Ancient clay oil lamps from the Holy land.  Bronze Age, Iron Age, Hellenistic, Herodian, Samaritan, Roman, Byzantine, Jewish Decorated and Bait Nattif lamps.

Ancient terra cotta oil lamps from the time of Abraham, exported from Israel.

Ancient Oil Lamps
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Starting in about the 3rd century BC, mold-made lamps were introduced into the holyland.  Developed by the Greeks, the process resulted in rapid production of many lamps from one prototype.  The molds were most often made of gypsum, and relatively small number of them still exist.  The following simulation illustrates the process.

molding1.JPG (62883 bytes) A mold was made from a lamp or lamp prototype.  Most lamp molds were made from plaster, though some were also carved from soft stone, and less commonly  made from clay.  The molds were made in two pieces, a top mold and a bottom mold.  Pictured is an actual plaster bottom mold of a late Roman style lamp from Tunisia.  
molding2.JPG (58980 bytes) Clay was pressed into each half of the mold.
The edges were roughened and moistened.
molding3.JPG (63274 bytes) The two halves of the mold were pressed together,
and the lamp allowed to partially dry in the molds. 
lampmaking1.JPG (62669 bytes) The mold halves were separated,
and the lamp was removed
lampmaking2.JPG (57709 bytes) The edges were trimmed


The filling hole and 
wick hole were cut.

lampmaking3.JPG (65920 bytes)

Sometimes decoration was added 
to the surface after the lamp was molded.

lampmaking4.JPG (57009 bytes)

The lamp was allowed to dry, then fired in a kiln.
Sometimes slip (dilute clay) was applied to the surface before firing.
Pictured here is the authentic lamp that this simulation was modeled from.

lampmaking5.JPG (58813 bytes)

Ancient Clay Oil Lamps from the Holy Land.
Exported with permission of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Click any link or image below to see the lamps
Early Lamps Hellenistic Lamps Herodian Lamps Islamic Lamps Samaritan Lamps 1
Middle and Late Bronze Age Oil Lamps - Iron Age Oil Lamps - from Israel Authentic ancient Hellenistic lamps from Israel.  Mold-made,  332  63 BC Wheel-made Herodian oil lamps from the Holy Land, second temple period , 37 BC-70 AD Islamic Late Arab oil lamps from Israel. Jewish Samaritan Oil Lamps
Samaritan Lamps 2 Samaritan Lamps 3 Byzantine Lamps Roman Lamps Jewish Decorated Lamps
Jewish Samaritan Oil Lamps Jewish Samaritan Oil Lamps Byzantine terra-cotta oil lamps from Jerusalem Roman oil lamps, classical and Jerusalem types Jewish decorated and Bait Nattif lamps

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalms 119:105)


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