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.