Newly Discovered Qumran Holding: World Museum Liverpool

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:

textiles_twoWe 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.

Professor Marcello Fidanzio in Jerusalem and Bethlehem

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.

Further meetings with Dr Na’ama Sukenik (Textile Technologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority) at Mount Scopus took place, with Dr Sukenik shown below with Isabella:

 

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.

Additional visits to the holdings at the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, and also the Bible Museum, were carried out. The Bible Museum jar is labelled Q29-5, from Qumran Cave 29 (in the 1952 survey) and the  lid (Q23), is from Cave 1. Examined below:

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Bible Society – Nov 2018

Bible society

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Qumran Caves Publication Project 11Q Workshop (Lugano, April 2017)

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.

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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

 

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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.

Just Published by Marcello Fidanzio: The Caves of Qumran

 

The Caves of Qumran

Edited by Marcello Fidanzio, Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano

Continue reading “Just Published by Marcello Fidanzio: The Caves of Qumran”

Ceramic Finds in MacCalister Gezer Drawer at PEF

 

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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’).