Antiquities > Oil Lamps

Samaritan oil lamp - authentic?


Jason H2:
Hi, I've had this oil lamp for a while and have always suspected it might be a more modern fake, it was sold as an authentic "Samaritan Oil Lamp" and was supposed to be authentic. I was wondering if anyone could tell anything from these photos I just took?

Any comments appreciated.

Your lamp is indeed of the 'Samaritan' type and is authentic.

This type of lamp (Adler S3) has been found in Israel and Jordan, with a concentration in the Samaria region (a large area north of Jerusalem). The region was dominated by Samaritans but also inhabited by Jews, Christians and pagans.

Adler dates the S3 type to the late 3rd - 5th century AD but I would place most of them somewhat later and tend to agree more with the 6th - 7th century AD range proposed by Israeli & Avida. Your own example, with its comparatively coarse decoration, its undefined base and its extended flattish handle, is undoubtedly in the latter date range, the Byzantine period.

Although Levantine ("Holy Land") lamps have been extensively faked, it is relatively easy to distinguish them by the style, fabric, patina and other details (usually even in a good photograph). Your own lamp is clearly genuine. Also, the repertoire of fakes is large but ultimately limited and they become very familiar after a while; the type of your lamp is not among them.


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