MUSEUM OF OLIVE OIL CULTURE  -1      Italiano.gif (234 byte)

ARCHAELOGICAL FINDS – OIL LAMPS

Jean-Pierre and Fiorella Cottier collection

 

LIGHTING

 

The use of oil for lighting is strictly linked to a particular tool: the oil lamp, which was the most common mean of lighting in ancient times. In such a container people burnt the oil through a wick. The invention of oil lamps dates back to very ancient times. Its use, besides the lighting of houses, temples, public and private buildings, acquired particular importance in burial rites, as a present that accompanied the dead, an exorcism and symbol of rebirth. The most common material was clay but there were also several bronze, precious metal, glass or stone lamps.

The shape underwent great changes overt time. From a morphological point of view we can identify three parts: the body, the beak and the handle. The most ancient shapes were open, whereas in Greek and Roman times they were closed. In the closed shapes, in the centre of the disc that constitutes the upper part of the tank, there is a hole for pouring in the oil from neck pots, like the “buttus”, and another smaller hole in order to make the draught better.

The collection is made up of 58 oil lamps. 

(translated by David Sebastiani).

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Aggiornamento: 27 aprile 2017.