Qumran Cave 1 Questions, Part 6: 1QSa and 1QSb

As I continue to work through the Cave 1 scrolls to try to sort out the purchases from the excavated materials, I spent some time today with the lists of photographs in Tov and Pfann, Companion Volume to the Dead Sea Scrolls Microfiche Edition (2nd rev. ed; Leiden: Brill, 1995). One of the descriptions mentioning a series of photos caught my eye: “Qumran, cave 1 mss, from excavation, Feb. 15-Mar. 5, 1949”:

Tov and Pfann, Companion Volume to the Dead Sea Scrolls Microfiche Edition, p. 75

But after looking at most of these photos (the ones available online), I don’t think this description can be right. The detail “from excavation” and the 1949 dates seem to be (incorrect) extrapolations on the part of the editors. The handwritten photo log for these numbers is even more sparse:

Tov and Pfann, Companion Volume to the Dead Sea Scrolls Microfiche Edition, p. 156

To the right of the last of this sequence (040.077) is written simply, “M. Harding Dead Sea Scrolls.” The date, 4 March 1950, is clear. These are not excavation photos from 1949. The photos do, however, help to contribute to a solution to a mystery. This sequence of photographs seems to exclusively involve a well-defined set of manuscripts as follows:

PAM #Contents
40.0591Q28a (1QSa), bottom half of col. 1
40.0601Q28a (1QSa), bottom half of col. 2
40.061Image not online?
40.0621Q28a (1QSa), top half of col. 2
40.0631Q8 (1QIsab), frag. 3 and frag. 5
40.0641Q28b (1QSb), col. 4 and 1Q28a (1QSa), col. 1
40.0651Q8 (1QIsab), frag. 1
40.0661Q8 (1QIsab), frag. 4
40.067Image not online?
40.0681Q20 (1QapGen), frags. 2-5
40.0691Q28b (1QSb), col. 5
40.0701Q28b (1QSb), col. 1 and col. 5
40.0711Q28b (1QSb), cols. 2-4
40.0721Q20 (1QapGen), frag. 1
40.0731Q28b (1QSb), bottom of col. 3
40.0741Q20 (1QapGen), frags. 6-8
40.0751Q28b (1QSb), col. 1 and col. 5
40.0761Q28b (1QSb), col. 1, col. 4, and col. 5
40.0771Q28 (1QS title)

All of the items photographed in this sequence belong to 1Q8, 1Q20, and 1Q28, exactly the set of items singled out by the editors of DJD 1 as a discreet purchase:

“parmi les fragments édités ci-après, les ensembles nos. 8 (Isaïe), 20 (Apocalypse de Lamech), et 28 (Annexes à la Règle de la Communauté) ont été achetés à un marchand d’antiquités de Bethléem” (DJD 1, p. 43)

“Tous les fragments que nous groupons sous le n°. 28 appartiennent certainement au même ensemble que 1QS. En effet ils ont été vendus au Musée Palestinien en 1950 par le marchand d’antiquités de Bethléem en même temps que des fragments de ‘l’Apocalypse de Lamech’ (publiés ici sous le sigle 1Q20) et de l’Isaïe de l’Université Hébraïque = 1QIsb publiés ici sous le sigle 1Q8)” (DJD 1, p. 107)

So these items were bought by the museum from “the Bethlehem dealer” (Kando) in 1950. If the date in the photo log reproduced above is correct, then we have a terminus ante quem for this purchase: 4 March 1950. So, this is a small victory.

There is just one loose end that has been driving me nuts for the past couple weeks. In a footnote in The Untold Story of Qumran, Trever says the following in passing:

“A small piece of 1QSb (Col. II) also was sifted from the debris” (p. 203, note 2).

Trever is normally quite careful about this kind of thing, but I can’t find any corroborating evidence for this claim anywhere. And it’s already slightly suspect because Harding specifically said that the soil from Cave 1 was not sifted (“sieving was not possible,” DJD 1, p. 7). I’m not sure where Trever got this information. If anyone has any leads, I would be grateful to hear them.

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

8 Responses to Qumran Cave 1 Questions, Part 6: 1QSa and 1QSb

  1. Eibert Tigchelaar says:

    Interesting note by Trever! Good find.
    My general rule is not to believe all details of any report. It is extremely easy to overlook something or make an error, or misinterpret data (as in the example above). Therefore, de Vaux’s umbrella statement that “all” (les ensembles) 1Q8, 1Q20 and 1Q28 materials were bought, need not exclude Trever’s statement. But which fragment would that be? Here Stephen Reed’s catalogue might help. All 1Q28b materials seem to have been kept apart and photographed apart, not with excavated Cave 1 materials. The exceptions are: PAM 40.444, which contains fragments from 1Q5, 1Q16, 1Q19, as well as two fragments of 1Q28b (numbered 5 and 8 on PAM 40.444) which have been joined to the bottom of col. 3 frag. 6 (see DJD 1 plate XXVII the two dark pieces at the bottom of frag. 6). Now, either PAM 40.444 was constituted of various fragments which need special lighting or photographing because of their badly legible state, so that one put on this plate both excavated and bought materials, or these two pieces were amidst the excavated materials. Trever might have referred to col. ii since frag 6 includes the left of col. ii and the right of col. iii. I do not think PAM 40.444 proves or even corroborates Trever was right. It could, but the photograph might also have given rise to Trever’s assumption.
    The other photograph of 1Q28b with other material is PAM 40.521 where the most left fragment. though framed separately and thus physically separate from the 1Q28b fragments is from 1Q14.

  2. Corrado Martone says:

    What about a mistake “col II” for “col. V” and he’s speaking of the Brownlee fragment published by Brooke?

    • I think the Brooke fragment went from Mar Samuel to Brownlee to Trever. I don’t think there was a question of it having an origin with the de Vaux and Harding excavation.

  3. Trever might have been using the word “sift” in a generalized figurative sense (cf. OED sift v. 4b, to find out…) without meaning literal sieving. For example, also from his Untold Story (1965 ed. page 101, according to google book snippet–I’m away from my paper copy), and maybe note the non-physical sense use of “fragmentary”:
    “…many retellings, the fragmentary early published accounts concerning what transpired in the scroll story prior to February, 1948, have become legend. To gather the evidence and sift the often-contradictory information about those obscure…”

  4. Also, though Trever wanted to visit the cave he was prevented, so he was not an eyewitness, unlike Harding.

  5. A few minor details. John C. Trever’s The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Personal Account (a revised edition of his Untold Story of Qumran) was revised and printed in 1977. Then a third printing in 1988 (reprinted by Gorgias Press in 2003, unchanged, I think) added an errata list on page 8 and a few details in the chronology section on pp. 205-6, none of which settles the original blog question about Untold Story p. 203 n. 2, which is p. 231 n. 2 in the 1988 version.
    Without rereading the book, I guess Y. Albina and the PAM photo set (not always all available) play little direct explicit role in the book. Though note 2 apparently claims de Vaux and Harding excavated (‘’sifted,” whether literally or figuratively) a fragment of 1QSb, a highly-speculative option of mistake—not sure if this is possible—may be that others found it. The guano-affected soil inside the cave may have prevented sieving, but a dump (over-interpreting the word “debris”?) outside the cave might have dried–many ifs–and been where a scrap was found. Such dump finds have happened before. Or, more simply, he was told or inadvertently described something unreliable.

    • Thanks! If you are able to send along a pdf of the errata list, I would be grateful. I ordered a copy of the 1977 edition weeks ago, but mail from the UK and the US is taking a very long time to reach Norway these days.

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