Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Roman Lamps

A couple of ceramic lamps in Malton Museum. Lamps were often moulded in two parts - the base, and the decorated circular 'lid' or discus. The lamp on the left has lost its discus. They were normally tamped down, but were always the weak part.

In Britain, lamps are very often associated with cemeteries, and are generally not a common find on Roman sites. Lamp stands are known in Britannia. However, lamps required oil for fuel. Olives were not grown in this country, so the oil would need to be imported. Lamp use would probably be restricted to those with enough wealth to use olive oil in this manner, or for religious needs. Other methods of illumination could be: tallow or beeswax candles (candlesticks are known in Roman Britain), or depending on the area, possibly rush/pitch torches. Little pine sticks, so sodden in pine resin that they would burn slowly, may also have been used. There may be other methods, but it's not my specialist subject!


At 9:47 am BST, Blogger Diane said...

Have you tried the history magazines, Alex? And the family history magazines? Your pictures are very good.


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