ISRAEL PHOTOS IV -- Pilgrimage

The Museum of the Basilica

The museum is on the grounds of the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation/Nazareth. The museum houses a collection of artifacts found on church property including a small collection of early Roman pottery with one lamp perhaps as early as Hellenistic times. Pottery analysis was used to prove Nazareth was occupied during Roman times.

There is a spout from a Herodian lamp found on the church property during one of the construction projects. This type of lamp was invented in the first century B.C.E. and became popular during the Herodian dynasty during the first century A.D. and was used until the Jewish war of 66-70 A.D. The body was flat and wheel turned with very fine grooves from the turning in the lamp body on a fast wheel, while the spout was flat to sloped downward and was scraped flat around the nozzle opening. There was a double ridge around the fill hole. Jewish lamps unique to the period after the 66-70 war are called Daroma lamps. These were decorated and made in molds; even though they were formed with the spatulate type nozzle. The widespread appearance of Jewish Daroma lamps after the revolt of 66-70 was indicative of the style of that era. There were mold shaped Jewish lamps similar in style to the wheel turned Herodian lamps found in the Bar Kochba caves of the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea. Many early Darom(a) lamps of Galilee were mold made imitations of the earlier wheel turned Herodian lamps seen before the revolt. Some were of the opinion that the Herodian lamp was from the period before the Jewish revolt and disappeared from usage shortly thereafter, others stated its use was out of style by the end of the first century, and others that some examples might have been found as late as the Bar Kochba revolt (c. 132-135). Students were not always able to distinguish the Herodian wheel-turned spatulate lamps from the mold-made Darom versions of similar characteristics that were introduced later.

Replica of a Herodian style oil lamp purchased at a shop in Jerusalem

The Roman era pottery in the museum is a small fraction of the Nazareth pottery that has been studied by Franciscan archaeologists of the Studium Biblicum Fraciscanum who defend the theory Nazareth was occupied during the times of Jesus. They have dug numerous sites including Herodian fortresses, Jerusalem first century tombs, Capernaum, Magdala, Cana, Nazareth etc. The fertile soil, Spring of the Virgin, cisterns, grain silos cut into the limestone, and at least one winepress were there during the habitation of Nazareth through the ages. The Franciscan scholars of the Studium Biblicanum Fraciscanum in Israel have a bookshop just inside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem to the left of the Petra Hotel. Some of their excavation reports and a recent book about pottery 'From the Time of Jesus' were on sale at their bookshop

Oil Lamps from Eretz Israel, The Louis and Carmen Warschaw Collection at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israeli Avida, 1988
Holy Land Pottery at the Time of Jesus, Early Roman Period, 63 B.C.-70 A.D., Stanislao Loffreda, 2002
Ornamented Jewish Oil Lamps, From the Destruction of the Second Temple Through the Bar-Kochba Revolt, Sussman, 1982
The Oil Lamps from the Hebrew University Excavations at Bet Shean, Shulamit Hadad, 2002, IES
Oil Lamps of the Holy Land, Adler, 2004

More Information about oil lamps from Israel:

There were also early inscriptions on display including an "Ave Maria" (Hail Mary) graffito estimated to be from before the year 400 scratched into a stone on display in the museum at the Church of the Basillica, Nazareth.


Nazareth Synagogue
Churches of the Annunciation
Latin Tradition -- Mount of Precipitation
Nazareth Aerial View
Museum of the Basilica
Hot Springs at Tiberias
Stone Water Jars at Capernaum
A 1909 Galilee Fishing Description
The Giant Mustard Plant
Kursi and the Gadarene Demoniac
Jar of Ointment
Wheat and Tares

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