Christian Oil Lamp

Beth Shean

5th-6th century CE

Bronze, height 16 cm., length 21.5 cm.

Excavations of the Israel Dept. of Antiquities and Museums.

This lamp, cast in one piece except for the lid of the filling hole, was excavated in a Byzantine building in Beth Shean, known as the “mansion” because of its size and the quality of the many artifacts it yielded. The lamp is of the well-known type, and there is a large corpus of Byzantine bronze lamps featuring crosses on their handle-guards, many of them found during scientific excavations. Together with the innumerable pottery lamps decorated with crosses or other Christian motifs, they reflect the spread of the Christian population prior to the Islamic conquest in the seventh century.

Treasures of the Holy Land- Ancient Art from the Israel Museum. New York- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986