SOTS (Society for Old Testament Study) Centenary Presentation

At the recent SOTS (Society for Old Testament Study) Centenary Meeting, held at King’s College, London, the  team reviewed the aims and achievements of the project, and explained how they are making available new findings via the website (www.dqcaas.com). Together with the project’s anticipated publications, the network is also feeding  data towards a new book series on the archaeology of the Qumran caves edited by J. B. Humbert and M. Fidanzio. The  very first volume of this series (on Cave 11Q)  will be appearing next year. To date, the  team have concentrated on materials connected with Qumran Cave 1Q and 11Q. In regard to Cave 1Q, there has been a particular focus on the jars dispersed around the globe in various museums and collections. Cave 11Q linen has been radiocarbon dated with interesting results. The photographic collection of the Allegro archive in Manchester Museum is currently being digitised, and other archival materials elsewhere continue to be identified. The network investigators concluded by informing the audience that they are keen to hear from anyone with photographs and materials of the Qumran caves from the 1950s and 1960s.

Professor Marcello Fidanzio in Amman.

On 17 July 2017 Professor Marcello Fidanzio undertook a mission within the framework of The Qumran Caves Publication Project (Ecole biblique et archéologique française, Jerusalem [EBAF] and ISCAB-FTL; series editors J.-B. Humbert and M. Fidanzio) focusing on a large selection of (undisplayed) textiles in Amman, whose professional examination has been entrusted to Dr Mireille Bélis and Dr Christophe Moulherat.

Reporting from the Jordan Museum in Amman Professor Marcello Fidanzio, of the Istituto di Cultura e Archeologia delle terre Bibliche (ISCAB), and Research Associate at the École Biblique et Archeologique Française de Jérusalem, confirms that several types of material found in the Qumran caves are preserved in the Jordan Museum Amman. These include manuscripts from the caves 1Q and 4Q and the Copper Scroll from 3Q cave; pottery and a large amount of textiles, as was first observed by George Brooke over twenty years ago (Brooke 1996, 1997, 2000). These materials can now be understood in connection with the archival records related to the time of the excavation held by the Ecole biblique et archéologique française, Jerusalem (EBAF), and remain important assets in the care of the Jordanian authorities.

Further information regarding the manuscript collection at Amman has been published by George Brooke, from his study at the museum in 1996 as follows:
‘Amman Museum,’ in Encyclopaedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: OUP, 2000).
‘The Dead Sea Scrolls in the National Archaeological Museum, Amman,’ al-Nadwah (al-Bayt University Journal) 8 (1997), 23-35.
‘The Dead Sea Scrolls,’ Jordaniana (Summer, 1996), 16-17.

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DSS & Bible at Chester Cathedral Library

In May, after giving a talk on the Essenes in the ancient literary sources for the Chester Theological Society, Joan Taylor was given a personal tour of the highly interesting exhibition, ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible’, at Chester Cathedral Library by its creator George Brooke. Brooke has been a collector of useful and illuminating items associated with the Scrolls and the caves for many years, and has generously shared these, supplemented by materials from Manchester University and Chester Cathedral itself. There are highlights that are of particular interest in terms of the Network. Photographic and archival material is supplemented by a range of books, articles and even postcards that provide a deeper understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls caves. Notably, there is a replica scroll jar produced at a Nazareth workshop. Reproductions of scrolls are remarkable for their similarity to the real artefacts. In particular there is Allegro’s replica of the Copper Scroll and panels from the Copper Scroll exhibition of some years ago, including one on Wright the opening of the scroll. This rich, eclectic exhibition is extremely useful for students and scholars of the scrolls and caves. The full exhibition catalogue is available for free download here: https://chestercathedral.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Guide.The-Dead-Sea-Scrolls-and-the-Bible.pdf It includes the English version of an article ‘The ‘Library’ of Qumran after 70 Years’ by Brooke, published in Le Monde de la Bible (April 2017).

 

Members of the First Scroll Team: From the Allegro Photographs at the Manchester Museum

Work on John Allegro’s extensive photographic records continues. During March these Manchester Museum pictures were scanned showing members of the first Scrolls team, led by Père Roland de Vaux from the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem (ÉBAF).

  French scholar, Jean Starcky (1909-1988).

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Image B.ST.STARCKY.2 reproduced with permission of the Allegro Estate; courtesy of the Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester; for copyright and reproduction requests please contact collections@manchester.ac.uk

Father Pierre Benoit working on the Greek fragments from Murabba’at.

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Image B.ST.BENOIT.1 reproduced with permission of the Allegro Estate; courtesy of the Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester; for copyright and reproduction requests please contact collections@manchester.ac.uk

John Strugnell with fragments and tobacco pipe:

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B.ST.STRUGNELL.1 reproduced with permission of the Allegro Estate; courtesy of the Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester; for copyright and reproduction requests please contact collections@manchester.ac.uk

Featured image on this post:

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Father Józef Tadeusz Milik (1922-2006) handing a tray of fragments to John Allegro. Image B.ST.ALLEGRO.16; reproduced with permission of the Allegro Estate; courtesy of the Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester; for copyright and reproduction requests please contact collections@manchester.ac.uk

 

Replica Jars at the Australian Institute of Archaeology

On February 20th, 2017, Christopher Davey, of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Melbourne, hosted a visit from Joan Taylor, to review materials in the archive of G. R. H. (Mick) Wright. While the Wright archive did not provide materials on the caves, Dr Davey has very generously supplied his collection of photographs taken in 1974, and they can be accessed in our photographic database here in low-resolution. To obtain high quality images, please be in touch with him at director@aiarch.org.au.

While at the institute, the opportunity was taken to undertake some experimental archaeology, using the replica 1Q scroll jars and lids there. These replica jars are found in a variety of places, and their production could be an essay in itself, but thus far we have encountered them in Manchester Museum and in private collections. If anyone has further details about them do get in touch with us.

