Caves 7Q-10Q

Written by Michael Moore

March 31, 2008

Cave 7Q

Figures: II, XXXI

In 1955 a team of workers undertook the task to examine the entire perimeter of the marl terrace which supports the khirbeh in order to determine if there were other caves that had been into the marl as was the case for caves 4 and 5.

This laborious task led to the recognition of a cave whose excavation was not carried out since the layers were too loose in that location and four caves which had been inhabited but whose major part had collapsed into the ravine: of which all that remained is the access stairway or part of the chamber. Just the same some things survived, including some potsherds and the remnants of baskets, of cloth or of leather, some remains, occasionally … , inscribed documents. The caves received the sigla for caves which contain manuscripts in the region of Qumran: 7Q through 10Q.

7Q – At the far end of the esplanade that extends southward from the Khirbeh and rises above the Wadi Qumran. The pottery is connected with period 1b; a jar carries the name amor twice painted in black ink. We collected Greek papyrus fragments of the the Book of Exodus and of the Letter of Jeremiah and a small leather fragment written in Hebrew.

M. BAILLET, J. T. MILIK and R. DE VAUX, The ‘Small Caves of Qumran’, DJD III Texts (Oxford, 1962) p. 27.

Objects of cave 7Q.

Gr 7Q-1: inscribed potsherd. Gr 7Q-2: bowl. Gr. 7 Q-3: bowl. Gr 7Q-4: lid. Gr 7Q-5: jar. Gr 7Q-6: inscribed jar. Gr 7Q-7: inscribed potsherd. Gr 7Q-8: jar.

Cave 8Q

Figures: II, XXXI

8Q – Adjacent to the preceding cave. Some fragments of a molded lamp of the 1st century CE. Two phylactery holder with four compartments an one holder with only one case. One fragment of a phylactery and numerous small rolled documents bearing a very fine script.

M. BAILLET, J. T. MILIK and R. DE VAUX, The ‘Small Caves of Qumran’, DJD III Texts (Oxford, 1962) p. 30.

Objects of cave 8Q.

Gr 8Q-1: dates. Gr 8Q-2: box and leather objects. Gr 8Q-3: hide. Gr 8Q-4: fabric twine. Gr 8Q-5: two phylactery cases. Gr 8Q-6: phylactery case. Gr 8Q-7: lid. Gr 8Q-8: plate. Gr 8Q-9: lid. Gr 8Q-10: sole of leather sandal. Gr 8Q-11: lid. Gr 8Q-12: lamp. Gr 8Q-13. lid. Gr 8Q-14: upper part of jar.

Cave 9Q

Photograph of 9Q in the album: 435

Figures: II, XXXI

M. BAILLET, J. T. MILIK AND R. DE VAUX, The ‘Small Caves of Qumran’, DJD III Texts (Oxford, 1962) p. 31.

9Q – Connected with the preceding cave at a slightly higher level. A single papyrus fragment with a few Hebrew leters.

Objects of cave 9Q.

Gr 9Q-1: dates and pits. Gr 9Q-2: three fragments of cord.

Cave 10Q

Figures: II, XXXI

10Q – To the west of Qumran on the western face of the promentory into which cave 4 is cut. Some potsherds, fragments of a mat. An ostracon carries two Hebrew letters.

Objects of cave 10Q.

Gr 10Q-1: inscribed potsherd. Gr 10Q-2: fragment of a large mat. Gr 10Q-3: fragment of a lamp.

The research therefore has been somewhat productive. At the very least we have ascertained that the immediate vicinity of the khirbeh doesn’t conceal more caves that might contain stores of manuscripts comparable to those preserved in cave 4. We have also learned that there were other caves than caves 5 and 4 which were hewn into the marl terrace and which had contained manuscripts. These caves had collapsed down into the ravine. The pottery of cave 7 suggests that it collapsed at the time of the earthquake, but the lamp from cave 8 indicates that it was still inhabited during period II. We will still have to be left in suspense; the destruction may also have been due to later collapses or simply a process of gradual erosion.

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