The Project Group is a consortium of people who wish to conduct a full archaeological exploration of certain man-made tunnels in the Judean wilderness and specific areas of Qumran. It may come as a surprise to most readers, but the Dead Sea Scrolls were found merely by entering some of the caves and looking around. If something was buried beneath the surface, or not immediately visible, the cave was ignored. The things that were found using this simple approach were earth shaking, and the world is still cataloging and digesting the information contained in the numerous scrolls discovered over 60 years ago. Only last year, more scroll material was found, the first such discovery since those made decades before.
There are other things too, mentioned in ancient texts such as the book of Maccabim 2, chapter 2, verse 1. Jeremiah the prophet and those with him descended from Jerusalem heading toward Har Nevo (Mount Nebo) and the Dead Sea Valley. They brought with them the Mishkan, the Ark, the Tabernacle and the Altar of Incense. Along the way they found a cave where they hid the aforementioned items, then closed the opening to the cave. The possibility of finding these things in the area of Qumran or the surrounding Judean Desert is inspiring.
Our motivation is academic. The team consists of a core group of individuals mentioned on the home page, but many more from a variety of backgrounds. Each brings to the table his or her unique perspective, along with their area of expertise. We do everything according to the book and our work is subject to oversight by the proper authorities.
Our founder and one of our advisors is David Ben Avraham who has worked with numerous archaeologists in Israel. David is an avid student of ancient history and the evolution of religious belief, some of which is applied to the projects being advanced. Our managing director is Shlomo Pilo, who has had management experience in both Israel and the U.S. His area of expertise extends beyond mere management and includes among other things the skills required to effectively communicate project goals and assemble the necessary individuals with the qualifications to engage in projects of this magnitude. Our lead archaeologist is Dr. Oren Gutfeld, of Hebrew University. Dr. Gutfeld has made so many contributions to archaeology that it would be impossible to list them all, but they include the recent scroll discovery in cave #53 at Qumran. Other items included the material for writing them and jars for storing them. Remote sensing is performed by Dr. Uri Basson at GeoSense. GeoSense is not only a project sponsor, but Dr. Basson has developed new forms of remote sensing that are considerably more advanced than the technology currently available. Media is handled by Zvika Kornfeld and Jim Long. Both have numerous film credits to their name. In addition to his own film accomplishments, Jim has produced segments for the BBC and Zvika was the founder of the Israel Defense Force’s cinematography division, making over 600 documentaries during his career. Our people volunteer their time so that 100% of the contributions QCP receives goes directly toward excavation expenses.
In addition to the core group mentioned above, we work with other archaeologists, geologists, and experts in a variety of professional fields or scientific disciplines. We are continually looking for good people who wish to help, and inquires are welcome.
The Teomot Cave Complex: 1967
and the Mystery of the Judean Man-Made Tunnels