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Guest Blog: From Qumran to New York: Documenting Provenance of a Dead Sea Scroll Jar

The network is delighted to host this guest blog, from Anne Dunn-Vaturi, researcher at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From Qumran to New York: Documenting Provenance of a Dead Sea Scroll Jar.

In 1963 a Dead Sea Scroll jar from Qumran was entrusted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Richard J. Ward’s care, on his return from Jordan where he served as Economic Advisor to the U.S. aid mission. Dr. Ward, who was also Associate Professor of Economics at the C.W. Post College (today’s Long Island University Post), organized a lecture series by Dead Sea Scroll scholars while the jar was on display at the C.W. Post College Library in December 1963.

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Article from The Post Pioneer. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, LIU Post Library. Long Island University.

Shortly after, the jar was transported to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a gift of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was restored and installed in the Ancient Near Eastern gallery on 5 June, 1964. Although the information about Cave 1Q was known from the time of the acquisition of the jar, the provenance and published references of the object were not fully documented in our database.

As part of my mandate to document the ownership history of the collection of the Department of Ancient Near Eastern art, I was recently able to update the jar records thanks to the article “Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and its archaeological assemblage” published in 2017 by Joan E. Taylor, Dennis Mizzi and Marcello Fidanzio in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. The jar, listed as Q40 in table 1 and the lid accompanying it later identified by Joan Taylor as Q22, were discovered in Cave 1Q in 1949.

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Some of the jars from the same cave, including ours, were originally published in the first volume of Discoveries in the Judean Desert. In fact, the Met has one of three jars that are not the ‘classic’ cylindrical shape so we invite member(s) of the Project for the Study Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Source to have a close look at it. It is currently on view in the case “Ancient Near East and the Bible” in Gallery 406 and it is part of the online Met collection .

ANE and Bible case

References

Barthélemy, Dominique. and Józef Tadeusz Milik. 1955. Qumran Cave 1: Discoveries in the Judean Desert I. Oxford: OUP, p. 8, fig. 2:10.
Fidanzio, Marcello and Jean-Baptiste Humbert. 2016. “Finds from the Qumran Caves: Roland de Vaux’s Inventory of the Excavations (1949-1956),” in Marcello Fidanzio (ed.), The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014 (STDJ XX), Leiden: Brill, p. 265, n. 11, p. 267, table 18.1.
Taylor, Joan E.,  Dennis Mizzi, and Marcello Fidanzio. 2017. “Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and its Archaeological Assemblage.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 149, 4, table 1, p. 321.

 

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