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The Archaeology of Khirbet Qumran

The major excavations of Khirbet Qumran were performed under the leadership of Roland De Vaux, who completed the investigation of the site in five seasons between 1951 and 1956. De Vaux never published a final report; though he did publish a semi-popular work on the archaeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls that described what became the consensus view of the site. While his work remains invaluable, a number of books on the archaeology of Khirbet Qumran have been published in recent years, some of them challenging the consensus view.

  • Archaeology of QumranJodi Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdmans, 2003). An excellent, readable, and up-to-date discussion of the archaeology of Khirbet Qumran. If you were to purchase only one book on the subject, this should be it. Highly recommended. Buy from | Buy from
  • Jodi Magness, Debating Qumran: Collected Essays on Its Archaeology (Peeters, 2004). This is a collection of essays by Magness on the archaeology of Khirbet Qumran. Buy from | Buy from
  • Roland de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford University Press, 1973). Written by the director of the archeological dig at Qumran, this remains the standard work. Based on his Schweich lectures of the British Academy. Buy from | Buy from
  • Stephen Pfann, Excavations of Khirbet Qumran and Ain Feshkha: Synthesis of Roland de Vaux's Field Notes, Revised English edition (NTOASA 1B; Edited by Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Alain Chambon; Academic Press Fribourg, 2003). This is an English translation and revision of Fouilles de Khirbet Qumrân et de Aïn Feshkha. More than simply a translation of the French Synthesis, this work goes back to the original notes by de Vaux himself and offers important corrections to the French version. Buy from | Buy from
  • Yizhar Hirschfeld, Qumran in Context: Reassessing the Archaeological Evidence (Hendrickson, 2004). A controversial reassessment of the archaeological evidence of Qumran and other sites on the western shore of the Dead Sea. In contrast to de Vaux and Magness, Hirschfeld argues that Qumran is not the site of an Essene community responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, but an estate or "manor house" of an influential member of society. An interesting, if not persuasive, read. Buy from | Buy from
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 12:45