While examining the textiles from Qumran Cave 1Q in the Palestine Exploration Fund the DQCAAS Network has been much helped by curator Felicity Cobbing, who scanned these textiles using their sophisticated equipment. The results of the scanning demonstrates how useful high-quality images of textiles are for showing the details of the material not easily visible to the naked eye. By permission of Felicity Cobbing we make these scans available here. All these images are copyright (all rights reserved). For those who wish to use these in any way, please ask permission by emailing the Palestine Exploration Fund directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
These textiles were initially studied by Grace Crowfoot, in two publications:
Crowfoot, Grace (1951). ‘Linen textiles from the cave of Ain Feshkha in the Jordan valley’, Palestine Exploration Quarterly 83 (1951), January-April, 5–31.
Crowfoot, Grace (1955). ‘The linen textiles’, in D. Barthélemy and J. T. Milik (eds.), Qumran Cave 1, Studies in the Judaean Desert 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1955), 18–38, Pl. IV–VII.
Crowfoot numbered these and, accordingly, the PEF fragments can be found in her list, as 20, 23 and 25.
The PEF textile pieces were subsequently re-published when identified in 2002, in an article by Joan E. Taylor, Kaare L. Rasmussen, Gregory Doudna, Johannes van der Plicht and Helge Egsgaard (2005), ‘Qumran Textiles in the Palestine Exploration Fund, London: Radiocarbon Dating Results,’ Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 137/2, 159–167, which included radiocarbon results.
Crowfoot catalogued 77 pieces from Cave 1Q, though two of these (nos. 11 and 12) turned out to be cotton, and were classified as ‘modern’ (Crowfoot 1955: 31). Unfortunately, these were then thrown away. Of the remaining 75 pieces of textile, some are from the same cloth (e.g. no. 18 belongs with no. 28, and no. 6 with 19). None of the linen is very fine but it is of moderate quality.
The textiles in the PEF are mounted in perspex and were identified by the letters ‘A.F.’, which can be misleading to curators not familiar with Qumran archaeology. A.F. stands for Ain Feshkha, because initially the cave was associated with the spring and ruin at Ain Feshkha rather than with Khirbet Qumran and thus called the ‘Ain Feshkha Cave’. It may be that there are textiles in museums and collections with this ‘A.F.’ labelling that people do not realise are from Qumran Cave 1Q. However, at the moment most of these precious textiles cannot be located, which makes the three PEF textiles particularly valuable. To date our research has been able to identify only a few fragments in any collections. The identifiable fragments are listed below, with available links online, with the PEF material inserted in sequence. Captions provided for the PEF photographs for the Network by Joan Taylor.
15: Israel Antiquities Authority, labelled IAA 351288
20: Palestine Exploration Fund, London PEF/A0/6000
22: Israel Antiquities Authority, labelled IAA 578620
23: Palestine Exploration Fund, London PEF/AO/6001
25: Palestine Exploration Fund, London PEF/AO/5999
30: Israel Antiquities Authority, IAA531297
55: Ashmolean Museum, but the current whereabouts are unknown, and this cannot be verified.
59: Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Accession no. 1952.21
60. British Museum, Accession no. 131444a
61? part? Musée de Louvre 16-564586
See also a 2004 ESRF Project on the blue dye of the textiles.
For further on the Qumran 1Q textiles see:
Bélis, M. (2003). ‘Les Textiles,’ in Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Jan Gunneweg (eds.), Fouilles de Khirbet Qumrân et de ‘Aïn Feshkha II (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus, Series Archaeologica 3, Göttingen, Academic Press Fribourg, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 207-276.
Shamir, Orit (2006). ‘Textiles and garments from Qumran — Chalcolithic and Roman Periods,’ in J. Gunneweg, C. Greenblatt and A. Adriaens (eds.), Bio and Material Cultures at Qumran (Stuttgart), pp. 285-296.
Shamir, Orit and Sukenik, Naama (2011). ‘Qumran Textiles and the Garments of Qumran’s Inhabitants,’ DSD 18, 206–25.