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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:4, Winter 2022

What Is It?

1. Sandal strap

2. Placemat

3. Belt buckle

4. Mask

5. Scroll fastener

Answer: 5 Scroll fastener

The leather tab would have been used in tandem with a thong to fasten a scroll. Tabs were attached to the edges of scrolls, as in the image at right. Then, thongs were wrapped around the rolled scrolls and inserted through the slotted tabs to secure them.

Dating from the first centuries B.C.E./C.E., the leather tab came from Qumran. Although it was not found secured to a scroll, it testifies to scribal activity at the site—as does the first-century scroll fragment, shown here, which records the Prayer for King Jonathan and comes from Qumran’s Cave 4.

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