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Everyday Terracotta Oil Lamps

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Replica Herodian Oil Lamp

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

These terracotta lamps generally were lit using olive oil and a wick. A lamp could burn for 3-5 hours before the oil needed refilling.

 

'For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.' Proverbs 6:23

 

 

Canaanite Four Spouted Lamp

 

Date: 3100 - 1850 BC

Place: Found in Israel

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 130 mm long

 

Four Spouted Lamp

 

Date: 2400 – 2000 BC

Place: Tiwal esh-Sharqi [Jordan]

 

Analysis has shown that the four spouted lamps used fish oil. This oil burned with one quarter of the efficiency of olive oil.

 

 

Canaanite Lamp

 

Date: 2000 - 1700 BC.

Place: Found in Jericho

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 135 mm long.

 

 

Canaanite Oil Lamp

 

Date: 1850 - 1550 BC.

Place: Found in Israel

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 148 mm long

 

‘For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life’ Proverbs 6:23.

 

 

 

Judean Oil Lamp

 

Date: 1200 - 930 BC.

Place: Found in Israel

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 142 mm long.

  

'Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him [Elisha]. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.' 2 Kings 4:10

 

 

 

Judean Oil Lamp and Iron Age Oil Juglet

 

Date: 1200 - 586 BC.

Place: Oil juglet found in Judea

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 95 mm high.

  

Hellenistic Oil Lamps 

Date: 330 - 63 BC.

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, NZ.

 

Grey lamp

Place: Found in Hebron

Approximately 85 mm long

 

Red lamp

Place: Found in Israel

Approximately 84 mm long

 

This decorative style of lamp became common after the conquest of Alexander the Great and his introduction of Greek (Hellenistic) culture across the Empire.

Hasmonean Pinched Oil Lamp

 

Date: 200 - 100 BC.

Place: Found in Hebron

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 73 mm long. The Hasmoneans were a prominent Jewish family which ruled Judea for some of the 'Intertestimental period'.

 

Note the lack of decoration on the Jewish lamps, this one and the two below. This is probably due to the laws in the Torah forbidding the use of images.

Early Roman Period Oil Lamp

 

Date: 63 BC - 330 AD.

Place: Found in Israel

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

Approximately 73 mm long.

 

‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’ Matthew 5:14-16.

 

 

Three-Spouted Lamp

 

Date: 1st century AD

Place: Jerusalem [Israel]

 

Photographed at the M. C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

 

From Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations.

 

Herodian Oil Lamp

 

Date: c. 100 AD

Place: Found in Jerusalem.

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Approximately 87 mm long.

 

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins describes young women with lamps which ran out of oil around midnight. The five wise virgins went prepared with a small juglet of oil to replenish their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13). See the image above of a Judean oil juglet.

 

 

 

Byzantine Oil Lamp

 

Date: 330 - 640 AD.

Place: Found in Israel.

 

Photographed at Bibleworld Museum & Discovery Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.

 

During the Byzantine era, lamps became more decorative, with Jewish and Christian symbols reflecting the beliefs of the lamp owners. This 'Christian' lamp has a cross on the handle.