Jewish Museum & Cultural Center

Archive of the Month

Ancient Israeli Oil Lamp    (from an archeological site in Israel.)   

The earliest lamps known in archaeology were simple handmade ceramic bowls, with nothing to distinguish them from other bowls except carbon soot spots visible on the rim. They would have been filled with olive oil and had a flax wick extending from the oil to the rim.   Such lamps date to the Early Bronze Age (third millennium BC).     

By 2000 BC, potters began creating small protrusions (spouts) on the rim to better control the wicks. While a few are known with 7 spouts, and many with 4, most have only a single wick-spout. All were small enough to fit into a person’s open palm.

At the museum, we have one one of these lamps, currently on display.

Presented by Andrew Quicke, PhD.  May 2016


Website Builder