Israeli researchers uncover rare 1,500-year-old oil lamp wick

A rare 1,500-year-old flax wick was found during an examination of artifacts unearthed in the 1930s in the Israeli town of Shivta. the Times of Israel reports.

The wick, which was preserved in dry conditions inside a bronze copper tube used for lighting a glass Byzantine-period lamp, is one of only a few discovered in the world, according to Dr. Naama Sukenik.

Analysis by Sukenik showed that the wick was made of linen, a cloth derived from flax. Sukenik said that only two other examples of flax wicks were discovered inside similar tubes in Israel and they are very rare finds around the world.

"They are very small and deteriorate quickly underground. Furthermore, it could be that most were burnt — that was their purpose, after all," said Sukenik.

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