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Fiat Lux: Functional Analysis of Three Saxo-Norman Pottery Lamps from Berkeley, Gloucestershire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalMedieval Archaeology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jun 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Jun 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2017
DatePublished (current) - 2017


THIS PAPER COMPRISES analysis of three Saxo-Norman pottery lamps recovered during archaeological excavations in 2012 in the Edward Jenner Museum garden, Berkeley, Gloucestershire. While such vessels have been known to archaeologists since the earliest days of Saxon and medieval pottery studies, their specific function, other than general ‘lighting’, has never been considered. Similarly, the composition of the fuel in such lamps has not been scientifically verified. In the following paper, both of these areas are addressed through experimental archaeology and organic residue analysis. The conclusion reached is that the lamps were chosen for use in a late-Saxon industrial workshop as they were ideal for the setting, providing a consistent, stable and bright light source in comparison with other available lighting methods of the period.

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