A Troupe of Six Terracotta Acrobat Figurines found in a Votive Pit at Thmuis

  • 1 Durham University, Dept of Archaeology, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, Great Britain


Excavations by the University of Hawaii at the Greco-Roman City of Thmuis in 2011 unearthed a group of fragmentary acrobat terracotta figurines in a votive pit located up on the central portion of the tell in grid square R-13 in the heart of the ancient city. Examination of the terracottas and the material from within the pit showed that these figurines dated to the Late Hellenistic Period or the Early Roman Period. They were subsequently ritually deposited in a pit within an abandoned structure around the second half of the 1st Century A.D. The acrobats are modelled in classical Greek style and form part of the genre of figurines and scenes representing Africans that were popular in Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period. These terracotta figurines are the first example of this terracotta mould series to be found in Egypt depicting this pose.

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The Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, the oldest Egyptological journal, covers the whole field of Egyptology including Demotic, Coptic and Meroitic studies. The contributions examine the language, history, religion, art, and material culture of the ancient Nile valley. In addition, they deal with the history of Egyptology and with Egypt’s influence on contemporary and later cultures.