“It’s a deep bowl, like the one I use to serve figs, like a basin but with a lid.”
That’s the way Miriam described a lecane to Phoebe. It’s one of the dozens of kinds of two-handled Greek vessels called “vases”. This kind was used as a basin for washing one’s feet, vomiting into, or storing miscellaneous household goods like cups and clothes. A smaller version of the same shape was filled with gifts from the father of the bride and presented to his son-in-law at the time of the marriage.
Because this ancient pottery is virtually indestructible—it can break but the sherds cannot be destroyed—its presence has shed light on the dates and locations of ancient sites and points of trade. Moreover, the painted decorations can answer questions about the religion and daily life of the people who made them.
But the lecane in THE DEADLIEST THIEF was not used as a basin for foot washing, vomiting, storing household goods, or studying life during classical times. It was used to hide some of the loot stolen from the temple of Artemis, one-third to be exact. The more significant question is where was the lecane hidden—hidden so well that even Miriam couldn’t find it—and for that answer, you’ll have to click here.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!