A Roman lamp from Lion’s Holt

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A Roman lamp from Lion’s Holt

This lamp was recovered when the cutting was made for the South-Western railway at Lion’s Holt in 1857-8, near the modern St James Park halt. It is datable by its style to the late first or second century AD. Such lamps were filled with olive oil, which fed a burning taper in the projecting spout; they provided the common means of household lighting in the Roman world. Lamps were also placed in burials (sometimes alight).

Since domestic lamps were normally discarded after breakage, whilst lamps found in burials are often intact, the Lion’s Holt find is most likely to come from a Roman burial, indicating the presence of a Roman cemetery in this area.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum

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