Publishers of Academic ArchaeologyNEW:Late Roman to Late Byzantine/Early Islamic Period Lamps in the Holy Land The Collection of the Israel Antiquities Authority by Varda Sussman. iv+635 pages; highly illustrated throughout in black and white with 10 colour plates. 321 2017.Available both in printed and e-versions.Printed ISBN 9781784915704. £65.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784915711. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT)
This volume illustrates lamps from the Byzantine period excavated in the Holy Land and demonstrates the extent of their development since the first enclosing/capturing of light (fire) within a portable man-made vessel. Lamps, which held important material and religious functions during daily life and the afterlife, played a large role in conveying art and cultural and political messages through the patterns chosen to decorate them. These cultural, or even more their religious affinities, were chosen to be delivered on lamps (not on other vessels) more than ever during the Byzantine period; these small portable objects were used to promote beliefs like the press of today. Each cultural group marked the artifacts / lamps with its symbols, proverbs from the Old and New Testaments, and this process throws light on the deep rivalry between them in this corner of the ancient world. The great variety of lamps dealt with in this volume, arranged according to their various regions of origin, emphasizes their diversity, and probably local workshop manufacture, and stands in contrast to such a small country without any physical geographic barriers to cross, only mental ones (and where one basket of lamps could satisfy the full needs of the local population). The lamps of the Byzantine period reflect the era and the struggle in the cradle of the formation of the four leading faiths and cultures: Judaism (the oldest), Samaritanism (derived from the Jewish faith), newly-born Christianity all three successors to the existing former pagan culture and the last, Islam, standing on a new threshold. Unlike during the former Greek and Roman periods of rule, the land of Israel during the Byzantine period did not really have a central government or authority. The variety of the oil lamps, their
order and place of appearance during the Byzantine period can be described as a symphony played by a self-conducted orchestra, where new soloists rise and add a different motet, creating stormy music that expresses the rhythm of the era. This volume, like the authors earlier books on this subject, is intended to create a basis for further study and evaluation of the endless aspects that lamps bring to light and which are beyond the capacity of any single scholar.
About the Author:
Varda Sussman was born in Palestine (now Israel) and graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (BA and MA) in the faculties of Prehistory and Archaeology. She majored in prehistory with Professor M. Stekelis, in Classical archaeology with Professor M. Avi Yonah, and in ancient history with Professor B. Mazar. She studied for one year in the Oriental Institute in Chicago (USA). From 1950, while studying and working at the Department of Antiquity (now the Israel Antiquities Authority), she participated in various archaeological excavations. In 1964 she became curator / keeper of all treasures (finds) discovered since 1948 and developed the system of storage which enabled students and scholars to obtain, examine and study the material which she had catalogued. Among the catalogued finds were many oil lamps which were objects of artistic and historical significance. Two exhibitions were held of the material: the first on Decorated Jewish Oil Lamps (with catalogue) in 1972 in The Israel Museum, the second illustrating the regional lamps of the northern part of the country in the University of Haifa Museum. These established the recognition of typical workshops which had fashioned special lamps for the use of the Jewish and Samaritan populations. The authors Ornamented Jewish Oil Lamps from the Fall of the Second Temple through the Revolt of Bar Kochba was published in Hebrew by Mosad Bialik and the Israel Exploration Society in 1972; it was translated into English and published by Aris & Phillips Ltd in 1982. She has also published other articles concerning various aspect of art derived from oil lamps, and a num