Collection: Macquarie University History Museum


Accession # MU441
Period Unknown
Date 8th Century BCE
Provenance Israel
Material/s Ceramic
Dimensions 11.8cm (l) x 10.13cm (w) x 7.76cm (h)
Collection Macquarie University History Museum
Source Macquarie University, MAC
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MU441 is a pottery lamp with a pinched spout. The lamp is made from a reddish pottery fabric, although the fabric appears to be coarse with natural inclusions evident in the vessel. The object shows signs of ware such as deteriorated edges along the top edge of the lamp, suggesting that it was used often. Although the lamp was too small for the storage of oil, it would have held a practical purpose, as the lamp could have had a wick placed inside with the oil that was lit up, illuminating dark places. The spout on the end of the lamp was there to pour any liquid out of the vessel in a concentrated flow, as to not spill the liquid when transferring it to a storage vessel such as a pithos. The fact that the oil lamp is a ubiquitous object which is found at many sites across Israel attests to its significance in the everyday life of people in ancient Israel. Some oil lamps like MU441 have been reliably provenanced to tomb contexts, implying that they had a role either to provide funerary offerings for the deceased, or to light up the tomb so that visitors could view the tomb upon entry.
  • Syllabus Links
    • Stage 6 Preliminary
      • Investigating Ancient History, The investigation of Ancient sites and sources
    • Stage 6 HSC Ancient Societies. Option C Society in Israel from Solomon to the fall of Samaria
      • Social structure and political organisation, including; roles of the bureaucracy, merchant class, workers, artisans (ACHAH106).
      • The economy, including; occupations, crafts and industry. Wood, stone, metal, mining (ACHAH112); economic exchange (ACHAH114).
      • Religion, death and burial, including; nature of conflicting religious beliefs and practices (ACHAH114).
      • Cultural and everyday life.
    • Stage 6 HSC Historical Period. Option C The Ancient Levant - First Temple Period c.970-586 BC
      • Israel and Judah in the Ancient Levant, including; Expansion of the population, trade and settlement in the region.
    • Historical Concepts and Skills; Analysis and use of sources
      • Explain the meaning and value of sources for an historical inquiry (ACHAH007, ACHAH009)
      • Analyse sources to identify and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHAH010)
      • Analyse and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop reasoned claims (ACHAH008)
      • Identify and analyse problems relating to sources in the investigation of the past (ACHAH011)
    • Historical Concepts and Skills; Historical interpretation
      • Form judgements about historical significance
    • Historical Concepts and Skills; Historical investigation and research.
      • Use evidence from a range of sources to inform investigation and research (ACHAH005)
  • Online Resources
  • Bibliography/References
    • Amnon, R., et. al. (2010) “A stone oil lamp from seven nozzles from the Late Second Temple period - first century CE”, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum; Liber Annuus 60, pp. 377-391.
    • Hadad, S., (2002) The oil lamps from the Hebrew University excavations at Bet Shean (Jerusalem; The Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in cooperation with the Israel Exploration Society).
    • Lapp, E.C. (2016) “A Jewish oil lamp unearthed at the Red Sea port of Roman “Aila” ” in Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Fassbeck (eds.) Viewing Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology, pp. 291-307.
    • Sussman, V. (1995) “A Giant Cretan Oil-Lamp from Herod’s Seaside Palace at Caesarea”, Israel Exploration Journal 45, pp. 278-282.

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Macquarie University History Museum (2020). Lamp, MU441. // (accessed on: 14 June 2020).

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