RomQ Reference Collection of Ancient Lamps

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The catalogue of the RomQ Reference Collection of Ancient Lamps has been untouched and frozen in time for almost eight years. Over that time its faults became progressively more glaring to me and could no longer be ignored. Fortunately, an online catalogue affords a luxury that a published book cannot; it can be corrected on the fly. Corrections are not entirely easy since it is an old website and the main interface is based on archaic HTML but it can be done.

I have finally spent the last few weeks updating the catalogue portion of the website. Taking the nature and small size of the collection into consideration, I have reorganised the layout in a more rational way, partly avoiding an artificial typology in favour of a chronological and regional approach where possible. Regional sections are arranged in a broad clockwise sweep from west to east, and the Introduction has been edited to reflect that.

The information given in some of the individual lamp entries was erroneous or inaccurate. I have revised those and added information to others in line with fresh research, discoveries and comparanda that have come to my notice. I am deeply grateful to various people who have personally helped my study and of course to the authors of the many sources which have been consulted.

It is still very much a work in progress. Most of the actual lamps themselves are currently inaccessible but I intend to add full descriptions (including fabric, size, etc.) when I have them in hand. Apart from the catalogue itself, the pages on bibliography and links are also in line for revision.

In the meantime, although I am of course aware of the drawbacks (and controversy) in presenting a collection formed from market sources rather than archaeological excavation, I hope the catalogue will still prove to be of use to anyone interested in this type of artefact from the ancient world.


David Knell
July 2018

Frans Francken the Younger, Curiosities, c.1636 (detail)


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