N.inv. Pigorini/ Serie W

Nodulus 71956 is part of a group of five noduli bearing the impression “rowing boat with rower”. (Alberti 2013, 10).

It is not inscribed.

The noduli are small clay masses, which were not attached to any objects by means of strings. They may bear from one to three impressions, and they may sometimes bear inscriptions. They were probably used as tokens (Hallager 1990, 121; Perna 1994, 93; Hallager 2010, 205).

This nodulus was discovered in the North-West Quarter, between the Room 13, also known as “Stanza dei Sigilli”, and the Portico 11, like most of the cretulae probably fallen from the upper floor, which collapsed in the fire that destroyed the Villa (Halbherr 1903, 30; Levi 1925, 73; for the provenance of administrative documents See Militello 1988, 1992, 2001, 2011).

Measures 2.15 x 1.2 x 1.0 cm.

The seal impression HT 118 recurs 45 times; in particular, it occurs five times in the “Pigorini corpus” (Del Freo 2002-2003, 69).

It shows the motif of a rowing boat with the prow in the shape of a griffin head and a stylised rower. The effort of rowing appears to be suggested by the rower’s posture.

It has been suggested that the rower might bring to mind the iconographic motif of the “Goddess from beyond the sea” (Galanakis 2007, 124).

The motif of the rowing boat is not unparalleled, as suggested by the golden ring from Mochlos

(Tully-Crooks 2015, 138-9).


The poor state of conservation first led to the interpretation of a hawk or a little eagle – considering the motif vertically. However, further discussion suggested that this ambiguity might also be regarded as not unintentional (McGowan 2011; 2018).

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