The inkwell was published in BAR in 1994, but the author did not mention that the inkwell was supposedly found together with the bronze incense altar. See Stephen Goranson, “A Hub of Scribal Activity?” BAR 20:05.


See Hershel Shanks, “Who Lies Here?” BAR 25:05.


See Rami Arav and Richard A. Freund, “Prize Find: An Incense Shovel from Bethsaida,” BAR 23:01.



Subsequent proprietors were Fayez Baraket of Los Angeles in 1975, Mathias Komor of New York in 1975, an anonymous collector from 1975 until 1992 and David Goldstein of Los Angeles from 1992 to 1994. In 1995 Kando confirmed that the inkwell and the altar indeed were found by Bedouin at Qumran around 1950. The altar and the inkwell are numbered 1655/4 and 1655/2 in the checklist of the Schøyen Collection.


Inkwell: 55–68% copper, 23–39% lead, 5–8% tin. Altar: 58–62% copper, 35–40% lead, 1–2% tin. The tests were performed by Hegle Semb at the Norwegian Technical University in Trondheim on November 11, 1996. My thanks to Mr. Semb and the University for their assistance in this matter.


Yoram Nir-El and Magen Broshi, “The Black Ink of the Qumran Scrolls,” Dead Sea Discoveries 3 (1996), p. 158; also Broshi, personal communication.


See Roland de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1973).


At least fifteen Nabatean legal documents dating to Qumran period III were found in the Judean desert caves, especially Nahal Hever 5/6 and Wadi Muraba’at. This reflects increased Nabatean influence or presence in Judea in the period between the two Jewish revolts. See for example Baruch A. Levine, “The Various Workings of the Aramaic Legal Tradition: Jews and Nabateans in the Nahal Hever Archive,” in Lawrence H. Schiffman, Emanuel Tov, James C. VanderKam and Galen Marquis, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years After Their Discovery 1947–1997 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society in cooperation with the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, 2000), pp. 836–851.


Israel Museum no. 66–604. Excavated by Yael Israeli and Miriam Mann. As far as Israeli recalls, it came from a Byzantine-period grave.


Shimon Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites on Mount Hermon, Israel: Ituraean Culture in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, BAR International Series 589, (Oxford: Archaeopress, 1993), pp. 63–64 and 267. The site and temple of Har Senaim flowered during the first to third centuries C.E.


See John H. Iliffe, “Imperial Art in Transjordan,” The Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine 11 (1945), pp. 1–26 and plates I–X (p. 18 and plate VI). Iliffe saw this bronze altar as a model for a similar ceramic altar with eight horns (one damaged and one missing) that was found in an early–second-century C.E. potter’s workshop in Jerash, excavated from 1933 to 1934.


The limestone altar, exhibited at the Haifa Museum, is approximately twice as big as the bronze altars and has four horns and four elevations and a zigzag decoration around the body. See Zev Yeivin and G. Finkelstein, Castra, at the Foot of Mount Carmel: The City and its Secrets (Haifa: Haifa Museum/National Maritime Museum, Spring Catalogue, 1999), p. 32.


Judith MacKenzie, The Architecture of Petra (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990), plates 5–19; Thomas Weber and Robert Wenning, Petra: Antike Felsstadt zwischen arabischer Tradition und griechischer Norm (Mainz, Germany: Philipp von Zabern, 1997) pp. 87–88; Iain Browning, Petra (London: Chatto & Windus, 1980), pp. 79–88.


De Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 41–44.


C. Clamer, Fouilles Archéologiques de ‘Ein ez-Zara/Callirrhoé: villégiature hérodienne (Beiruth: Institut Français d’Archéologie du Proche-Orient, 1997), pp. 73–79.


According to Menahem Haran, in Israel incense was only burned in the Jerusalem Temple. See his articles, “The Uses of Incense in the Ancient Israelite Ritual,” Vetus Testamentum 10 (1960), pp. 113–129; Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel: An Inquiry into the Character of Cult Phenomena and the Historical Setting of the Priestly School (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978) pp. 235–241; and “‘Incense Altars’—Are They?” Biblical Archaeology Today (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 237–247. Also see Seymour Gitin, “Incense Altars from Ekron: Context, Typology and Function,” Eretz Israel 23 (1992), pp. 43–49; Jacob Milgrom, “The Burning of Incense in the Time of the Second Temple,” in Sefer Ben-Zion Luria: Studies in the Bible and the History of Israel Presented in Honor of his Seventieth Birthday (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Kiryat-Sepher, 1979), pp. 330–334. On the incense altar and burning of incense in the Temple, see for example Exodus 30:1–10 and 37:25–28; 1 Kings 6:20–22 and 7:48; and 2 Chronicles 26:16.


Seymour Gitin, “Altar—Form and Function,” American Schools of Oriental Research lecture, November 1995 (Philadelphia).


Milgrom, “Incense,” pp. 333–334. See Mishnah Zevahim 13.5–6; Tosefta Zevahim 12.4–5.


Milgrom, “Incense,” p. 334. Milgrom refers to Mishnah Zevahim 13.6 (“If he offered either the handful or the frankincense outside [the Temple Court], he is culpable. R. Eleazar declares him not culpable unless he offers the second also”); Tosefta Zevahim 12.4–5; Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 53a (“Our Rabbis taught: If one was walking outside the town and smelt the odour [of spices] … if the majority there are Israelites he does say a blessing. R. Jose says: Even if the majority are Israelites he does not say a blessing, because the daughters of Israel use incense for witchcraft. Do all of them use incense for witchcraft? Only a small part is for witchcraft”); Jerusalem Talmud Megillah 1.11 (“Antoninus asked Rabbi … What is the law as to preparing incense? He said to him, One of its herbs is lacking. Has it not been taught ‘And the incense which you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make it for yourselves; it shall be for you holy to the Lord’ [Exodus 30:37]? ‘For yourselves you shall not make it,’ but others may make it for you”); Avodah Zarah 4.4; and Tanhuma, Ahare Mot 14 (ed. Buber, Ahare Mot 9), which polemically interprets the incense burning of Malachi 1:11 as the minhah prayer (“R. Ammi asked R. Samuel bar Nahman: Is it correct that ‘in every place incense is offered to my name’ [Malachi 1:11]? … This is prayer of the minhah. Incense can only be the prayer of the minhah, since it stated ‘Let my prayer be set forth as incense before you’ [Psalm 141:2]”).


See Hershel Shanks, Judaism in Stone: The Archaeology of Ancient Synagogues (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 41 (mosaics from Jerash), 114 (Hamat Tiberias), 113 (Beth Alpha), 129 (Beth-Shean) as well as 66 (column capital from Capernaum—this synagogue is dated by different scholars to between 250 and 450 C.E.). These images may reflect temple symbolism as well as contemporary customs.