III. Roman-Period Clay Lamps / Types from North African Provinces only / Augustan and Imperial Lamps

Atlante type VI (near)


The five following lamps—cats. 487–89 and 490–91—are molded in Terra Sigillata Africana (TSA) = African Red Slip (ARS) and can be related to Atlante types VI and VIII B. The passage from lamps of Loeschcke type VIII in TSA with a heart-shaped nozzle ( = Atlante form I) to the channeled so-called Christian lamps ( = Atlante forms VIII and X, or Hayes types I and II) is progressively achieved by three factors: the transformation of the initially circular discus into an oval shape, the elongation of the nozzle, and the increased width and length of the channel. Lamps of Ennabli types 1–7 from Raqqada show interesting stages of these evolutions, although achieved mostly on ordinary clay lamps rather than on the orange-red clay (TSA) of the so-called Christian lamps. Cat. 487 has no channel, and its shape is similar to an example without channel that Bonifay relates to type Atlante VI (Bonifay 2004a, no. 1, fig. 200, his type 41). The motif incised on the nozzle top of cat. 487 is reminiscent of heart-shaped nozzles. The shoulder has the same beveled form that Bonifay points out as characteristic of the type.

Cat. 488 has two parallels in Bonifay type 41, which he links to Atlante type VI: his lamp no. 2 (supposedly from El Djem) with the same discus decor, and his lamp no. 3 from El Djem with the same shoulder decor. Cats. 487 and 488 have exactly the same base as Bonifay’s two examples. Bonifay suggests a date for lamp no. 1 of his type 41 not later than the third century A.D. He is silent about the dates of his lamps nos. 2 and 3, but we suggest the fourth century, following Bailey’s dating of Q 1733 (Bailey BM III, pl. 17), a date accepted by Bonifay (Bonifay 2004a, p. 357).

Banner image: Detail of cat. 489