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Decorated Late Samaritan Oil Lamp Fragment from Caesarea Maritima

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Hi, all.  Here is another oil lamp fragment from Caesarea.  I am having trouble determining an exact reference because of the missing parts of the lamp and my limited access to references.  Any opinions or corrections to the description would be appreciated.  Also, I don't know the correct term for what I called the "circular ladder" design in the shoulder.  Let me know if there is a better way to refer to that, and anything else I should note.  It is interesting that the wick hole, if that is what it is, was punched at an angle right through the ladder designs on the nozzle.  You can see part of the ladder bent inside on the excess clay.  I suppose this could have been an extra air hole, but the distance between the fill hole and the wick hole matches that of my complete Late Samaritan/Early Byzantine lamp almost exactly.  Thanks, for looking!  V-drome

Decorated Oil Lamp Fragment
Caesarea Maritima
5th-7th Century CE?
Fragment of an Early Byzantine or Samaritan oil lamp (Adler Type S.3? or BYZ.6?), or (Knell type BSP7? BSP8?, or BSP16?), consisting of the front part of the rimmed filler hole, rear part of the wick hole, elongated nozzle with convex sides, and broad rounded shoulders.  The slightly trenched nozzle is decorated with two longitudinal "ladders", and raised linear borders that also surrounded the rim of the filler hole.  On each shoulder is a "circular ladder" containing a rosette of five petals, and traces of a plant-like design or inscription in front of that.  The wick hole, if that is what it is, was roughly punched through the design elements while the clay was wet, leaving an accumulation of excess clay on the inside.  There is no visible carbon around the opening.  Fabric: Slightly coarse, reddish-orange clay.  Manufacure: Mould made.
Dimensions: L5.0 x W4.9 x H1.3cm.  Weight: 15.0gm.
Surface find Caesarea Maritima, 1971
(click for larger pics)

Above post, text edited and three more photos added.

Very nice.  I like the views of construction techniques.

On another note - do you clean items such as this?  Not sure of the adhesions are easy to get off or not. 


Hi, Shawn.  I have not done anything other than rinsing it off.  I don't remember exactly where I found this, but the surface and raised designs are worn and the broken edges are slightly rounded.  It may have been in water at some point.  The accretions are very hard and rock-like, maybe harder than the clay, so it would be difficult to clean without damaging the piece.  Also the relief is not very high so the white material brings out the design a little.  The vast area of sand dunes north and south of the city along the beach were once carpeted with broken pottery sherds, and occasional small artifacts, the way a normal beach has seashells.  I know of at least one small excavation in the dunes that revealed a layer of dark, debris filled sand just beneath the surface, anywhere from 6 inches to several feet thick, lying on clean white sand.  I have always thought this material could have come from the extensive sewer system at Caesarea, as the channels were periodically cleaned out and the residue scattered on the surrounding agricultural fields, but this is just a guess!

I know the concrete-like stuff you are talking about and figured that was the case.  Shame it wasn't soft sand-like stuff that popped off with a toothpick.

I envy your experience.  I was at CM once and saw the beaches too.  Nice place.

To be able to beach comb Roman artifacts would be my true dream retirement....



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