Head of Young Man

Gozo Group
About This Artefact

I.D. no: 32328

Dimensions: Max. H. 17 cm; Max. W. 12 cm.

Material: Fine-grain white marble

Provenance: From the sea off Gozo.[1]

Current location: Museum of Archaeology, Gozo

Condition: Broken at the level of the lower neck. The surface of the break is rough and has a central hole (probably modern, for display purposes). A somewhat major chip at the very summit of the hair. Smaller chips at the front lower end of neck, on left ear and nose tip. Smaller abrasions on lips and various parts of facial surfaces. Traces of light corrosion all over, including the hair.

Description:  Head of a round-faced youth with wide-open eyes and tight-lipped, almost pouting, mouth. The head is turned at a sharp angle to the right in relation to the neck. Large almond-shaped eyes and somewhat cursorily shaped ears. Full-bodied hair with thick, curly locks displaying four drilled holes at the centre of their respective locks above the right temple.

Discussion: In spite of its idealized youthful features the head possesses a fair degree of characterization that tends to place it within the human realm, possibly as a portrait. As no close parallels or similarities have been traced in ancient iconography and physiognomy, there is a certain degree of uncertainty concerning its antiquity. If really ancient, however, its style and carving technique would place it comfortably in the Hellenistic age.

Bibliography: (previous publications of item): Zammit 1962: 7: ‘small marble head of Hellenistic type … recovered … in Gozitan waters’. Otherwise unpublished.

[1] Zammit 1962: 7. No trace, however, of marine biological activity on the marble.