USA Data Collection Trip 11-21 November 2018

In November 2018, DQCAAS organised the visit of Dennis Mizzi to the Oriental Institute (Chicago), the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), the Harvard Semitic Museum (Boston), and the Endowment for Biblical Research (Boston), in order to carry out renewed analysis of Qumran jars and lids held in these collections. It was arranged that he would be accompanied with Ms. Isabella Bossolino who undertook technical drawings and created a photographic dossier.

The purpose of this trip was to examine the jars afresh and prepare these new drawings that would rectify some inaccuracies identified in the earlier ones. For instance, the jar at the Oriental Institute (Q45) – illustrated in the feature image – is slightly lop-sided, which is at odds with the symmetrical jar illustrated in the ÉBAF card index – published in M. Fidanzio and J.-B., “Finds from the Qumran Caves: Roland de Vaux’s Inventory of the Excavations (1949–1956),” in The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014 (STDJ 118; ed. M. Fidanzio; Leiden: Brill, 2016) 263–332 [293].

Notably also the jar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was reconstructed after it broke in transit. The reconstruction is better than the original one undertaken by the Palestine Archaeological Museum, but this also means that the drawing in DJD 1, Fig. 2:10 (jar Q40) is, therefore, inaccurate.

As part of our study for the Network, therefore, we sought to identify the objects in the museums and match them with the material excavated by de Vaux, in order to obtain a complete record of which jars are in which collection. This was made possible by correlating first-hand observations with the ÉBAF archival material and documents made available by the museums. Here, we would like to thank the respective curators for their warm welcome and for being forthcoming with all their records.

We are very grateful to Ms. Isabella Bossolino, who is a PhD candidate candidate at the University of Pavia and Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, whose interests include Etruscan and Greek art and archaeology, together with Early Iron Age Mediterranean iconography.  Having received her B.A. in Classics from the Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy, Isabella earned her M.Phil. in Archaeology and Art History for her work on “Malak Vanth: iconography and functions,” which won the 2014 Claudia Maccabruni prize for the best archaeology thesis. Her diploma thesis on “Neck, Shoulder, Body, Foot. Thoughts on the Anatomy of Vessels,” undertaken at the Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori, IUSS (Institute for Advanced Study of Pavia), is particularly useful for her work on our project, by providing technical drawings and digital images of the Qumran jars.

isabellaAt present Isabella is writing her thesis on the late Iron Age and Archaic cemeteries of Kamiros, Rhodes, and is also in charge of the publication of the early Iron Age cemeteries of Kamiros, in addition to ceramic materials from excavations conducted by the University of Pavia in Verucchio, 2011 – 2017.