Award Time

The Caves of Qumran. edited by one of our DQCAAS team members, Marcello Fidanzio, has won the 2019 Biblical Archaeology Society award for the best scholarly book.  Other team members Dennis Mizzi and Joan Taylor contributed chapters to this volume, along with many other Qumran experts. This book is the proceedings of an excellent conference held in Lugano in 2014, and we are all delighted with this result. Well done Marcello for all your amazing work.


The Allegro Image Archive


The Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archival Sources (DQCAAS) project is now drawing to a close, after three+ years of much-appreciated funding from the Leverhulme Trust. As part of our project, Dr. Sandra Jacobs has laboured long and hard in digitising and uploading a large collection of photographs taken by John Allegro in the 1950s and 1960s and we are very grateful to her.

John Allegro took pictures of Qumran and the caves already in 1954, and added to these in his successive journeys back to the region over many years. He was part of the early publication team and was instrumental in opening the Copper Scroll. He was also an excellent photographer. We hope that his collection will be appreciated by Scrolls scholars, archaeologists and the wider public as we all seek to understand more deeply the site of Qumran and its vicinity, the caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the texts themselves.

This photographic collection has already been available in a microfiche edition prepared by George Brooke and Helen Bond: The Allegro Qumran Photograph Collection (Leiden: Brill, 1996).  Since microfiche readers in libraries are becoming harder to find, and the image quality is poor, it seemed essential to make this set of important photographs available digitally. The fine work of cataloguing and identifying the images done by Brooke and Bond will nevertheless be much appreciated for years to come and is necessary for a fuller understanding of the photographs. The monochrome digital images provided here correspond to the microfiche set.

We also provide Allegro’s colour slide collection, many of which overlap with the monochrome images. We are very grateful to the Collections Studio of Manchester Museum. For image requests, please contact Rachel Petts, curator:

As well as the slides and prints in the Manchester Museum, we include also on this site a range of important examples made available by the daughter of John Allegro, Judith Brown, who has provided additional photographs. Please note that she holds copyright over both the Manchester Museum images and her personal archive, and these images may not be reproduced without her permission. We are enormously grateful to her for her help and support and for allowing us to release these important images via this site.

Thank you to all.


A Thank You Note

As our existing funding from the Leverhulme Trust draws to a close, the hard work of everyone in our team does not. We will continue to feature new archival and artefactual material relating to the Qumran caves, and plan to upload details of soon-to-be-realized project publications and conference presentations, together with further work that is funded by this project grant but not fully completed. The project has brought in a large amount of data, only some of which can be shared on this website, and our ongoing work will bring more of this to light in scholarly outputs in future months and years.
On this occasion we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone “behind the scenes” at King’s College London for making the project such a huge, and ongoing, success.  The support and dedication  of the following individuals is greatly appreciated:  From the Faculty of Humanities, Post-Award Processing Bureau: Hanna-Kristin Arro and Francesca Tambellino. Thank you also to Neil Partington, Senior Research Administrator in the Research Management Directorate. Thank you also to the staff of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London, for their support. especially to Chelo Rodrigues, Research and Resources Manager.
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of this project, from Joan Taylor, Marcello Fidanzio and Dennis Mizzi, the Network partners, and from Sandra Jacobs, Network Facilitator and Researcher.

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.

British Museum Jar and Lid – Documented 5 March 2019

The Network has had the opportunity to visit the British Museum holdings of Qumran Cave 1Q materials on two previous occasions, and we are grateful to curator Jonathan Tubb for his assistance when Joan Taylor took photographs and examined the objects. These consist of a jar and lid, and also fragments of textile. On Tuesday 5 March Isabella Bossolino, accompanied by Dr Sandra Jacobs, examined and made drawings of the Qumran Cave 1Q jar and lid purchased by the British Museum from the Jordanian government. On this occasion the team would particularly like to thank Dr Christos Gerontinis for taking time out to lift, position, and assist us throughout our study. Kindly note that preliminary images shown below  are copyrighted by the Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archives, and that they may not be used by others for publication purposes.

isabella 05 March 2019

How to find Qumran Cave 1Q

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.

Cave 1Q lies just to the west of a large outcrop of rock and an open, squarish cave and is not easy to distinguish in the rocky slope unless you find these landmarks first. The full image of this picture (uncropped) appears in DJD III, Fig. 3 where a tiny black arrow (very hard to see) is meant to show where the cave is located, but the arrow points slightly too far to the left.
DSC_0817 S Dannat Schick Sylt
The rocky hill in which Cave 1Q is found as it is today. Image supplied to DQCAAS by Alexander Schick. All rights reserved.
DSC_0817 S Dannat b 1Q Schick Sylt
The location of Cave 1Q in the rocky hill, identified by Alexander Schick. Zoom in to see people on the slope, which helpfully give a sense of scale. Image supplied to DQCAAS by Alexander Schick. All rights reserved.

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




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.


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:;

Our next Network meeting will be in April.

1955 Film of Cutting Open The Copper Scroll

Judy Brown, daughter of John Allegro, has generously supplied the Network with many materials related to her father, and we are moving forward with investigating them. Included in these materials was a mysterious roll of film in a metal spool, shot by John Allegro. In order to find out what it was, Joan Taylor visited film archive expert Tim Emblem-English at his London studio: Tim was able to recognise that this film was developed as a ‘reversal’ straight out of the camera that shot it, and its Kodak serial number could be traced to 1953. That date turned out to fit perfectly with the contents, as it showed, amazingly, the Copper Scroll being cut into with a circular blade. Thanks to Professor H. Wright Baker, at the former Manchester Institute of Technology (now The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), the scroll was first opened on 1 October 1955, and this film was shot on 3 October at the time of a second cut.  The film duration is only 1.21 seconds long, at 25 frames a second, but the quality (silver nitrate on celluloid) is excellent. We have digitised this footage and here make it available on this site for viewing. You may want to imagine the sound of an electric cutter as you watch it!

Kindly note that this film is copyright. For any use of this footage, please be in touch with DQCAAS at We thank Judith Brown very much for allowing us to make use of this amazing piece of visual history and permitting us to digitise the footage.

Further details available in J.A. Brown,  “Opening the Copper Scroll,” in John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge UK; Eerdmans, 2005), pp. 60-75.