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Guest Blog: From Qumran to New York: Documenting Provenance of a Dead Sea Scroll Jar

The network is delighted to host this guest blog, from Anne Dunn-Vaturi, researcher at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From Qumran to New York: Documenting Provenance of a Dead Sea Scroll Jar.

In 1963 a Dead Sea Scroll jar from Qumran was entrusted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Richard J. Ward’s care, on his return from Jordan where he served as Economic Advisor to the U.S. aid mission. Dr. Ward, who was also Associate Professor of Economics at the C.W. Post College (today’s Long Island University Post), organized a lecture series by Dead Sea Scroll scholars while the jar was on display at the C.W. Post College Library in December 1963.

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Article from The Post Pioneer. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, LIU Post Library. Long Island University.

Shortly after, the jar was transported to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a gift of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was restored and installed in the Ancient Near Eastern gallery on 5 June, 1964. Although the information about Cave 1Q was known from the time of the acquisition of the jar, the provenance and published references of the object were not fully documented in our database.

As part of my mandate to document the ownership history of the collection of the Department of Ancient Near Eastern art, I was recently able to update the jar records thanks to the article “Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and its archaeological assemblage” published in 2017 by Joan E. Taylor, Dennis Mizzi and Marcello Fidanzio in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. The jar, listed as Q40 in table 1 and the lid accompanying it later identified by Joan Taylor as Q22, were discovered in Cave 1Q in 1949.

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Some of the jars from the same cave, including ours, were originally published in the first volume of Discoveries in the Judean Desert. In fact, the Met has one of three jars that are not the ‘classic’ cylindrical shape so we invite member(s) of the Project for the Study Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Source to have a close look at it. It is currently on view in the case “Ancient Near East and the Bible” in Gallery 406 and it is part of the online Met collection .

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References

Barthélemy, Dominique. and Józef Tadeusz Milik. 1955. Qumran Cave 1: Discoveries in the Judean Desert I. Oxford: OUP, p. 8, fig. 2:10.
Fidanzio, Marcello and Jean-Baptiste Humbert. 2016. “Finds from the Qumran Caves: Roland de Vaux’s Inventory of the Excavations (1949-1956),” in Marcello Fidanzio (ed.), The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014 (STDJ XX), Leiden: Brill, p. 265, n. 11, p. 267, table 18.1.
Taylor, Joan E.,  Dennis Mizzi, and Marcello Fidanzio. 2017. “Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and its Archaeological Assemblage.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 149, 4, table 1, p. 321.

 

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Qumran at Seventy

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

 

 

Joan Taylor, ‘Finding Qumran Cave 1Q Artefacts’: Palestine Exploration Fund and Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society joint lecture, at the British Museum, 8 March 2018

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On 8 March, 2018, Joan Taylor gave a lecture in London on the quest to find Qumran Cave 1Q artefacts that have been dispersed around the world, and also considered some of the mysterious unprovenanced jars in various collections. Held in the Clore Education Centre of the British Museum, the lecture attracted over 200 people and led to some interesting discussions afterwards. The Network thanks the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society for their interest in our work, now published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly.

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New Publication: Revisiting Qumran Cave 1Q and Its Archaeological Assemblage

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 

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See also  Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Home Page

Further Work on Qumran Pottery at the PEF

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.

SOTS (Society for Old Testament Study) Centenary Presentation

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.

Professor Marcello Fidanzio in Amman.

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.

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