Cave 11Q is the only cave that has remained unpublished out of all those where manuscripts were found in the 20th century.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.
Professor Marcello Fidanzio travelled to Paris to consult with conservation specialists at the Musée du Quai Branly, during which time he was further able to re-examine the jar at the Louvre & consult further with Monsieur Henri de Contenson, excavator of Cave 3Q, who was previously featured in our earlier post.
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.