Friday, April 22, 2016

Ancient Oil Lamp From the Near East Dating to 400 A.D. Discovered in Ohio

Ancient Oil Lamp From the Near East Dating to 400 A.D. Discovered in Ohio

Inscribed on the lamp was, "The light of Christ shines for all"

Bryan, Ohio Times April 19, 1997
Oil Lamp More Than 1,000 Years Old is Unearthed in Southern Ohio Village

   South Point, Ohio [AP]  A Near Eastern oil lamp estimated to be more than 1,000 years old has been unearthed in this village located in an area of southern Ohio better known for its arrowheads and other American Indian relics.

   John Hudnall was digging in his front yard last fall in preperation for replacing a sewer line when, about six feet down, he found the lamp. 
   "I thought it was an Indian artifact," Hudnall said. But when he showed the lamp to Charles West, owner of the Indian Relic Museum in New Richmond, West said it was not an Indian relic.  
   "Its beautiful, the only problem is its not an Indian," West said.   West turned to Bob Price of the Lawrence County Historical Society, who helped him find similar lamps in an illustrated encyclopedia of the Bible.
   That lead west to the Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University at Berrien Springs, Michigan. David Merling, the insititute's assistant director, said the lamp was probably crafted between A. D. 400 and 800 in the Near East, an area that includes southwestern Asia, northeastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
   "Its a common form of ancient lamp ...but I have no idea where it came from," Merling said. 
More Mysterious is how the lamp, on which the words, "The light of Christ shines for all" are inscribed in an ancient language, ended up in Lawrence County.
  Hudnall said he believes settlers who considered it an ancestral relic could have brought it to the area, which is about 110 miles south of Columbus, near the Ohio River. 
   "I think someone, probably a group of Indians, got together an buried it, thinking it was evil," he said.  "You can't burn it - its an oil lamp, and they were probably afraid that if they broke it, it would release evil."
  Hudnall said he will probably lend the lamp to the Huntington W.V. Museum of Art for exhibittion and then donate to the institute for study and preservation. 
   The lamp is probably only worth a couple of hundred dollars, but it's discovery would be well worth documenting, Merling said.
" Its a curious find to find in Ohio," he said.