W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

2017-2018 Sherman Graduate Resident Michael Brooks Johnson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University and a George A. Barton Fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, will be hosting a workshop on Thursday, January 25th at 4:00 pm at the Albright Institute. For those unable to attend  but would like to learn more about Michael’s innovative research,  you can do so by viewing the workshop live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW_ofhJ-1Hk

A colorized visualization of the rolled reconstruction of 1QM, courtesy of Michael Brooks Johnson

Wrapping Up 1QM: A Scrolling Three-Dimensional Model of the War Scroll

This workshop presents a scrollable digital reconstruction of 1QM, the War Scroll from Cave 1 at Qumran. The majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls require some degree of material reconstruction—the arrangement of the remains of a manuscript in what are proposed to be their original places. One of the techniques for reconstructing scrolls, the Stegemann Method, named after Hartmut Stegemann, involves reconstructing a manuscript with reference to the patterns of damage that were incurred by a scroll while it was rolled. The principle of repeating patterns of damage can be used to calculate the distance between fragments. One of the challenges in this kind of reconstruction is that the perception of damages is difficult to visualize in a conventional edition. Johnson will explain how digital modeling can supplement arguments for the material reconstruction of scrolls by demonstrating how patterns of damage align when the reconstruction is rolled. Digital models can also be used to evaluate the feasibility of competing proposals for the placement of fragments. As an example, Johnson will discuss how the model of 1QM sheds light on the manuscript’s last major material debate, the placement of the fragments that constitute col. 19. This column contains a recension of a hymn found in col. 12, which has led Hanan and Esther Eshel to suggest that it may belong to a different manuscript. This workshop offers the model of 1QM as a proof of concept for the use of scrolling digital models both in the process of reconstructing Dead Sea Scrolls and in visualizing arguments for the placement of fragments.

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