lamp lamp There was still some soot left in the lamp. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

900-year-old Aladdin-like lamp discovered on a Mediterranean beach

An Israeli lifeguard found it during a morning run. No word yet if he was granted 3 wishes.

A lifeguard had a pretty eventful morning run in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Meir Amsik, who works at the Nature and Parks Authority, happened to run across an ancient oil lamp from the 12th century. He didn't say if he rubbed it to see if a genie would pop out and grant him three wishes.

Ashkelon, Israel used to be a major Philistine city.Ashkelon, Israel, used to be a major Philistine city. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

Amsik saw something unusual in a disintegrated cliff that morning.

"I went over there, and saw that intriguing candle lying there in its entirety," Amsik remembered. "I thought it might be an ancient artifact, so I picked it up."

He was right.

"The candle represents part of the cultural richness of ancient Ashkelon, which was a city of commerce," explained Israeli archaeologist Sa'ar Ganor. "There was a port in Ashkelon that imported goods from the sea, and goods that were manufactured all across the southern part of the land of Israel were also exported from there."

As you may have noticed, the lamp looks like a fantastic home for a genie. These mythological creatures originated with "jinn," spirits made of fire and air that could be helpful or mischievous. People have been telling tales of jinn for 4,500 years.

Even if the lifeguard didn't get to chat with a giant blue genie who sounded like Robin Williams, he's happy to have found the lamp.

"It's very exciting to discover such a finding," Amsik said. "You just feel part of history. It fills you up with a sense of appreciation to what was here before. It feels like being a link in a chain."


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Related Topics: Archaeology