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.
In 2013 the Non-Professional Archaeological Photographs project (NPAPH) was initiated in order to preserve non-professional documentation of past archaeological campaigns to the future and make it accessible to the public via digital archives.
The term ‘non-professional’ refers to two categories of records. First of all records made by visitors or participants of excavations who were not part of the trained staff, but who assisted as part of their continuing education or out of interest; for instance students, volunteers, reporters or sponsors. Secondly, the term represents personal photos, slides or films made by the archaeological staff itself.
Unlike official documentation, which can be consulted in published reports and is kept in libraries, museums, archives and on the internet, documentation by non-professionals is generally not accessible to the public. Furthermore, it is possible that these non-professional photographs, slides or films have not always been stored in the best conditions over the years. Therefore, the NPAPH project makes efforts to secure and make accessible this valuable documentation category.
One of the NPAPH digital collections is the Khirbet Qumran collection. This collection consists of photos made by people with various backgrounds. These include the archaeologists Ann Searight (now also available at DQCAAS) and Dan T. Hughs who visited the site during their stay in the region. Lucas Grollenberg, a Dominican priest from the École Biblique in Jerusalem, joined Père De Vaux at his excavations at Tell el-Farah (north) and Qumran. There was also the 26 year old Dutch student for the priesthood Leo Boer who had the opportunity to study at the École Biblique for a year (1953-1954). Here he engaged in Biblical studies, joined the third excavation led by de Vaux at Qumran from 13 February till 14 April 1954, and participated in many archaeological excursions organised by the École Biblique (Wagemakers 2014, 2011). Although he didn’t care much for archaeology, he would – indirectly and decades later – contribute to the archaeology of Qumran (Taylor 2014).
The origins of this project began by chance. During a conversation which I had with Boer in 1999, he suddenly produced two photo film canisters from his pocket and told me that these contained the photographs he had taken while excavating at Khirbet Qumran with de Vaux in March 1954. In his own words ‘he never had the time to do anything with them’ and that is why he had stored the film canisters in a small box in his garage for decades. Some years later it occurred to Joan Taylor and me that these photographs could be of real significance for the archaeology of Qumran and decided to publish some of them in an article in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly (Wagemakers and Taylor 2011a) and to present all of them in a feature on the Palestine Exploration Fund’s website (Wagemakers and Taylor 2011b).
Boer’s photographs indicate the huge energy of the excavations at Qumran and their rapid progress, as well as providing evidence of obscure areas of the site. Besides, given the many controversies about the nature of the site and the interpretation of its material remains, any new data that sheds light on the excavations was welcome.
And it did! For example, the mud-brick, plastered ‘block’ of L.86-L.87 had been interpreted in diverse ways by different Qumran researchers. Thanks to one of the photographs made by Boer, it could demonstrated for the first time that the top of the central block in L.86 had a slight hollow. Furthermore, we were able to state that the blocks are not the bases for palm-log roof supports, since the fall of the burnt wood on the Period Ib floor in L.86 — evidenced in another picture of Boer — indicates that the flat roofs at Qumran were constructed with beams running across the widths of rooms, with palm logs laid on top.
As the significance of non-professional records is obvious, it must be no surprise that the NPAPH project tries to stimulate others to search for this kind of archaeological documentation; it would surely be a tragedy if all those substantial images of excavations in the past, including those of Qumran, will be lost forever…
Taylor, Joan E. 2014. ‘The Archaeology of Khirbet Qumran,’ in Bart Wagemakers (ed.), Archaeology in the Land of ‘Tells and Ruins’. A History of Excavation sin the Holy Land Inspired by the Photographs and Account of Leo Boer (Oxford/Philadelphia: Oxbow Books), pp. 149-165.
Wagemakers, Bart. 2014. ‘Leo Boer, a Dutch Student in the Near East (1953-1954),’ in Bart Wagemakers (ed.), Archaeology in the Land of ‘Tells and Ruins’. A History of Excavation sin the Holy Land Inspired by the Photographs and Account of Leo Boer (Oxford/Philadelphia: Oxbow Books), pp. 1-21.
Wagemakers, Bart. 2011. ‘A Forgotten Diary and Photograph Collection as Valuable Records for the Historical and Archaeological Study of Israel and Transjordan,’ Strata: Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 29:121-139.
Wagemakers, Bart and Joan E. Taylor. 2011a. ‘New Photographs of the Qumran Excavations from 1954 and Interpretations of L.77 and L.86,’ Palestine Exploration Quarterly 143.2:134–156.
Wagemakers, Bart and Joan E. Taylor. 2011b. ‘Newly Discovered Qumran Photographs from the 1950s,’ http: www.pef.org.uk/qumran.
For more information please write to: Bart Wagemakers firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Team members are delighted to share Dr Dennis Mizzi’s recent publication, “Qumran at Seventy,” which appeared in Strata: The Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Association (2017): 9-45. Many thanks to Dr David Milson, and the society’s editorial committee, for allowing the network to reproduce this article here: Mizzi_Qumran@70
International conference at State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz.
Professor Marcello Fidanzio’s latest German language publication “Back to the Caves: New Investigations for the Final Publication of Manuscripts and Archaeology,” is now available in Welt und Umwelt der Bibel 1 (2018): 36-41.
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.
Electronic access to this article is available via Taylor and Francis
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.
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.
A highly fruitful workshop, organized by ISCAB FTL and ÉBAF, was held in Lugano on 24–25 April 2017 as part of the Qumran Caves Publication Project headed by Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Marcello Fidanzio. The workshop brought together a number of international scholars working on the final publication of Cave 11Q as well as other experts in the field to discuss their results. Marcello Fidanzio presented the preliminary results from the renewed excavation of Cave 11Q, which he co-directed with Dan Bahat, together with an updated edition of archival sources concerning excavations carried out in this cave. Dennis Mizzi talked briefly about the work of the Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archival Sources network, and gave an overview of the metal and stone artefacts from 11Q, based on a study he has carried out with Annalisa Faggi. Joan Taylor’s contribution focused on the organic objects, during which important radiocarbon dating results funded by the DQCAAS network were presented.