About the Center
 Research Scholarships
 Orion in the Press
 Search the site
 Contact us
 Greenfield Seminar
 Discussion Hour
The Orion Center at the World Congress of Jewish Studies
 Past Programs
 Current Biblio
 Bibliography Search New!!
 Newly Published Texts
 Orion Publications
 DJD List
 Brill Publications on the Dead Sea Scrolls
 Revue de Qumrân
 Dead Sea Scrolls on Line
 Cave Tour
 About the Scrolls
 Scrolls in the News
 Email archives
 Author Index
 Scholarly Articles on Line
 Outside Links
 Rock Inscriptions Database
 Orion Center Library
 Israel Museum Scrolls Collection
 Upcoming Symposium
 Most Recent Symposium
 Symposium Gallery
 Past Symposia
 Conferences and Lectures
 Calls for Papers
 Fellowships and Study Opportunities
 Job and Volunteer opportunities
The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature
Map / Home  


These photographs were taken by Dr. Yizhar Hirshfeld (Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) for a research project funded by a grant from the Orion Center. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view the enlargement.

[The following is an excerpt from an abstract of Dr. Hirshfeld's lecture, "Recent Discoveries in the Archaeology of Qumran," in the Greenfield Seminar Series on March 19, 1998]

The part of Qumran which is most similar to the other sites is the main building. The dominant feature of the main building is the tower in the northwestern corner of the courtyard. The main building was probably the pars urbana, that is, the living quarters of the site. The surrounding wings were the pars rustica, the industrial area of the site. The water supply system of Qumran was capable of collecting 1,127 cubic m of water. This is a considerable amount of water, but not unusual in comparison to the quantities that were collected at other desert fortresses in the region. The number of ritual baths is not exceptional relative to the number discovered at other sites in Judaea.

The site of Qumran does not appear to have been a center for the people living in the nearby caves. A systematic survey of the caves has demonstrated that they were used for hiding objects, not for permanent inhabitation. On the other hand, the site does not appear to be a fortress either. The tower surrounded by a glacis made the site defensible, but the living quarters, featuring several entrances and irregular construction, were characteristic of a civilian complex. The industrial installations and the nearby tracts of work land prove that the principal occupation of the inhabitants was agriculture and agricultural processing. The integration of these elements--the tower, living quarters and installations--indicates that Qumran functioned as a fortified manor house.