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From Jarlshof, Shetland

Postcard of Lamp.
© National Museums Scotland


This steatite lamp was found at Jarlshof in Shetland. It was probably carved from locally available stone. The lamp was used between 1100 and 1300.

The lamp is perforated on both sides of the bowl, to allow it to be hung. The bowl is now cracked.

Steatite was an ideal stone for making lamps. It was easy to carve, and did not crack with heat. The bowl of the lamp would have been filled with oil on which a wick floated.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-595-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HSA 754
Date: 1100 - 1300 AD
Between 1100 and 1300
Material: Steatite; oval; central circular cup; transverse perforation through each end
Dimensions: 5.10" L x 2.80" W x 1.30" deep; cup 1.80" D x 0.70" deep
What: Lamp, hanging
Where: Scotland, Shetland, Sumburgh, Jarlshof
Description: Oval steatite hanging lamp, from Jarlshof, 1100 - 1300 AD
  • Graham-Campbell, J. Viking artefacts. A select catalogue. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1980, no. 26. 
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