The network team are delighted to report that following on from enquiries made by Joan Taylor, of the Museums of Liverpool, the curator Ashley Cooke found in their collections a Dead Sea Scroll jar and lid, and also linen. These had been purchased on 8 May, 1951 by the Liverpool Public Museums from the Palestine Archaeological Museum (represented by Gerald Lankaster Harding) for the sum of £50.00. At that time the curator in Liverpool was British archaeologist, John Henry ‘Harry’ Iliffe (1903-1960), whose museum career included posts as head of Classical collections at the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto (1927-1931); the first keeper of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, now the Rockefeller Museum, in Jerusalem (1931-1948); and Director of Museums in Liverpool (1948-1959).
Kindly note that the above preliminary images, taken by Sandra Jacobs, include the exterior profile of the jar, and are copyrighted by the Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archives. These photographs may not be used by others for publication purposes. We are currently trying to identify the precise textile, but clearly it is from Qumran Cave 1Q:
We extremely grateful to Dr Ashley Cooke (featured in the main post photograph) for making the archival correspondence available to the network team to verify the authenticity of this acquisition, as well as his hospitality at the Museum’s off-site warehouse when Isabella Bossolino and Sandra Jacobs arrived from London to photograph and draw the jar and lid.
The team were also delighted that Isabella Bossolino, together with Sandra Jacobs, were able to view the Qumran jar and lid (AN1951.477 and AN1951.477.b,) in the Antiquities Study Room at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. with the assistance of curator Dr Alison Pollard, following up on an examination of the jar previously undertaken by Joan Taylor. This pottery was drawn by Isabella for our project. Kindly note that images shown below are copyrighted by the Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archives, and that they may not be used for publication purposes. Further photographs, drawings and examination notes on this and other materials in collections worldwide will shortly be available on this website.
Some information relating to this acquisition has been published by Rebecca Abrams in Chapter 8. “Dead Sea Scroll Jar,” in The Jewish Journey: 4000 Years in 22 Objects From the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2017), 57-63, where a photograph of the jar prior to its shipment from Jordan also appears. A copy of the Air France consignment note, identifying “jar with lid” is later provided on page 80 of the volume.
The Network has had the opportunity to visit the British Museum holdings of Qumran Cave 1Q materials on two previous occasions, and we are grateful to curator Jonathan Tubb for his assistance when Joan Taylor took photographs and examined the objects. These consist of a jar and lid, and also fragments of textile. On Tuesday 5 March Isabella Bossolino, accompanied by Dr Sandra Jacobs, examined and made drawings of the Qumran Cave 1Q jar and lid purchased by the British Museum from the Jordanian government.On this occasion the team would particularly like to thank Dr Christos Gerontinis for taking time out to lift, position, and assist us throughout our study. Kindly note that preliminary images shown below are copyrighted by the Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archives, and that they may not be used by others for publication purposes.
During November 2018, Professor Marcello Fidanzio gained access to view and examine the Dead Sea Scroll Jars and materials held at the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem together with Isabella Bossolino (shown below). The network is particularly grateful to curator, Dr Hagit Maoz, for her valuable assistance in preparing drawings and photographs of the pottery at this time.
With further assistance of Dr Emile Puech, the team were also given access to the jar and lid (assumed to have been found in Cave 11Q), which is currently held in the Kando Souvenir Shop in Bethlehem. This has facilitated the production of improved drawings and photographic documentation. Both Adolfo Roitman and Hagit Maoz were extremely helpful and were able to provide further details relating to the restoration of this jar to Professor Fidanzio.
Now available on our photographic tab are the slides very kindly provided by the late Prof. Philip R. Davies. Click here to see them, with captions by DQCAAS. We are particularly pleased to have a picture of Roland de Vaux demonstrating how the Qumranites did their laundry. There is also a very nice image of Crystal Bennett, then Director of the British School of Archaeology and close friend of de Vaux’s, with her two dachshunds. Along with these, there are views of the site before the visitors’ centre was constructed, though signage and pathways had been created. Cave 4Qa and Cave 4Qb had not suffered the erosion of the present time. These images are not only important for understanding the site, but to the keen eye they can play a part in telling the story of how excavation, weathering and developments for tourism damage the archaeology of a place of immense cultural heritage value. There is much more that could be said on this topic, but for now we simply graciously acknowledge the generosity of Professor Davies in allowing his slides to be made available. We deeply regret he is no longer with us.
For visitors to Qumran, there is often the question: ‘Where were the first Dead Sea Scrolls found?’ If you look around at the hills they are dotted with caves, and at first sight they look remarkably similar. Which is the right one? We are grateful to Alexander Schick, who has supplied a photograph of the rocky escarpment where Cave 1Q is located, with a red arrow, so that visitors can find the location without a guide. To enable easier identification in historical archive photographs, we also include an ASOR image (cropped) where we have placed a red arrow to show the location of Cave 1Q.
NB Archaeologists normally add ‘Q’ after ‘Cave 1’. The Q is for ‘Qumran’ and distinguishes it as a scrolls cave, as opposed to a non-scrolls cave which is referred to without a ‘Q’. In addition, all the caves in the Qumran vicinity were numbered in the survey of 1952 in a sequence, and Cave 1Q is actually Cave 14 in this series. The archaeologists and scrolls scholars surely had their reasons at the time for two different numeration systems, but it has led to confusion and continues to do so. The cave designated ‘Cave 1’ in the 1952 survey (with no scrolls in it) is actually further north.
On 8 March, 2018, Joan Taylor gave a lecture in London on the quest to find Qumran Cave 1Q artefacts that have been dispersed around the world, and also considered some of the mysterious unprovenanced jars in various collections. Held in the Clore Education Centre of the British Museum, the lecture attracted over 200 people and led to some interesting discussions afterwards. The Network thanks the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society for their interest in our work, now published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly.
International conference at State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz.
The Dead Sea is not only the lowest point of the earth but confronts humans with a harsh environment. And yet, over many thousands of years people made a living out of the region, built settlements, cities, temples and hid treasures in caves. This conference brings together researchers from different countries in order to discuss the region’s environment, its resources, cultural development and research on the Qumran site. Speakers included Professor Marcello Fidanzio, presenting:“What Can We Learn from the Archaeology of Qumran Cave 11Q?”
Just published by Professor Joan Taylor, Dr Dennis Mizzi, and Professor Marcello Fidanzio, “Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and Its Archaeological Assemblage,” Palestine Exploration Quarterley 149/4 (2017): 295-325.
Abstract: Qumran Cave 1Q was the first site of Dead Sea scroll discoveries. Found and partly emptied by local Bedouin, the cave was excavated officially in 1949 and published in the series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (Volume 1) in 1955. Contents of the cave are found in collections worldwide, and in different institutions in Jerusalem and Amman. While the scrolls are the most highly prized artefacts from this cave, in archaeological terms they are part of an assemblage that needs to be understood holistically in order to make conclusions about its character and dating. This study presents all of the known items retrieved from the cave, including those that are currently lost, in order to consider what we might know about the cave prior to its emptying and the changes to its form. It constitutes preliminary work done as part of the Leverhulme funded International Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Sources.