ancient pottery oil lamp

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Ancient World

Pottery oil lamps in antiquity-
their development,
manufacture, art and uses


A comprehensive survey of lamps from prehistory to the dawn of the Middle Ages.  It follows the themes of development, manufacture, art and uses showing how primitive hand-made bowls grew to become the fuel efficient, artistic creations of the Roman Empire.

Follow the link to find out more

Available direct from the publisher

A5 format
152 pages including 11 colour plates

Price:  £14.99 plus p&p
Inland p&p - £2.00
USA p&p - £7.55


Various means of carrying a flame to sustain light were employed throughout the course of antiquity.  Yet, for many within the Mediterranean world the lamp, fuelled by oil, was the main source of illumination.

This site concerns ancient lighting appliances in general but pottery oil lamps in particular.
It is hoped it may provide a useful point of reference for those interested in lamps.

Lighting the Ancient World is recommended for any who wish to know more about the fascinating story of pottery lamps (see panel on left).

Features of This Site

  • the importance of lamps - outlining their value as evidence for various aspects of ancient life.
  • 10 significant lamps - a brief overview of the development of pottery lamps using ten lamps chosen from the collection.
  • the lamp collection - images and details of over 100 lamps for those who wish to study or identify lamps.  NB the box above right flags up latest additions.
  • the library - a list of books in the English language concerning pottery lamps.
  • antiquity dealers directory - a list of dealers who sell pottery lamps (early days - work in progress - see Partnership Advertising below)


Identification Service

Assistance in identifying your lamps.  A free service for anyone who has purchased a copy of Lighting the Ancient WorldFind out more...

Partnership Advertising

Promote your business on this site.  If you are an antiquities dealer, a museum or anyone with an interest in antiquities and would like to help by advertising the book Lighting the Ancient World on your website then please get in touch.  In return for your support you can advertise your business or organisation on this site.  Find out more...



Comments, suggestions, inspiration and even short articles are all welcome.


- lighting the Ancient World -