Beautiful and Useful: My Own Little Byzantine Oil Lamp

I now have an object in my house that’s about 1,400 years old. In my house. How crazy is that?  It’s a beautiful little Byzantine oil lamp made out of clay.

Byzantine Oil Lamp, 600-700 CE, from Palestine or Syria

I love so many things about this little lamp: It’s humble, made from a common material; it’s relatively simple, not overly decorated; I even like the current shape, with the handle broken off.  But the best thing about it is that it was used. People living over 1,000 years ago used this lamp that’s now sitting in my house.  (How did it last so long, almost intact? )

My absolute favorite part is the black soot that’s left from oil actually burning inside this lamp.

Byzantine Oil Lamp, 600-700 CE, from Palestine or Syria

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