According to the archaeologists, “This lamp is a very unique find, and as far as we know, the first of its kind discovered in Israel. The uniqueness of the current object is that it is only half a face.”
Researchers are debating what this means. They believe it may have been attached to a flat object or wall, serving as a wall lamp, but have not ruled out the possibility that it was used in a ceremonial ritual.
“The building where the lamp was discovered was built directly on top of the Pilgrimage Road at the end of the Second Temple period,” said Levy. “The construction of such a massive structure in the period demonstrates the importance of the area even after the destruction of the Second Temple.”
After the bronze lamp was found, it was handed for treatment and preservation to the metal laboratory of the Israel Antiquities Authority. There, archeologists discovered a rare and unusually preserved flax wick inside the lamp.
“Decorated bronze oil lamps were discovered throughout the Roman Empire. For the most part, such oil lamps stood on stylish candelabras or were hung on a chain,” said Baruch.“This half of a lamp, and in fact half a face, is a very rare object, with only a few discovered in the whole world.”
The excavation took place in the Jerusalem Walls-City of David National Park and was funded by the City of David Foundation, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Development Authority.
About the Author:
Editor and Israel Director, Nicky Blackburn has worked extensively as a journalist and editor both in Britain and Israel for a range of national and international publications.