Zev Radovan, courtesy of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums
Simple bowls served as the first pottery lamps in the Holy Land in the Chalcolithic period, fourth and third millennia B.C. The bowl in the back row, right, is an ordinary, round household bowl. Only its soot darkened rim tells us that it once held oil and a lighted wick. Later, in Middle Bronze II (2000–1500 B.C.), potters turned the rims of the bowls slightly inward, or pinched them slightly to form wick-rests, as the bowls back row, left, and front row, left, illustrate. During this period, broken bowls, like the example front, right, were also used as oil lamps.