The interest with the replica jars is that they provided a chance for experimenting on how the lids might have been tied on (IF they were tied at all), when most of the jars had no handles. The knob on top of the lids provides an easy means of looping string around it, but where else did such string go? We tried tying the string around the knob and on to the neck, though the replica jars do not have the high neck of the actual 1Q jars and thus the string tended to be unstable. This form of tying still resulted in the lid being able to be lifted a little. We also determined that a tight fit of lid to jar was necessary, which would only be facilitated by having cloth tied to the neck (jar covers), to create a snug casing. A tightly bound jar cover could possibly also then have been used to bind on the lid, with its edges pulled up towards the knob. Textiles could also be used to completely cover the lid, bound on to the neck. It was determined that it would be hard to create a very tight binding of string alone unless it went around the base of the jar, and even this would not be as secure as a fit using cloth laid over the mouth of the jar and tied on to the neck prior to the lid being fitted. Jar covers are therefore an essential part of securing the lid snugly.

String of various kinds has been found in association with the jars in scroll caves, and further examination of this string may enable us to determine whether it might have been used for tying on scroll wrappers, jar covers or the exterior of jars.

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experiments with string: image copyright Joan Taylor

 

Copper Scroll Images from Allegro Archive

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Images reproduced by permission of the Allegro estate; courtesy of Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester. Please refer any image copyright and reproduction requests to collections@manchester.ac.uk

In addition to digitising the extensive collection of photographs taken by John Allegro, a number of images feature in Judith Brown’s biography of her father, John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Grand Rapids, Michigan and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans, 2005), which have also been made available to the Network. This picture of Professor Wright Baker, from the former Manchester College of Technology (now UMIST), shows him here in profile working on the Copper Scroll,  complements the film footage which the project has digitised and made freely available on our recent post at https://dqcaas.com/2016/11/24/1953-film-of-cutting-open-of-the-copper-scroll

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Work Starting on Allegro Archive in Manchester

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John Marco Allegro. Image (AQ.65.1) reproduced with permission of the Allegro Estate; courtesy of the Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester. For copyright and reproduction requests please contact jamilla.hawa@manchester.ac.uk

Approximately 1473 photographs of the initial excavations Khirbet Qumran and its vicinity, including the caves, were taken by John Marco Allegro, from his arrival in Jerusalem in October 1953 through to his ‘Search in the Desert’ work in the 1960s. This entire collection was donated to the Manchester Museum by Mrs Judith Brown. John Allegro’s daughter, and later made available as microfiche images published by George Brooke and Helen Bond: The Allegro Qumran Photograph Collection: Supplement to the Dead Sea Scrolls on Microfiche (ed. G. Brooke with H.K. Bond; Leiden, New York & Köln, E.J. Brill and IDC, 1996). As part of the project’s commitment to study archival documentation and photographs, these images are being digitized as part of the Network project’s activities by Sandra Jacobs.

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First Network Meeting Paris 12-14 December 2016

dscf5352The Network meeting in Paris was attended by all partners: Joan Taylor, Marcello Fidanzio and Dennis Mizzi, along with Network Facilitator Sandra Jacobs. It was decided in order to have a Network meeting coinciding with practical work visiting the Qurman jar at the Musée du Louvre for close examination. It was a great opportunity for all parties to outline their respective work, discuss plans and share information.

As well as visiting the Louvre, the partners were honoured to meet with Monsieur Henri de Contenson, excavator of Cave 3Q, now in his 90s, and Madame de Contenson. He talked about his memories of working at Qumran in the 1950s, which was very valuable.

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Since on Tuesday the Louvre is completely closed to visitors, the jar Q46 (AO20147) was brought out for examination in the gallery of the museum, with the kind assistance of curator Mahmoud Alassi. Lid Q13 (AO20148) was also examined. Our examination added to our awareness that greater comparative knowledge of the jars from Cave 1Q is vital, and this can only to be gained from studying them in the various international collections in which they are held.Initial publication details are provided by Dariusz Długosz, “Qumrân au musée du Louvre: En hommage à Józef Tadeusz Milik (1922-2006),” Revue de Qumrân 22/1 (2005): 121-129, and also at: http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/cartelfr/visite?srv=car_not_frame&idNotice=37415;

Our next Network meeting will be in April.

1955 Film of Cutting Open of the Copper Scroll

Judy Brown, daughter of John Allegro, has generously supplied the Network with many materials related to her father, and we are moving forward with investigating them. Included in these materials was a mysterious roll of film in a metal spool, shot by John Allegro. In order to find out what it was, Joan Taylor visited film archive expert Tim Emblem-English at his London studio: http://www.theflyingspot.co.uk/. Tim was able to recognise that this film was developed as a ‘reversal’ straight out of the camera that shot it, and its Kodak serial number could be traced to 1953. That date turned out to fit perfectly with the contents, as it showed, amazingly, the Copper Scroll being cut into with a circular blade. Thanks to Professor H. Wright-Baker, at the former Manchester Institute of Technology (now The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), the scroll was first opened on 01 October 1955.  The film duration is only 1.21 seconds long, at 25 frames a second, but the quality (silver nitrate on celluloid) is excellent. We have digitised this footage and here make it available on this site for viewing. You may want to imagine the sound of an electric cutter as you watch it!

Kindly note that this film is copyright. For any use of this footage, please be in touch with the owner, Judy Brown at judybrown0@gmail.com. We thank her very much for allowing us to make use of this amazing piece of visual history and permitting us to digitise the footage.

Further details available in J.A. Brown,  “Opening the Copper Scroll,” in John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge UK; Eerdmans, 2005), pp. 60-75.