Antiquities > Oil Lamps

Early Samaritan Oil Lamp from Caesarea Maritima


Hi, all.  Here is an oil lamp from Caesarea Maritima, a surface find from an area of disturbed ground near a road construction site around 1972.  I thought at first that it was a "Herodian" type according to Adler's classification, but then realized that the raised decoration, small handle, and irregular filler hole probably indicated a mould made rather than a wheel made lamp.  The closest forms I found on the on-line Adler site,, would be the "Daroma" type, D3, or perhaps the "Jerash" type, but with simpler decoration and a differently shaped handle than either of those.  The closest I found on David Knell's (Strobilus2) site,, would be Northern Palestine type RSP7.  I realize that there were many variations on these types, and my access to academic resources is very limited, so any advice or corrections to my descriptions would be appreciated.

Thanks, V-drome

Early Roman Oil Lamp
Caesarea Maritima
Late 1st-mid 2nd Century CE
Early Roman terracotta oil lamp, Adler type D.3?, moulded,
with a round body, irregular filler hole, and wedge shaped
knob handle.  The splayed nozzle has a bow-shaped end,
concave sides, and squared reeding consisting of seven short
parallel lines oriented toward the body of the lamp, plus two
curved lines tracing the transition to the body.  There is what
could be construed as a "wing" on one or both sides of the nozzle,
but they are barely discernible.  The shoulders are decorated in relief
with single pellets surrounded by double concentric circles.  Five of
these are placed toward the nozzle with an additional one on either
side of the handle for a total of seven.  The bottom of the lamp is
plain with a low ring for a base.
Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.7 x 2.7cm.  Weight: 48.56gm.
Surface find Caesarea Maritima, 1972
(click for larger pic)

Hello Jimi,

Although the curved sides of the nozzle may seem vaguely reminiscent of the 'Darom' type, they lack the scrolled form and the other features (pyramidal handle, small discus, 'ladder' motif on nozzle, etc.) decisively identify this lamp as the later so-called 'Early Samaritan' type, made from the very end of the 3rd until the 5th centuries AD.

An example of the general type is shown as RSP9 on my website:

The type is included in Adler (S1, pp.99-125) and in Israeli & Avida (pp.136-9).

Excellent!  Thank you, David.  I will update my gallery entry.


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