chapter  11
16 Pages


ByJodi Magness

There is perhaps no more distinctive artifact associated with Qumran than the cylindrical jars which reportedly contained the first scrolls discovered in Cave 1 (and which are therefore sometimes called “scroll jars”). According to one account of the initial discovery, when the Bedouins first entered Cave 1, they discovered a row of these jars covered with bowl-shaped lids. Most of the jars were empty, but one contained three scrolls, two of which were wrapped in linen (VanderKam 1994: 3). The cylindrical jars in which the first scrolls discovered in Cave 1 were reportedly stored are virtually unique to Qumran and the nearby caves. In this chapter, I suggest that these jars were designed for the purpose of storing the pure food and drink of the sect and other objects with a high degree of ritual purity (such as scrolls).