Basketry and Cordage

Basketry and cordage represent major types of perishable finds retrieved in this arid part of Israel. The basketry fragments on display are made of date palm leaves, a material convenient for making baskets and mats. Reconstruction of weaving or plaiting techniques is possible because of the exceptional conditions inside the caves of the Dead Sea region. The technique used is a type of plaiting that was popular during Roman times and remained in favor through the following centuries; a variant is still used in the Near East today. Basketry was probably very common, as it is to this day, in various household activities. However, in times of need, baskets and mats also served for collecting and wrapping the bones and skulls of the dead.

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.