Qumran 1963: Photos from Ann Searight and Kay Prag

In 1963 members of the Kenyon team excavating in Jerusalem had a day trip to Jericho and Qumran, guided by Fr. Charles Coüasnon. Two members of the team, Ann Searight and Kay Prag, took colour photographs, providing useful images from a time shortly after the excavations. These include an image of the top of Cave 4Q with the entrances as used by the archaeologists, though now the northern entrance is almost completely eroded. The Searight pictures have already been made available online at the NPAPH (Non-Professional Archaeological Photographs) website. These are presented here by permission of Bart Wagemakers of NPAPH and Ann Searight. All rights reserved.  They may be ordered via NPAPH. We are very grateful to them both.

Kay Prag’s colour image is shown here for the first time and brilliantly complements the series by Ann Searight. We are also very grateful to Dr. Prag for her identifications of people in the pictures. DQCAAS here provides captions to enable better understanding of these images.

For citation of all DQCAAS content please credit: Joan E. Taylor, Dennis Mizzi and Marcello Fidanzio, The Leverhulme International Network for Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Sources (DQCAAS), and the appropriate URL.


to Dead Sea
1. Khirbet Qumran and the Dead Sea (1963, ID: cSearightpQumran1, Source: photo, Repository: NPAPH-project, Creator: Ann Searight). All rights reserved.
The photograph is taken on a remarkably clear day from the west looking eastwards over an arm of the wadi through to the tower (on the left) and main building of Qumran. One can see across the Dead Sea to the hills on the other side and even to the higher plateau of Jordan. Mount Nebo lies just above the tower ruins in the distance on the other side of the lake. The rubble from fallen structures and dig rubbish can be seen in the foreground on the side of the wadi.


2. Trip to Khirbet Qumran with Fr. Charles Coüasnon (1963, ID: cSearightpQumran2, Source: photo, Repository: NPAPH-project, Creator: Ann Searight). All rights reserved.
The people of this image are, from left: Alexander Hamilton, Kay Prag, Charles Coüasnon, Rosemary Worth(Payne), Agnes Spycket(?), Sebastian Payne,  and an unidentified man. The tower appears in the upper left side of the image, and the figure with his back to the camera is located in pool L.48/49.


3. Visit to Khirbet Qumran with Fr. Charles Coüasnon (1963, ID: cSearightpQumran3, Source: photo, Repository: NPAPH-project, Creator: Ann Searight). All rights reserved.
From left: Alexander Hamilton, Fr. Coüasnon and unidentified man. The people are on top of Cave 4Q. This is an important image because these entrances have now significantly changed in shape due to damage from visitors and erosion. This right-hand entrance was cut by the archaeologists to facilitate easier entry, and connected with the ancient entrance to the left of the picture via a tunnel. The spur of the hill is visible at the top.
In the report of the archaeological excavations of Cave 4Q, Roland de Vaux wrote of the entrances as follows:
‘L’accès à la grotte se faisant du nord, par une ouverture circulaire donnant dans une galerie basse qui descend en pente légère pendant quelques mètres; puis, par une suite de marches irrégulières, cette galerie débouche dans la paroi nord de la chambre principale, assez haut au-dessus du sol.  DJD VI (Oxford, 1977), p.9.
In English: ‘The access to the cave is from the north, via a circular opening leading to a low gallery which descends slightly for a few meters; then, by a series of irregular steps, this gallery opens into the north wall of the main chamber, rather high above the ground.’
An image of the interior of the ancient entrance can be seen in Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Alain Chambon, Fouilles de Khirbet Qumrân et de Ain Feshka I: Album de photographies. Répertoire du fonds photographiques. Synthèse des notes de chantier du Père Roland de Vaux (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus, Series Archaeologica 1; Fribourg: Editions universitaires, 1994), Photo 426 (p.207).



4. Visit to Khirbet Qumran with Père Charles Coüasnon (1963, ID: Kay Prag Qumran, creator: Kay Prag). All rights reserved.
Fr. Coüasnon is standing on the edge of the Iron Age cistern (L.110), with the ruins largely behind him. The edge of the Dead Sea can be seen, indicating a much higher water level than today. The people in this image are, from left: [the edge of the hat of] Rosemary Worth(Payne), [the kaffiyeh of the] unidentified man, Agnes Spycket(?), Charles Coüasnon and Alexander Hamilton. On the right side of the picture one can see the water channel that runs along the side of the cistern through the workshop area of the buildings and the top of an oven in Locus 101.