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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
In addition to digitalizing 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 digitalized and made freely available on our recent post at https://dqcaas.com/2016/11/24/1953-film-of-cutting-open-of-the-copper-scroll
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;
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/
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/