Reservists Find Perfectly Preserved, 1,500-year-old Oil Lamp
Two IDF reservists recently discovered a 1,500-year-old, well-preserved pottery oil lamp from the Byzantine period in the mud of a Gaza staging area. They handed it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which awarded them with a certificate for good citizenship.
Reservists Natanel Melchior and Alon Segev from the 404th battalion of the 282nd Artillery Brigade were wandering in the field when they came upon a piece of pottery stuck upside down whose round shape attracted them. “It was covered in mud,” Melchior recalled. “I cleaned it, and after I realized that it might be something special, I called the Antiquities Authority.”
According to Sara Tal, the IAA’s archaeologist in the Western Negev region, it is a pottery lamp from the Byzantine period known as a ‘sandal lamp.’ It was commonly used for light and made in a pattern typical of the lowland region and southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.
“The war has led to extraordinary situations – also on the archaeological front,” commented IAA director Eli Escuzido. “The Land of Israel, and in particular the surrounding area, is full of history and ancient findings, and we cooperate with the IDF to preserve them even in a war situation. I am happy that the ancient lamp also brought enlightenment to the soldiers, and I congratulate them for their vigilance and their show of good citizenship.”
“I remind everyone that, in the event of finding an ancient artifact, it is important to leave it in place and call the IAA staffers to come and examine it so that our researchers will be able to extract as much information as possible from the find about the site where it was discovered.” (JPost / VFI News)
“Lord, we thank you for this extraordinary archeological finding, especially at this significant time. Thank you for reminding us and the world about the presence of Your Light in the darkest places. We pray that You bring a swift end to this war and that You would continue to shine Your light in the dark places and bring our hostages home.”
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