Sarcophagus Fragment, Roman, ca. 240-250 CE, The Art Institute of Chicago

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Discovery of Roman Lamps

Pottery is a blessing for archaeologists.  Short of grinding pottery into dust, it is practically indestructible.  Also, pottery can be a wonderful dating tool, as styles tended to change often and relatively uniformly.  This latest find in Italy is another example of how pottery shapes our perception of the ancient world.  Lamps in the Roman Empire were as common as they are today (albeit of a different kind), and made in equally diverse shapes and sizes.  Lamps, being a necessity, were made to suit all budgets (see below) and some very plain as well as outrageously ostentatious examples have been found.  Its interesting to think of the different name brands and trendiness in pottery manufacture in the ancient world.  It just goes to show that no matter how much people have changed over the past 2,000 years, there are parts of us that are still the same.