Approximate location of the Fourmigue C wreck in Alpes-Maritimes

Description

Fourmigue C lies in 60 m of water off the seaside resort of Golfe Juan. She was a small ship, less than 20 m in length, loaded with Italian amphorae and a batch of luxury crafts in bronze. Reported in 1980 and already the subject of looting, the wreck was immediately scheduled for a series of selective surveys and rescue operations. She foundered some time between 80 and 60 BC. Her cargo comprised mainly wine amphorae, about a hundred of them, dating from the Hellenistic period; however what made the wreck unusual and of scientific value was an exceptional collection of bronze artefacts. This freight of luxury arts and crafts comprised bed ornaments and partially preserved vases, which were very similar, both in form and style, to those found on the contemporaneous wrecks of Mahdia (Tunisia) and Antikythera (Greece). It is possible they came from the same potteries, probably situated on the island of Delos (Greece). One of the most remarkable artefacts was a situla richly decorated with Dionysiac masks, which was pieced back together from various bronze fragments.

Photograph of a diving bell
Photograph of a mask of the god Dionysus on a situla
Photograph of a mule-shaped couch armrest

Diving bell used to excavate the  Fourmigue C wreck.

© Bernard Liou/DRASSM

Dionysiac mask decorating the bronze situla.

© Gérard Réveillac/Fonds DRASSM/CNRS-CCJ

Detail of the protome (representation of the foremost part of a real or imagined animal) of a mule.

© Antoine Chéné/Fonds DRASSM/CNRS-CCJ

Rescue operation manager

  • Bernard Liou/Drassm (1981)

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