Copper Scroll

            The Copper Scroll is unique among the Dead Sea Scrolls because of both its writing materials and its contents. The scroll, discovered in Cave 3 in 1952, was engraved on copper, unlike the rest of the Qumran corpus which was written with ink on leather or papyrus. It is not a literary text, but a “treasure map,” a list of locations where various precious items are buried or hidden. Those scholars who accept the scroll at face value have offered various suggestions for the sources of the treasures described by the scroll—Qumran community members, the Jerusalem Temple, the Jewish rebels under Bar Kokhba in 135 CE. Other scholars have expressed skepticism about the likelihood of any one group having possessed such incredible amounts of gold and silver, and they view the Copper Scroll as a fictitious representation of conventional folkloristic tales of hidden treasure.

            The scroll is currently on display at the Jordan Archaeological Museum in Amman. A new edition of the scroll, including French and English translations of the texts and digital photographs of the scroll itself, has recently been published:

            Le Rouleau de cuivre de la grotte 3 de Qumr?n (3Q15): Expertise—Restauration—Epigraphie (ed. Daniel Brizemeure, No?l Lacoudre, and ?mile Puech; 2 vols.; Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 55; Leiden: Brill, 2007).