Terracotta Vogelkopflampe

Object: 2
JIAAW, Old Department Collection

This Roman lamp is a terracotta Vogelkopflampe type lamp (or Dressel type 4) made between 90 and 140 CE. The lamp has a typically shallow, rounded body with a triangular spout which allowed for lamps to be efficiently packed into boxes for transportation. The decoration we see on this lamp is also typical – an incised ‘v’ around the center hole and five notches at the base of the nozzle. These five notches are a simplified version of a bird motif that was found on earlier forms of this type of lamp and is where the name Vogelkopflampe, or “bird head lamp”, comes from. On the bottom of the lamp, we find the maker’s mark “C. ATILI. VEST”.

-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

See other examples of Vogelkopflampe:

Ancient World Gallery

Roman ‘Vogelkopf’-style lamp 1st Century B.C.E. – 2nd Century A.D. Clay Maximum length: 7.5 cm Maximum height: 2 cm Maximum width: 5 cm Description: This Roman lamp belongs to a type commonly known as a Vogelkopflampe. Made of a buff-colored clay, it has a paraboloid shape with a flat base, a slightly curved nozzle and a transverse, pierced handle.

Ancient Lamps – Lamp Details for RIW1

Reference: RIW1 / Cat. No. Period: Roman Origin: Central Italy, probably Rome area 90 – 140 AD Date: Description: ‘Bird head’ lamp ( Vogelkopflampe). Transverse handle. Base marked BASSA Bassus, a recorded maker in central Italy. Manufacture: Mould made. Condition: Hole in base, mould join cracked at nozzle. Cf.