Herodian Oil Lamp

Pottery with fiber wick

First century BCE – first century CE

The earliest occurrences of this type of lamp were in strata associated with Herod’s reign (37-4 BCE). However, the dating of the lamp has been modified by recent excavations. A similar lamp type was uncovered in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, in strata relating to the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), thus indicating a date later than was previously assumed.

The lamp’s characteristic features are a circular wheel-made body, flat unmarked base, and large central filling hole. The spatulate nozzle was separately handformed and subsequently attached to the body. Traces of a palm-fiber wick were found in the lamp’s nozzle.

Sussmann, Ayala and Ruth Peled, Scrolls from the Dead Sea; An Exhibition of Scrolls and Archeological Artifacts from the Collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority. New York- George Braziller, 1993.