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orion Status quo of Qumran archaeology

To anyone interested in the state of affairs in Qumran archaeology,

Recent interchanges on web have led me to realize that some
clarification is needed concerning the state of affairs concerning the
storing, recording and publication of the materials excavated at Qumran.

De Vaux's excavation and recording methods represents the state of the
art for archaeology during his day. His methodology was sound and,
contrary to recent suspicions, his recording was dispassionately
methodical.  The statistics to be drawn from object catalogues are
uninfluenced by his personal assessment of the site of Qumran.

De Vaux's personal notes on the excavation have been synthesized and
published. (There's scarcely anything beyond what has already been
published in the Revue Biblique, the Schweich Lectures volume and the
recent publication by Jean Baptiste Humbert)

The objects among the material remains were recorded by each of four
cross checked methods. (on locus sheets, cards, objects catalogues and
museum inventory). Most of these objects have been published already in
the Revue Biblique articles and the Brill microfiche edition of the
Deads Sea Scrolls. Several "final volumes" on the objects are steadily
moving toward publication. 

That the majority of the coins cannot be located is true. However, the
collection was analyzed by one of the bes numismatists of the day
(August Spijkerman) and the identification and data of each coin were
recorded on cards (before the coins were missing).

De Vaux, for the most part, collected and saved only those bones of
diagnostic significance from the graves. The confessedly mixed and
unsettled state of the bones from the first exploratory 1951 season led
to their need to be reasessed by a second specialist (after the initial
note in RB). More care was taken in the collecting and recording of the
bones from graves in all subsequent seasons of excavation.

Much will be clarified in the forthcoming English (annotated edition) of
the excavator's notes. 

Concerning the history of the excavations/publications and the
additional data that will be made available through forthcoming English
edition go to:


In appreciation for your continued interest in our work.

Stephen Pfann