Biblical Archaeology Review 30:6, November/December 2004


Almost 40 years after the end of the excavation of the settlement at Qumran, adjacent to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, the first volume of a projected multi-volume “final” report appeared. Unfortunately this long delay is not at all rare in Palestinian archaeology. The first volume of the “final” report consisted of the field notes of the excavation, in French, by Roland de Vaux, and an album of photographs.1 This was nevertheless a most welcome contribution to the study of a site that produced the most important finds ever discovered in the Holy Land and one of the most important in world archaeology.

A few years later a German translation of the first volume was issued, without the expensive photograph album but with very useful detailed indices (no less than 114 pages) and a careful digest of the rich information in the book.2 Then followed an English version (also without the photograph album)3 which is, to quote J.B. Humbert, the editor of the original edition, “clearer than the French original in significant places.”

Now we have the second volume of the final report, but it is not exactly what we expected. Very little of the actual finds from Qumran are presented here. Instead we are treated to an effort to bring the latest scientific techniques to bear on the archaeological evidence.

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