These terracotta oil lamps were used for centuries in the Greek and Roman world and were the primary means of lighting. Homes would have from just a few to hundreds. During the Hellenistic period, moulded oil lamps were produced and these eventually became the standard throughout the Roman period. The early moulded lamps were simple, but by the 2nd century BC, designs appeared on the shoulders. These lamps typically had a short flat nozzle with a hole in which the wick was placed and handles at the back. The early workshops all signed the lamps with stamped names or symbols at the base. Designed and ornamented shoulders were used in the Palestine area. The major use of these ancient oil lamps was for illumination of domestic, commercial or public buildings. This collection of ancient oil lamps covers the period from the 3rd century BC until the 8th century AD, and includes Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman, Byzantine and Late Roman examples. All these oil lamps were excavated in Israel. This collection of ancient oil lamps were given to Dr Hilgaard Muller by the Minster of Defence of Israel, Mr Shimon Peres on 12 April 1976.