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.
The 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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
From a label brought out from a drawer, identifying “POTTERY and LINEN from DEAD SEA SCROLL CAVES,” Joan Taylor asked for further investigation of a drawer otherwise holding Gezer material at the PEF, where along with Qumran linen she had previously identified, was housed. To everyone’s excitement, executive secretary, Felicity Cobbing brought out pottery sherds labelled with the abbreviation ‘AF’. As with the linen, AF stands for Ain Feshkha, which related to Qumran Cave 1Q (originally called the ‘Ain Feshkha Cave’).
Aware that Dr G. Bushnell at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology had helped Elizabeth Crowfoot mount the Qumran linen in perspex, Joan Taylor got in touch with Imogen Gunn (Collections Manager, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge), to find out whether there may have been any Qumran materials held in their collection.The museum holds a piece of linen (Accession No. 1952:21, currently identified as “cotton”), catalogued as “prehistoric,” and described as follows: “Piece of plain woven cotton textile, mounted between two thin Perspex sheets. Wrapping from biblical scrolls.(Dimensions 11 inches in length; width 15 inches; source: Jordanian Department of Antiquities; place: Asia, West Asia, Palestine.” A further note on the catalogue card states: “Part of the wrappings of the recently discovered Biblical scrolls found in a cave in the Jordan valley. “ And in a later hand “i.e. the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
A handwritten letter from Dr Gerald Lankaster Harding, dated 27 July 1951, to Dr G. Bushnell confirms that the material was gifted to the University of Cambridge from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, in acknowledgment of the help and kindness shown to Ms. Crowfoot. The letter has no archive reference and is currently held in the Museum’s 1951 correspondence file. https://www.instagram.com/p/BI5IV4hD-WB/
From the wealth of materials stored at the Palestine Exploration Fund: http://www.pef.org.uk/collections/, the following resources were examined over several visits:
- PEF minute books from 1936-1966.
- Uncatalogued slide collections.
- Reverend Robert Pitt Photographic Archives (nine boxes).
- BSAJ Minute Book (Kenyon Institute, formerly the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem), from 1946-1958.
The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs – Topography, Orthography, Hydrography, and Archaeology, Volume II Sheets VIL-XVL Samaria (London: Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 1882), which serves as a historical memoir of the early record of the site is also now available online at: http://archive.org/search.php?query=Survey%20of%20Western%20Palestine2Ceramic
See further photographs from Bart Wagemakers and Joan E. Taylor, “New Photographs of the Qumran Excavations from 1954 and Interpretations of L.77 and L.86,” in Palestine Exploration Quarterly Volume 143, No. 2 (July 2011): 134-156. http://www.pef.org.uk/qumran/