Antiquities > Oil Lamps

Herodian Oil Lamp Fragment, Jerusalem Type?

(1/2) > >>

Hi, all.  Here is a neat little piece of a Herodian type oil lamp from Caesarea Maritima.  I like it because you can see the inside of the nozzle and how it was attached to the wheel made body in a separate operation, as opposed to the later mould made lamps that were manufactured in one step.  I think it may be the "Jerusalem" sub type, which is characterized by the black color of the clay, resulting from firing in a low oxygen kiln.  I realize the clay is only light charcoal grey, but I think this may be the result of weathering from exposure on the sand dunes.  The more protected areas of the interior seem to be a little darker, but please correct me if I am wrong.  As always, any additions or corrections to my description would be appreciated.  Thanks, V-drome

Herodian Oil Lamp Nozzle
Caesarea Maritima
Late 1st Century BCE-Middle 1st Century CE
Fragment of a "Jerusalem" Type Herodian oil lamp consisting
of a complete nozzle attached to a remnant of the body.  (Adler type JERU.1).
This lamp had a rounded wheel-made body and a nozzle that was made separately,
joined to the body, and then smoothed with a blade, giving it a splayed shape and
concave sides.  Decoration is sparse, consisting of small incised circles on either side
of the wick hole, a horizontal hashed line across the middle, and two more circles along
the base of the nozzle.  The fine-grained clay has a light charcoal grey appearance from
firing in a low oxygen environment.  This piece, though only a fragment, is interesting
in that it clearly shows the internal connection of the two parts that would otherwise be
very difficult to observe.
Dimensions: L3.8 x W4.6 x TH2.7cm.  Weight: 13.84gm.
Surface find Caesarea Maritima, 1974
(click for larger pic)

Great item!


I really like your nozzle fragment and I totally agree that fragments can be very interesting because they reveal interior details that would not normally be visible.

I'm glad to see you put the description "Jerusalem" firmly within quotation marks, indicating the word is only a convenient label. Despite the love of some Israeli archaeologists to label artefacts by pinpointing them to specific locations, I would be wary of taking the "Jerusalem" label used in the Adler book (JERU.1) too literally. Fragments of this type have been found throughout Israel and I'm not entirely convinced that Adler's statement "The few examinations done on lamps of this type reveal that they were manufactured in the area of Jerusalem" is as conclusive as it sounds. I personally prefer a more cautious approach.

A nozzle fragment similar to yours is included as KhQ 1571 (Fig. 4: 036.6) in MĹ‚ynarczyk, 'Terracotta Oil Lamps from Qumran: the Typology', Revue Biblique 2013, pp.114-6. I have attached screenshots of the fragment and the relevant text. You'll note that the ware is described as "grey to dark grey fabric with black slip" and the date ranges for examples found in Jerusalem are given as "AD 1-30 and AD 50-70".

Let me know if you would like to see the whole paper. I can put the PDF on my website and you could download it from there.

Thanks for your private message, Jimi. I've uploaded the Herodian lamp PDF to one of my sites and sent you the link in my reply to your message. You should be able to download it from there.

Let me know how you get on.


Got it!  Much appreciated.  I have another fragment to post soon with some questions.  This is really helping me to properly document and complete our catalogue of finds.

Best regards, Jimi


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version