Measurement block (mensa ponderaria)

Greek, East Greek
Probably Hellenistic Period and later
2nd–1st century B.C.

Findspot: Anatolia (Turkey), Troad, Assos (Behramkale), Below the Agora


Overall: 111 x 46 x 22 cm (43 11/16 x 18 1/8 x 8 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Gallery 212A-B


Europe, The Ancient World


Weights and measures

A block containing five bowl-shaped cavities; may once have been set up in the public square as a standard for measures. Each bowl has a raised rim, and there are traces of inscriptions, naming the measures, on all but the second from left, where the surface is chipped away. In front of the largest cavity there is a groove cut on the surface of the block, probably intended to drain off spilled liquid or rainwater, as the block stood outside. Put together from two pieces.

The inscriptions from left to right read as follows:

KOT, i.e. κοτύλη (kotule)
CI , possibly ξέστης (xestes)
XOI, i.e. χοῖνιξ (choinix)
TPI, i.e. τριχοίνικοv (trichoinix)

It is speculated that the missing inscription most likely was TPI, i.e. τρικότυλοv (trikotule)


From Assos (Behramkale, Turkey); below the Agora. 1881-2: excavated by the Archaeological Institute of America; gift of the Archaeological Institute of America to MFA, January 1884.

Credit Line

Gift of the Archaeological Institute of America