The Schoyen Collection MS 1653/2

The latest inkwell from Qumran, brought to public attention for the first time in this article, was actually one of the first discovered at the Judean Desert outpost. Uncovered by Bedouin around 1950, before archaeologists began excavations at the site, this unusually beautiful bronze inkwell was sold by the Bethlehem antiquities dealer Kando to a Norwegian collector who has made it available for scientific study.

With a rounded pot, pedestal base and folding, basket-type handles, the inkwell, measuring about 3 inches (8 cm) high by 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter, differs in shape from the other four—possibly five—other inkwells from Qumran. The “new” inkwell bolsters the identification of Qumran as the residence of prolific writers and scribes.