The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
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More About This Title The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls


The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the most interesting and important archaeological discoveries ever made, and the excavation of the Qumran community itself has provided invaluable information about Judaism and the Jewish world in the last centuries B.C.E.

Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, the Qumran site continues to be the object of intense scholarly debate. In a book meant to introduce general readers to this fascinating area of study, veteran archaeologist Jodi Magness here provides an overview of the archaeology of Qumran and presents an exciting new interpretation of this ancient community based on information found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other contemporary documents.

Magness's work offers a number of fresh conclusions concerning life at Qumran. She agrees that Qumran was a sectarian settlement but rejects other unconventional views, including the view that Qumran was a villa rustica or manor house. By carefully analyzing the published information on Qumran, she refines the site's chronology, reinterprets the purpose of some of its rooms, and reexamines the archaeological evidence for the presence of women and children in the settlement. Numerous photos and diagrams give readers a firsthand look at the site.

Written with an expert's insight yet with a journalist's spunk, this engaging book is sure to reinvigorate discussion of this monumental archaeological find.


Jodi Magness is Kenan Distinguished Professor forTeachingExcellence in Early Judaism at the University of NorthCarolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to Qumran and the DeadSea Scrolls, her research interests include ancientpottery, ancient synagogues, and the Roman army in theEast, and she has published and lectured extensively onthese subjects. She has participated in twenty differentexcavations in Israel and Greece, including serving ascodirector of the 1995 excavations in the Roman siegeworksat Masada. Her works include the award-winning booksThe Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead SeaScrollsand The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement inPalestine.


Biblical Archaeology SocietyPublication Award for Best Popular Book on Archaeology (2003)
Choice MagazineOutstanding Academic Book (2003)

"The latest and best discussion of Qumran. . . This book is essential reading for specialists and general readers alike."

Harper's Magazine
"An admirably clear and concise progress report on what is known about this spectacular discovery."

"There's plenty of life left in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as amply demonstrated in this superb volume. . . A work of wide appeal."

Magen Broshi
"In the half century since Roland de Vaux excavated Qumran, the most important contributions to its archaeology have undoubtedly been made by Jodi Magness. Her erudite, painstaking, and levelheaded research has solved many of its problems. This book of hers is at once a first-rate scholarly work and a delightful read."

Lawrence H. Schiffman
"This book represents the most up-to-date study of the archaeological evidence from Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Jodi Magness has reexamined the archaeological record in great detail and has made judicious use of textual and historical sources to provide a sustained analysis of the highest quality. Finally we have a new study by a highly qualified archaeologist that will put to rest much of the amateurish discussion that surrounds Qumran while also making available to experts the material they need to debate the scholarly issues."

Emanuel Tov
"This volume offers an excellent analysis of the most burning questions related to the archaeology of Qumran and the neighboring sites, and it suggests well-considered and original answers. Written in an extremely attractive way, with both specialists and nonspecialists in mind, it whets the appetite for further study. The illustrations and indexes add much to the clarity of the discussion."

Eugene Ulrich
"Jodi Magness here provides the most up-to-date and balanced archaeological profile of the site connected with the Dead Sea Scrolls. With numerous theories floating around, it is refreshing to have available at last a well-researched analysis that is as well-written as it is authoritative. The nonspecialist will find this book easily readable, with all terms clearly explained, while the specialist will find a solid, comprehensive analysis such as we have long desired. "

James C. VanderKam
"In The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls Jodi Magness, the authority on Qumran archaeology, has supplied her most extended statement on the subject. Her analyses of the material evidence and the relevant literary sources are both definitive and a pleasure to read."

Geza Vermes
"A very learned, sensible, and readable account of Qumran archaeology written by a recognized expert. It will be a most welcome addition to the essential literature on the Dead Sea Scrolls."