Altar photo courtesy of the Schøyen Collection; photo montage by AURAS Design

ON THE COVER: A tiny object with a mysterious past, this bronze incense altar—probably from Qumran, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls—belongs to Norwegian collector Martin Schøyen. Schøyen also has several fragments of the scrolls, as well as thousands of other ancient manuscripts from around the world, including examples of the oldest writing from the Near and Far East. BAR editor Hershel Shanks interviewed Schøyen at his home near Oslo, Norway, and profiles the man and his collection in “Scrolls, Scripts and Stelae.” And in “Rare Incense Altar Raises Burning Questions,” Torleif Elgvin tries to unravel the mystery of who may have made and used the incense altar.