Hershel Shanks, review of Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Search for the Secret of Qumran, BAR 21:02.


Hershel Shanks, “Qumran—The Pottery Factory,BAR 32:05.


Alan D. Crown and Lena Cansdale, “Qumran—Was It an Essene Settlement?BAR 20:05.


See Hershel Shanks, “Searching for the Essenes at Ein Gedi, Not Qumran,BAR 28:04.


See Stephen Goranson, “Qumran—A Hub of Scribal Activity,BAR 20:05. See also Stephen Goranson, “Qumran—The Evidence of the Inkwells,BAR 19:06.


See “Evidence of a Scriptorium?” sidebar to “The Enigma of Qumran,BAR 24:02.


See Frank Moore Cross and Esther Eshel, “The Missing Link,BAR 24:02.


See Anthony J. Saldarini, “Babatha’s Story,BAR 24:02.



Robert Donceel and Pauline Donceel-Voûte, “The Archaeology of Khirbet Qumran,” in Michael Wise, Norman Golb, John Collins and Dennis Pardee, eds., Methods of Investigations of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site: Present Realities and Future Prospects (New York: The New York Academy of Sciences, 1994), pp. 1–38.


Joseph Patrich, “Khirbet Qumran in Light of New Archaeological Explorations in the Qumran Caves,” in Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 73–96.


Magen Broshi and Hanan Eshel, “Residential Caves at Qumran,” Dead Sea Discoveries 6 (1999), p. 328.


Frank Moore Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1958, 1961), p. 27, n. 32.


Broshi and Eshel, “Residential Caves at Qumran,” p. 334.


Broshi and Eshel, “Residential Caves at Qumran,” pp. 328, 335.


Roland de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 54. It should be noted that, since no final report on the excavations, including the pottery, has been published, all conclusions must necessarily be preliminary.


The most thorough published study of the Qumran pottery to date has been done by Jodi Magness, relying on de Vaux’s preliminary publications and field notes (Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002]; see also Jodi Magness, “The Community of Qumran in Light of Its Pottery,” in Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 39–50). Rachel Bar Nathan has made an extensive survey of pottery types in the Jericho region, which includes Qumran (Rachel Bar Nathan, “Qumran and the Hasmonaean and Herodian Winter Palaces of Jericho: The Implication of the Pottery Finds for the Interpretation of the Settlement at Qumran,” in Katharina Galor, Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Jurgen Zangenberg, eds., The Site of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Archaeological Interpretations and Debates (Leiden: Brill, 2006), pp. 263–280). Bar Nathan notes that the pottery types found at Qumran are also found throughout the region, most notably the pottery from the palaces at Jericho (pp. 263–264). Therefore, she reasoned, we can conclude that the pottery at Qumran is not unique, but part of the larger regional repertoire of the period. Magness agrees with this conclusion, but argues that the “peculiarities” of the Qumran assemblage have to be taken into account. Most important for our purposes is the ubiquity of the hole-mouthed cylindrical, “ovoid” and “bag-shaped” storage jar at the site of Qumran and in the Qumran caves, especially in the natural caves in the limestone cliffs. In addition, “wasters” of these jars were found in the eastern garbage dump, indicating that they were produced on site (Bar Nathan, p. 275). The jars are, therefore, an important material connection between the caves and the site.

It is true that these types of storage jars (ovoid, bag-shaped and cylindrical) appear in other sites in Judea in the same period (although they have not been discovered in Jerusalem). But the cylindrical jars do not appear in anywhere near the same numbers as they do at Qumran. Thorough studies of the pottery found in the caves and excavated at Qumran have shown that, while the corpus fits into the regional pottery types found in the Judean Desert in the vicinity of Jericho, there are distinctive features in the caves/Qumran corpora that tie those two strongly together.


Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran, pp. 66–69.


In 31 B.C.E., an earthquake badly damaged the site, but it was rebuilt with only a slight gap, if any, in habitation, as Magness has shown. Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran, pp. 68–69.


De Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 36.


The Donceels, for example, argued that these were dining benches. Donceel and Donceel-Voûte, “The Archaeology of Khirbet Qumran,” pp. 27–31.


De Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 103.


James F. Strange, “The 1996 Excavations at Qumran and the Context of the New Hebrew Ostracon,” in The Site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 51, and the bibliography cited there.


Caves 1 and 3 contained pesharim, a form of composition unique to the Qumran collection. Serekh ha-Yahad, the New Jerusalem and the Damascus Document were located in Cave 5. Copies of the Serekh were also found in Caves 1 and (possibly) 11. Fragments of the New Jerusalem were found in Caves 1, 2 and 11. The Damascus Document was found in Cave 6.


These works include the books of Enoch (Caves 1, 2 and 6), Jubilees (Caves 1, 2, 3 and 11), the Temple Scroll (Cave 11) and Aramaic Levi (Cave 1).


De Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 100.


Almost every composition found in the other ten caves is also found in Cave 4. There are exceptions: Two of the pesharim from Cave 1 (Micah, Habakkuk) were not found in Cave 4; the Genesis Apocryphon is unique to Cave 1. But these are exceptions that prove the rule: Cave 4 provides a cross-section of the Qumran collection.


Ada Yardeni, “A Note on a Qumran Scribe,” in M. Lubetski, ed., New Seals and Inscriptions, Hebrew, Idumean, and Cuneiform. Hebrew Bible Monographs 8 (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007), pp. 287–298. See also Emanuel Tov, Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004), p. 23, Table 2.