The Ayla-Axum amphorae are narrow conical amphoras. They are named after the widest range of finds in the Red Sea. The Ayla-Axum amphora has parallels from at least three terrestrial sites in Eritrea and Ethiopia: Aksum, where amphora shards with gray fabric were found by the Deutsche Aksum Expedition (Zahn 1913: 208); Matara dating to the 4th through 7th centuries (Anfray 1990: 118); and Adulis (Paribeni 1907: 551) examples of which are on display in the National Museum in Asmara. Other examples have been found at Berenike in Egypt, where the amphoras date firmly to an early 5th century context in what may be the best stratified examples (Hayes 1996: 159-61); from Aqaba in Jordan where many examples have been found, including their kilns; at Elephantine Island, Egypt (Gempeler 1992: 191); on The Shipwreck at Black Assarca Island, Eritrea (Pedersen 2008; Pedersen 2000); and in the Mediterranean such as on the late 6th-century shipwreck at Iskandil Burnu, Turkey, as well as in Spain and Carthage in strata datable from the mid-fourth to the sixth centuries (Keay 1986: 356, 358, 471). The largest number (c. 500) came to light during excavations at Zafar/Yemen.
In 2013, an archaeological expedition to Saudi Arabia led by Ralph K. Pedersen, then guest professor at Philipps University Marburg, discovered a shipwreck containing Ayla-Axum amphoras. The site was discovered by Marburg student Matthias Link during a survey along a reef.
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