Technical and Cultic Usage

Technological and cultic usage of oils and fats is well known, but it was not exhaustively collected for this Digital Data Collection.

Oil was regularly applied to leather objects, including drums and other musical instruments. One used lard together with potash to clean textiles and to make them more robust. Fish oil was a lubricant and sealant for objects that were in contact with water like ships or ropes employed in their handling.

Oil was sometimes dedicated to deities in precious vessels, and the smell of scented oils and fats may have contributed to the atmosphere in chapels and shrines. Furthermore, anointing parts of the doors constituted a sacred practice. Butter as a foodstuff could be added to the sacrificial meal.

Lamps apparently only turn up in the Middle Bronze Age, and the first references to oil used for lamps we are aware of stem from the palace of Mari.