It’s two thousand years old. It’s strange, and so is where it was found. The millennial lamp in Jerusalem caused great excitement. It was at the foot of a Roman building in Jerusalem. It was announced by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (AAI). It is made of bronze.
The archaeologists called it “grotesque”. It shows half the face of a male ram with a beard and a horn on his forehead. The tip of the lamp is shaped like a crescent moon. The mango is an acanthus plant. This curiosity was found in one of the walls of the building.
AAI archaeologists Ari Levy and Yuval Baruch reported on the event. The Roman building dates from the transition period between the two great Jewish uprisings against the Roman Empire. About 1,900 years ago. The construction site is known as the pilgrimage route.
“The uniqueness of the object is that it is only half a face,” explained the archaeologists. The lamp has the shape of a half face with big eyes and a menacing smile. Why? It remains a mystery. The decoration that appears on the lamp is a common Roman art motif, similar to a theatrical mask.
“This object is very symbolic,” declared the archaeologists. “It’s a lamp that may have been used to make light, but it’s much more than that. It was buried in the foundation of the building. The aim was to bring luck to the structure and the people who used it in order to protect it, ”they concluded.
“The road was built during the time of Governor Pontius Pilate,” said Levy. The researchers believe that the offer of this lamp can confirm the importance of the building. It may have been linked to the protection of the pool at Siloam, the city’s main source.
Coins, ceramics and organic material were found along with the lamp. Radiocarbon tests were conducted, all of which confirmed that the building was from between the late 1st and early 2nd centuries. It was when Jerusalem became the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina in AD 136.
The millennial lamp in Jerusalem was forgotten there. But only to see the light two millennia later. Still with a linen wick, ready to light.