Cordage was made from materials indigenous to this region: palm leaves, palm fibers, and rushes. Cords had various uses as packaging and reinforcing material and as handles for baskets.
Palm leaves First century B.C.E.-first century C.E.
11Q Fragment A: Length 26 cm (10 1/8 in.) Width 16.5 cm (6 1/2 in.) Fragment B: Length 21.2 cm (8 1/4 in.) Width 19.5 cm (7 5/8 in.) Four courses preserved Technique: Braid of 13 elements in 2/2 twill plaiting Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority (77, 78)Because of the exceptional conditions inside the caves of the Dead Sea region, several baskets and mats of plaited weave survived intact, allowing the reconstruction of weaving or plaiting techniques. The Qumran plaited basket is made of a single braid ("zefira" in Mishnaic terms) composed of several elements (qala`ot) and spiraling from base to rim. The coiled braid was not sewn together; instead, successive courses were joined around cords as the weaving progressed. In a complete basket the cords are not visible, but they form horizontal ridges and a ribbed texture. Each basket had two arched handles made of palm-fiber rope attached to the rims by passing reinforcing cords through the plaited body of the basket.
Palm leaves, palm fibers, and rushes. First century B.C.E.-first century C.E.
The cordage on display represents binding materials of varying thickness and use. Fragment A may have functioned as a ridge or reinforcing cord. Fragments B-D are heavier cords and may have been used in packaging or to tie bundles and waterskins. Fragment E (image not available for online exhibit) is a detached handle.
Fragment A: Cord Palm leaves 1Q and 2Q Diameter 3 mm (1/8 in.) Technique: 2-ply cable, final twist in "S" direction (z2s) Fragments B-D: Ropes Palm leaves and undeterimined rushes Diameter 7-10 mm (1/4-7/16 in.) Technique: 3-ply cable, final twist "Z" (s3z); one rope has an overhand knot Fragment E: (image not available for online exhibit) Heavy Rope Diameter 15-20 mm (5/8-13/16 in.) Technique: Compound 3-ply cable, final twist "Z" (z3s3z) Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority (79-83)