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Lamps in Antiquity

Reproduction Ancient Oil Lamps
The replica ancient oil lamps in this section represent clay lamp styles used in ancient Judea or the Holy Lands. They span from the time of the Old Testament to the coming of the Christian movement in ancient Israel.  Several of these clay lamps are molded directly from ancient oil lamps. Others are made using ancient motifs on lamp bodies made from a mold of an undecorated original lamp. These reproduction Judean lamps can be used with olive oil like the originals.
All lamps on this page are $9.95 (USD) each.
Circa 1500 BC to 600 BC

Among the earliest of clay lamps is the saucer lamp. While styles changed from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, and saucer lamps were used in some areas into Medieval times, this variety is closest to the Late Bronze/Early Iron age transition. In antiquity, these developed after a shallow bowl had its edges folded to form a spout. These lamps would have been the style in use in the Old Testament.  Every Canaan lamp is hand folded,  so minor variation from that seen in the photo will occur, but all have this general look. 
(about 4.75 inches in diameter)  

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Circa 50 BC to AD 70
This is the best choice for a lamp type common in Judea during the ministry of Jesus.

Known as the Herodian because of its widespread use during the reign of Herod the Great (circa 37 BC to 4 BC), these lamps were typically wheel made with the spout applied by hand.  Although mainly confined to the Jerusalem area, they have also been found at Herodian, Masada, and other Jewish settlements in the region. This lamp, which is smaller than the one below, is made in a Roman style mold. Molded directly from an original.

  View original Herodian lamps
Circa AD 70 to AD 135 

Following the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, a new lamp style was developed in  the Hebron hill region by refugees from Jerusalem. Now mold-made, it was clearly descended from the Herodian. The style was popular from about AD 70 to the end of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt in AD 135. The grape and lily motif is molded from a cast of an original lamp. Darom was   a major production area of this style. The grapes may imitate a golden grape cluster at the Temple in Jerusalem. 
(3.75" by 2.75")  

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Circa AD 70 to AD 135 

A Darom style lamp, this model features a stylized palm tree with clusters of dates and vines, possibly a reference to the First Fruits festival in Israel. The symbol is also used in love poems (see Song of Solomon 7:8) and compared to the righteous (Psalms 92:12). 
(3.75" by 2.75") 

  View an original
replica roman oil lamp MARISA
Circa AD 70 to AD 135 <>

Yet another Darom type. The discus has a radiating pattern around the central filling hole. On either side of the wick hole are two raised circular designs.
(3.75" x 2.75") 
replica roman oil lamp VERONA
Circa 2nd-3rd century AD

This lamp, molded directly from the original, has an interesting "modern" history. It was acquired by a prominent San Francisco philanthropist in the early 1900s, supposedly in Egypt, and put on display during a special World Exposition. It was afterwards donated to a museum. It was subsequently heavily damaged in the earthquake of 1908, and several years later what remained of it was deaccessioned. The discus is a detailed geometric pattern. While the original was reportedly acquired in Egypt, this was probably a lamp made in ancient Israel.  

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Circa 2nd Century AD

A three-wick lamp, styled after original examples from Israel. Multi-wicked lamps produced more light, but also required more tending.
(4" by 2.5")  

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Circa AD 200 to AD 300 

Modeled after an original example found in Samaria, Central Palestine.  The Samaria features impressed leaves around a large central filling hole and has a slightly impressed  circular ring on the base. 
(2.75" by 2.5")  

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Circa AD 300 to 400 

The Atripalda lamp features a depiction of the Seven-Branched Menorah which was in the Temple of Jerusalem, captured by the Romans in the 1st Century AD. The reproduction is styled after an original Roman North African lamp dating to the 4th century AD, now in a museum in Jerusalem. Another very similar lamp was excavated from Atripalda, in Italy. Depictions of the Menorah are rare on early lamps, but more common in later centuries. 
(3.5" x 2")  

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Circa AD 300 to AD 400 

The Haifa also features a Menorah. This lamp, however, is of a style more closely associated with an origin in the Holy Lands. Lamps similar to this model are known from Samaria as well. This lamp is made from a cast of an original from Jerusalem. Similar lamps are in the Hebrew University collection, as well one in the Hect Museum at the University of Haifa. 
(3.5" by 2.5")  

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Circa AD 400 to 500 

A Byzantine "candlestick" lamp. Many researchers call the design a stylized menorah, although some argue it could also be a stylized palm branch, as many were used in Christian as well as Jewish homes of the 5th and 6th centuries AD.
Molded directly from an original

(3.75" by 2.75")  

  View a similar original 
Circa AD 400 to 500  <>Another of the Byzantine lamp styles, this model features a cross near the wick hole. This design was common in the Jerusalem area and the original used for this was acquired in Jerusalem. Circa 5th-6th Centuries AD. 
Molded directly from an original.
(about 4" by 2.75")
  View the original 
Circa AD 300 to 500 

Similar to the Bethany, the Golgotha includes not only the palm branch or Menorah symbol, but also two grape bunches on the shoulder. The design is somewhat dulled as this was molded directly from a lamp purported to be an original from the Holy Lands. I have since come to the conclusion the "original" lamp is a fake. 
(3.5" by 2")  

  View the (probably fake) original 

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