Caroline E. G. Peale, wife of Franklin Peale of the U.S. Mint, collected this lamp in Italy in 1830. The paper label states that she obtained the lamp at Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed along with Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E. In both towns, volcanic flows preserved structures and objects, covering them completely. Herculaneum was rediscovered in 1709 when workers digging a well accidentally revealed the site. After regular excavations began in 1738, the site became popular with American and European tourists. Though this oil lamp dates to a time long after the destruction of Herculaneum, it represents American interest in collecting objects from ancient Greece and Rome. Oil lamps, used for light, were among the most common household items in ancient Rome, and were also buried in tombs and graves. The palmette-in-lozenge motif on this lamp is the mark of the workshop where it was manufactured. The cross on the top shows that the lamp was made in the late Roman period after the development of Christianity, possibly in the 4th century C.E.