This page contains ancient Canaanite oil lamps and pottery.

Our Canaanite collection includes bronze digging tools and terra cotta oil lamps from excavations in the Levant, a geographical region that includes modern day Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza, and some adjacent areas in Syria.

While Canaan was probably never politically or ethnically unified, throughout the history of the region its inhabitants shared linguistic and cultural similarities that are evidenced in the material, archaeological remains. Our current knowledge of the history and culture of Canaan is derived from literary sources, such as the Old and New Testament, as well as archaeological excavations. As a crossroads for diverse cultures throughout its history, Canaanite literature, art, and artifacts display elements from Cretan, Mycenaean, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cultures.

The peoples of the Old and New Testament periods remained essentially rural, and many of those who inhabited towns would often own nearby farms, or cultivate their own gardens. From the earliest period of agriculture, the most basic tool was a form of hoe, a pointed instrument made from wood, bronze, or iron that was employed in breaking up soil in preparation for sowing, as well as for thinning and weeding crops. The Canaanite digging tools available in this collection are primarily from the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age, likely dating to about 1200 BC. The wooden shafts of these tools have long since decayed, with only the bronze, duck-bill shaped points surviving.

Oil lamps were one of the most widely produced forms of ancient pottery in the world. Every ancient household would have required lamps as the primary source of light in enclosed places, or when the sun had set. These terracotta oil lamps each feature primitive standing figures, and still retain traces of carbon residue around the wick hole from their original use.

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