Alloy Metal / Mirror Metal / ?. Processes: Cast / Polished / ?. Dimensions: L = 200 mm Diam = 170 mm Maker: Unknown Field Collector: Athanasios Sergiou Rhousopoulos When Collected: 1866 Other Owners: 1866, Athanasios Sergiou Rhousopoulos; 1871, purchased from Rhousopoulos by George Rolleston; 1874, given by Rolleston to University Museum PRM Source: Oxford University Museum of Natural History Acquired: Transferred 1886

KEYWORD: Mirror / Grave Good / Toilet Article / CLASS: Toilet / Death / Religion / ?.

Object description: Copper alloy mirror broken in three pieces. The mirror is a flat circle with a projection at one edge to form a handle. [MJD (Verve) 24/7/2017]

Publications history, trails & websites: Illustrated in colour as Figure 15.5 on page 318 of 'The Aegean and Cyprus', by Yannis Galanakis and Dan Hicks, in World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A Characterization, edited by Dan Hicks and Alice Stevenson (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2013), pp. 312.335. Caption (same page): 'Figure 15.5 (a and b) Bronze mirror disc, dating from the 4th century BCE. The label in Greek reads 'The skull of a woman from a tomb at Vari in Attica, excavated in 1866. There are also more bones (available for sale) and a bronze mirror, 500-250 BCE'. It belongs to the 1874 sale of objects and bones from A.S. Rhousopoulos to George Rolleston (PRM Accession Number 1887.1.414).'. [MJD 24/06/2014]

Research notes: Related Documents File - Translation by Maria Economou based on version seen in Accession Book, literal translation: 'Ashes of a woman from grave in Vari of Attica excavated in year 1861. It also has bones and bronze mirror [misspelt in Accession Book IV entry] 500-250 BC.' Maria is of the opinion that the Accession Book is incorrect and that the label clearly refers to Vari (close to Athens) in Attica. [AP Leverhulme project on founding collection 1995-1998]

Dr Yannis Galanakis, Ashmolean Museum, has advised that letters in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History confirm that this mirror was purchased by George Rolleston from A. S. Rhousopoulos in 1871. It is associated with a skull now in London's Natural History Museum (NUM): Skull 607: NHM London, unit 202 – 5 – 5 (previously in the OUMNH) Skull (‘skull & lower jaw without left condyle of an ancient Greek woman’ according to the OUMNH register records "‘other bones’ as having been found in this tomb, dug up in 1866). Adult. Male: ‘Bare, Attica, together with a bronze mirror. 200 – 500 B.C.’" See RDF for email from Ionannis (Yannis) to Alice Stevenson. [AS 03/06/2010]

Dr Yannis Galanakis examined this object on 09/07/10 and advised that the the Greek label reads: ‘Athens vi / Γυναικός κρανίον εκ / τάφου εν Βάρη Αττικ- / ης ανασκαφέντος εν / έτει 1866. έχει και / οστά άλλα και κάτοπ- / [τρον] χαλκ[ούν] 250-500 / π.Χτου.’ Translation: ‘Athens vi / The skull of a woman from / a tomb at Vari in Attica, / excavated in the / year 1866. there are also / more bones and a bronze / mirror 250-500 / BC.’ Dr Galanakis believes that 'this label was written by George Rolleston upon the arrival of this object from Greece to Oxford. It was originally deposited in the University Museum in 1874. It was later transferred to the PRM. The label probably copies the information provided by Athanasios Rhousopoulos on the box that originally accompanied this object and the skeletal remains. It was purchased by Rolleston from Rhousopoulos in 1871. This is certainly not part of Pitt Rivers’ founding collection as the accompanying (modern) plastic label suggests. It was almost certainly transferred to the PRM from the University Museum in 1884 or 1886 along with the other Rolleston objects.' Note also that the accession book entry referring to Bari (Italy) is incorrect and that it Bari (Greece) that is being referred to. [AS 12/07/2010; MN 13/07/2010]