a Qumran Textile under our Noses   2 comments

I was planning to meet my supervisor, Prof. Joan E. Taylor, at Waterstones cafe in Cambridge. When I arrived she called me and said she will be late. Ten minutes later, she came with an unmistakable look of excitement on her face. As part of her Leverhulme project, Taylor is tracking the lost monuments and fragments from Qumran caves that went missing after their disovery… it sounds like a Sherlock Holmes stuff. Anyway… here’s what she found:

“Interesting visit to the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology yesterday. Found another Qumran Cave 1Q textile. They didn’t know they had it – miscatalogued as ‘prehistoric’ – but a letter from Harding located by curator Imogen Gunn clinched it that this was indeed donated to the museum. Love this sleuthing. All part of the Leverhulme Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Sources network project. We’ll be creating a website soon so that all this material can be assembled together for future researchers.”


So, after sharing a celebratory brownie and discussing my boring dissertation, we left with more questions regarding this long lost piece and what else could be found, not in Jordan or anywhere in the Middle East, but in Cambridge or Oxford… and why they were lost!

I guess there will be investigations of old letters and documents… and more exciting chapters in the story of each found piece through this project.


[Photo is a courtesy of this profile]


Posted August 11, 2016 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized

2 responses to “a Qumran Textile under our Noses

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  1. Dear Minas

    It was good to hear about Joan’s enthusiasm about fabric material catalogued as prehistoric in Cambridge, but really not so as it was found in the Judean desert at Qumran. Such fabric material could tell a real story. I can’t help feeling that archaeological finds take us a step closer to reality than most texts from around the same period. But the texts from the Judean desert are somewhat different in that they have not been interfered with for 2000 years.

    I wonder what Joan thinks about another archaeological find, the copper scroll. When does she think it was inscribed? Do you know?

  2. Two professionals, de Vaux and Harding, made light of the Copper Scroll, a genuine autograph. (Page 126 of Golb’s book Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls). In 1956 they wrote an official statement from Jerusalem about the Copper Scroll. Dupont-Sommer received that statement in London and subsequently wrote: “At all events, this guide to hidden treasure is the most ancient document of its kind to have been found, and is of interest to the historian of folklore”. (Page 121 of Golb’s book).

    Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson would be very interested in solving this mystery. Harding seems to have been somewhat unreliable in the way he handled stuff.

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