Qumran Cave 1 Questions, Part 5: The Strange Case of 1Q5 Fragment 13

1Q5 is a collection of dozens of fragments reassembled into 20 or so more substantial fragments representing one of two copies of the book of Deuteronomy associated with Cave 1 (1QDeutb). The fragments of 1Q5 were edited in DJD 1 in 1955. My interest is with the piece the editors labelled fragment 13. Its history is a little complicated.

The editors make the following remarks about the provenance(s) of the different parts of fragment 13: “The fragments published in the Appendix as well as the central part of f. 5 13 are the remains of the clandestine prospecting of the Syrians (les restes de la prospection clandestine des Syriens)” (p. 43). So, the “central part” of fragment 13 of 1Q5 belonged to a purchase that the editors here associate with the items published in the Appendix to DJD 1 (1Q71, 1Q72, 1Q19bis, 1Q34bis, 1Q70bis), which are the pieces that were at that time in the possession of Mar Samuel in the United States. Those pieces were said to have been acquired by George Isha’ya around August 1948. The editors add in a footnote that two small parts of fragment 13 of 1Q5 were excavated at Cave 1 by de Vaux’s team: “The fact that f. 5 13 could be completed by two small fragments from the excavation of February-March 1949 provides an additional argument for the identical origin for the various lots (Le fait que le f. 5 13 ait pu être complété par deux petits fragments provenant de la fouille de février-mars 1949 apporte un argument de plus à l’identité d’origine de ces divers lots).” This all seems straightforward, but there are a couple problems.

First, the Mar Samuel items in DJD 1 were published without photographs (because the pieces were in the US), but DJD 1 does include a photograph of 1Q5 fragment 13. Second, John Trever, who later published photos of the Mar Samuel fragments, doesn’t mention any bits of Deuteronomy in that context. In his popular account of the discovery of the Scrolls, however, Trever does provide some information on this topic, but it complicates the picture. Trever twice mentions the purchased Cave 1 Deuteronomy fragment. The first time he does so, he associates it with a different purchase, the 1950 lot bought by the Palestine Archaeological Museum from Kando that included 1Q8, 1Q20, and 1Q28:

“The story of [director of the Palestine Archeological Museum Yusuf] Saad’s efforts to make the acquaintance of Kando, and finally (in 1950) to secure the mass of fragments which the cobbler and his associates had dug from the cave, reads like a Sherlock Holmes detective adventure. It was then that fragments of the Hebrew University Isaiah Scroll (1QIsb), some from the “Genesis Apocryphon” (1Q20, now 1QApoc), several large pieces (including two almost-complete columns) from the Manual of Discipline (1QS) and some fragments of a scroll of Deuteronomy (1QDeutb) were secured for the Department of Antiquities, but only after payment of the large sum of £P1,000 ($2,800)” (Trever, The Untold Story, p. 146)

So, here the fragment is part of the 1950 purchase. But again, there is a problem. Harding had already written about the purchased fragment in an article in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly that was published in 1949. He wrote, “Some other fragments in the square script, which have been acquired from an outside source, are of the book of Deuteronomy.” That he is referring to our piece seems clear from the accompanying photograph (which is reproduced below). So what is going on? Trever’s second statement about the Deuteronomy fragment might provide a clue:

“The excavators…also found small pieces of the larger Deuteronomy fragment, part of which was reported to have come from Isha’ya and part from Kando” (Trever, The Untold Story, p. 203, note 2).

So, here it seems like we have three sources for the fragment: de Vaux’s excavation, and two separate purchases, one from George Isha’ya and one from Kando. It may be possible to get a better sense of things by comparing photographs. We can begin with the fragment as published in DJD 1, plate X (published in 1955):

DJD 1, plate X

The image looks composite, with a couple pieces added in (identified here with small red arrows). Might these be the pieces excavated by de Vaux? Compare this image to PAM 40.531 taken in 1953, in which our piece is framed together with 1Q5 fragment 8 (top left) and 1Q33 (top right), the fragment of Sukenik’s War Scroll found by the excavators in Cave 1.

Image source: PAM 40.531

Notice the absence of the two smaller fragments that are present in the published plate and the clearly different (lighter) color of the large fragment on the right. Now compare both these photos with the image Harding published in 1949, which again has something of a composite look about it.

Image source: Gerald Lankester Harding, “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” PEQ 81 (1949), 112-116, figure 3

To me, this image looks like it has three main pieces, left (made of several fragments), center, and right (again, a slightly different color). So, is it the case that this whole piece was bought in 1949? Or was only the “central part” bought and the other parts excavated? (in which case, where did the small “extra” fragments in plate published in DJD 1 come from? excavation? another purchase?) But to confuse matters more, the editors of DJD 1 make it seem as if this image was one of Harding’s photographs of excavated fragments: “During the excavation, Mr. Harding took photos of all the finds (de tout le lot trouvé). That of f. 5 13 was published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly (lxxxi, 1949, pl. XX. 3).” So, it is unclear whether this image is showing an excavated piece, a purchased piece, or some combination of the two. If anyone knows the full story of this fragment, I would be grateful to learn it.

In any event, it is interesting to see that the Museum was already purchasing fragments in 1949 and apparently in the early part of the year.

This entry was posted in Antiquities Market, Archaeological context, Dead Sea Scrolls, Khalil Eskander Shahin (Kando). Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Qumran Cave 1 Questions, Part 5: The Strange Case of 1Q5 Fragment 13

  1. Corrado Martone says:

    My two cents (I’m afraid I won’t give any answer to your questions, though): Whatever their provenance, it would seem that the two smaller fragments (or at least one of them) have not been immediately identified as part of the larger frag. 13. The upper fragment is to be found in PAM 40.516, the lower one in PAM 40.506, both taken on April 1953. It is interesting to note that the available lists of contents of the PAM photos correctly report the presence of 1Q5 frag 13 in PAM 40.506, but not, to the best of my knowledge, in PAM 40.516. The apparent scribal error עמנים in 1Q5 12–13i 2 for TM עמנו עמד in Dt 29:14 is likely to have delayed the identification (that might be worth a reconsideration).

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