Ancient Roman oil lamp ‘factory town’ found

From Ancient Roman Oil Lamp ‘Factory Town’ Found.

Italian researchers have discovered the pottery center where the oil lamps that lighted the ancient Roman empire were made.

Evidence of the pottery workshops emerged in Modena, in central-northern Italy, during construction work to build a residential complex near the ancient walls of the city.

"We found a large ancient Roman dumping filled with pottery scraps. There were vases, bottles, bricks, but most of all, hundreds of oil lamps, each bearing their maker’s name," Donato Labate, the archaeologist in charge of the dig, told Discovery News.

Firmalampen, or “factory lamps,” were one of the first mass-produced goods in Roman times and they carried brand names clearly stamped on their clay bottoms. [continue, see photo].

3 thoughts on “Ancient Roman oil lamp ‘factory town’ found

  1. Oil lamps mass produced in Modena, and oil probably from Spain?
    I wonder where the traces of mass transit are? Big wagons? Lamps were both bulky and subject to damage unless packed properly. Had to get the lamps and the oil together and out to the consumers. Or maybe done separately. I’d like to know what the process was.

  2. I imagine most of the mass transit would have been by water: oil amphorae on barges down the Guadalquivir to wherever they could dock seaworthy ships (probably Cordoba), and thence to the four corners of the empire; the lamps could have been shipped out down the Panaro and the Po rivers to the Adriatic. Consumers would have bought them separately.

    Overland transport was desperately slow and costly in Roman times. Although some roads were pretty good, the technology of wagon suspension was not. Also, harnesses for horses and oxen were surprisingly underdeveloped, which slowed wagons down even further. It’s estimated that the cost of bulk goods moved overland actually doubled every hundred miles, so you’d avoid it wherever you could

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