Noam Adler


            The oil lamp collection presented in this catalog includes most of the main types produced in the Holy Land, from the Bronze Age through the late Islamic period. The collection is especially rich in lamps from the Roman and Byzantine periods, and includes a particularly large selection of Daroma and Samaritan lamps.

            In the past decade several catalogs of lamps found in specific sites in Israel have been published. The last publications of lamps from of a specific site (such as Bet Shean & Sepphoris) therefore represent mainly the repertoire of that site and its area. In addition, several catalogs of private antiquity collections have also been published. This publication combines both models; the Adler collection includes most types of lamps found throughout Israel during the different periods and includes a significant number of intact lamps with a variety of decorations and new variants.


            The work on this catalog started fifteen years ago, when I started to learn about computer databases. Each lamp was assigned a card containing basic information about it, which was transferred to a computer database. Ten years latter I returned to work on the catalog, with a focus on the archaeological aspects. The work began by organizing, sorting and cataloging the lamps and then constructing a computer-based database of all the lamps in the collection. After the database was complete, I prepared the catalog for publication, by adding descriptions for each type.


            The catalog is divided into chronological sections. Each section is divided into chapters that include several types that have common features. Each chapter begins with a general description of these common features. After that, each type is described separately. The description includes the main characteristics, the distribution, and the date of the specific type. At the end of the description there is a short list of the most relevant and recent publications regarding the types described in the chapter. The bibliography is divided into general publications and sites publications.

            Following the descriptions of the type, the individual lamps are presented according to the order of the general description. Each lamp has a picture and adjacent to it a brief description, which includes the decorations on the top and bottom of the lamp and its dimensions. If the lamp has special features, such as a special color of clay or a slip, it will be mentioned in the beginning of the description. At the end of the description there is a reference if the specific lamp was published or if a very similar lamp has been published.

            The description of the top part of the lamp begins from the nozzle, continues to the shoulders and concludes around the knob and the discus, if extant. The description of the bottom part includes the shape of the base and then the decorations. The dimensions of the lamp are measured, in accordance with the accepted archaeological methods, according to the maximum sizes of the lamp.


I would like to thank the many people that helped me publish this catalog. First and most important I would like to thank my father, Steve Adler, without whom the collection and this catalog would not exist. This publication is the fruit of his vision and efforts. Thanks to his constant encouragement this catalog has reached publication. I want to thank all those who read the manuscript and gave me useful advice and comments, especially Ms. Varda Sussman, Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Prof. Daniel Sperber. In addition I would like to express special appreciation to Dr. Eilat Mazar. Special thanks also to Allon Zaslansky, who patiently and with dedication photographed many of the lamps. I would like to conclude and thank all those who assisted, helped, supported and advised me in preparing this catalogue, without them this catalog would have not been published.


I hope that this publication will assist researchers and archaeologists and will be an important tool in studying and understanding the vast repertoire of clay oil lamps from the Holy Land