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Subject: Conference on scrolls

Conference on scrolls

From: Michael Maggen <maggen<-a>
Date: Sunday, May 15, 2005
Bio- and Material Culture Meeting at Qumran
May 22-23, 2005

For more details please see

A group of the Hebrew University scientists has been involved the
last ten years in the analysis of museum and archaeological
specimens. The group cooperates with other units within the Medical
Faculty including the The Department of Parasitology with Dr. Chuck
Greenblatt and Dr. Gila Kahila and Dr. Mark Spigelman, the School of
Dentistry with Dr. Pat Smith and Dr. Marina Faerman, the Department
of Hematology with Dr. Ariella Oppenheim and Dr. Otniel Dror, a
Lecturer in the History of Medicine.

Dr. Jan Gunneweg, senior scientist of the former Archaeometry Unit
of the Hebrew University has been closely working with the group on
the provenance of ceramics by neutron activation and lately on the
identification of textiles and pigments found at Qumran. He also
send pottery and textiles to thermoluminescense and carbon 14
dating, respectively.

The parchment work brought us into an European network dedicated to
the preservation of ancient leather and parchments. Twenty Israelis,
including the ones mentioned above participated at Prague including
Dr. Adolfo Roitman, Curator of the Shrine of the Book, and Michael
Magen to present the Israeli work on the Scrolls. The parchment work
soon led to our inclusion in a larger network for the
non-destructive analysis of museum objects (European Cooperation in
the field of Scientific and Technical research - COST ACTION G8).

Dr. Jan Gunneweg, Senior member of the former archaeometry unit at
the Hebrew University was appointed as the Israeli delegate to the
program. Through it he has been able to carry out major studies
using neutron activation, SEM and ion beam analysis of ceramics and
textiles of Qumran. This has now been published as a major work on
Qumran. Somewhat later Prof. Chck Greenblatt was appointed as
Israel's second delegate to COST. We have been able to bring in four
other Israelis; one in forensics (Azriel Gorski), one in CT-X-ray
analysis (Nahum Applebaum), a third whose expertise is in the
weathering of ancient buildings (Irena Wasserman), and the fourth
Orit Shamir of the Israel Antiquity Authority was sent to special
training apprenticeship in Belgium with Raman Spectroscopy. Mark
Spigelman has strengthened our capacity with major studies in

In January of 2004, Gunneweg and Greenblatt were invited to Malta
and were gratified when their presentation of a program for Qumran
was chosen as a working group that implies to carry out a workshop
where Israeli scientists and conservators can talk with leading
scientists and conservators of Europe.

This COST workshop will take place under the sponsorship of the
Hebrew University, Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book and the
Israel Antiquities Authority.

Twenty-five or more international specialists in scientific
analysis, conservation, museum exhibition development, etc. will be
present. In discussions with representatives of the Hebrew
University, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Museum and
the Shrine of the Book, it was concluded that this event could help
us establish in Israel a center for the scientific study,
conservation, and the development of research and educational
programs dealing with our cultural heritage especially geared to
Qumran research. This should certainly involve these four sponsors,
and possibly the Weizmann Institute.

Other than high school programs, already underway, a major
educational function of such a Center would be a course based on the
strength of Israeli archaeology (Modern Science and Archaeological
Sites) for local and overseas students. We plan to include lectures,
fieldwork and laboratory work as part of the course and are
delighted that the Israel Museum is interested in the area of
conservation as well as for site visits demonstrating the exhibition
of antiquities. A research center is envisaged with certain basic
equipment and perform "triage" of bio- and material culture for
scientific study in various laboratories in Israel. In cases where
our expertise is lacking, various European laboratories could be
called upon for help.

The COST Action G8 might provide ample connections for such

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:54
                   Distributed: Friday, May 20, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-54-013
Received on Sunday, 15 May, 2005

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