Oil lamps were used throughout antiquity to produce light with an oil-based fuel source. Craftsmen and artisans from the Holy Land were skilled in potting terracotta lamps which burned with the oil of the area’s abundant olive trees. The lamps’ designs, shape, and decorations all serve as indicators of the time and place of production, as well as of the culture and standard of living enjoyed by the lamps’ users. Oil lamps from the Holy Land differed in their decoration from the traditional motifs of other civilisations. Lamps were also used as metaphors in the Bible, as a testimony of how appreciated such artefacts were among the people of Eastern Mediterranean regions.
Holy Land Terracotta Oil Lamp with Pinched Spouts
A light clay oil lamp from the Holy Land, dating to the Middle Iron Age, circa 2250-2000 BC. The lamp features an incised cross to the side, four pinched spouts, a flattened base and a shallow interior cavity. Each spout would have held a wick which, soaked in combustible would have been lit in order to provide light and fire for every households.
Period: Middle Bronze Age I Period
Condition: Fine, with some earthly encrustations to the surface.