JERUSALEM (VINnews) — A rare bronze oil lamp, the first of its kind to be found in Israel, has been discovered recently buried within the foundations of a building dating to the Roman period immediately after the destruction of the Second Temple (1st-2nd century CE). Archaeologists believe the lamp was buried there deliberately as a charm or ritual offering which would bring good luck to the inhabitants of the building. The lamp was found in the City of David excavations being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“Foundation deposits (offerings) were prevalent in the ancient world, and were intended for luck, and to ensure the continued existence of the building and its occupants, and they were usually buried under the floors of buildings or foundations,” explained Dr. Yuval Baruch and Ari Levy, archaeologists on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Levy added that “the building where the lamp was discovered was built directly on top of the Pilgrimage Road leading from the Shiloach pool to the Temple Mount at the end of the Second Temple period.” The construction of such a massive structure in the period after the destruction of Jewish Jerusalem demonstrates the importance of that area even after the destruction of the Second Temple. It is possible that the importance of the building, and the need to bless its activity with luck by burying a foundation deposit, was due to the fact that it guarded the Shiloach Pool, which was also used in the Roman period as the central and only source of water within the city.
The candle is made in a half-face shape. Archaeologists believe that there is another half-face-shaped candle elsewhere in the foundations of the house and that the two were amde on purpose in this way.