Cave 11Q is the only cave that has remained unpublished out of all those where manuscripts were found in the 20th century. It was discovered by Ta’amireh Bedouin in early 1956 and excavations were carried out in the same year by Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux. In 1988, the cave was excavated again by Joseph Patrich and most recently (2017) by Marcello Fidanzio and Dan Bahat.
In 2016 the Qumran Caves Publication Project (EBAF – ISCAB-FTL) resumed the work for a full publication of all the Qumran caves excavated by Roland de Vaux. The final report on the excavations at Cave 11Q is now published: Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Marcello Fidanzio, eds., Khirbet Qumrân et Aïn Feshkha: Vol. IV A: Cave 11Q: Archaeology and New Scroll Fragments (NTOA.SA 8A; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019).
The DQCAAS network has actively contributed to this publication, with all its members: Marcello Fidanzio is director of the Qumran Caves Publication Project and co-editor of the volume, Joan Taylor and Dennis Mizzi are authors of studies on archaeological materials. This volume includes important results of radiocarbon dating of textiles funded by DQCAAS.
On 20-21 July,2017 Dennis Mizzi and Joan Taylor were able to photograph, draw and study pottery fragments in the Palestine Exploration Fund, London, which the Network has identified as deriving from Cave 1Q. The most important fragments come from a jar rim.
The pottery was associated with 1Q textiles stored in one of the PEF drawers, and has only recently come to light (see previous blog post). These will be published soon in a series of articles identifying the holdings of the PEF in regard to Qumran.
We are grateful to the Committee of the PEF and especially to Felicity Cobbing (Executive Director), for making these resources available for study.
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.
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.