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.
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;
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: http://www.theflyingspot.co.uk/. 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 the owner, Judy Brown at email@example.com. We thank her very much for allowing us to make use of this amazing piece of visual history and permitting us to digitise the footage.
Tim Embry at Flying Spot
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.