Oil Lamps on Kemos Vessels from Maresha

Einat Ambar-Armon, Amos Kloner, Ian Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on the oil lamps on kemos vessels from Maresha from the Persian and Hellenistic periods discovered at the Maresha excavations, located in the Judaean lowlands in Israel. The uniqueness of these kemos finds is that they have oil lamps attached to them, rather than animals and plants, as in the Iron Age. The discovery of hundreds of pinched oil lamps attached to stands in this site is unique to Maresha. This article concentrates on the distribution of these distinctive items, the origin of their inspiration, and their function. Various factors lead to the possible conclusion that the kemos vessels may have been used for cultic mystery rites. In addition, the characteristics of these vessels and other artifacts found in close proximity to them indicate a connection to local rituals. These archaeological finds, connecting mystery rites and local traditions, may be considered proof of the existence of a syncretist Hellenistic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-140
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009, Strata. All Rights Reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • History


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