When 1951 began no one in Jerusalem could possibly have imagined all that was to happen during the coming months. From 21 January to 3 March 1952 Gerald Lankester Harding and Father Roland de Vaux interrupted their excavations at Qumran to search the caves at Wadi Murabba'at. De Vaux and Harding found in the caves large quantities of cloth, basket work, ropes, and (Cave) 2 contained the greater quantity of leather and papyrus fragments inscribed in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. But the artifacts and documents were noticeably different from those found near Qumran. Most of the documents were from the early second century AD, among them a Greek marriage contract from the seventh year of Hadrian, AD 124, fragments from biblical books, and documents from &t;Simeon ben Kosibah, Prince of Israel&t; (also Simeon bar Kochba), in Hebrew.
Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries and publication quickened as the New Year of 1952 began and surprises were to continue unabated throughout the year. Four new caves were found at Qumran, there were more unexpected finds in the caves of Wadi Murabba'at. Many of the records covering the next years come from letters written between the various scholars involved with the scrolls. This chapter summarizes some letters and reproduces others in whole or in part. The purpose of reproducing the letters in the chapter is multifaceted. These are documents written &t;at the moment.&t; They show the state of mind of the various actors on the scrolls scene as it was then. The intent is to give the flavor of the dynamics of the scholars, how they worked, how they functioned socially, how the vagaries of life and interpersonal relationships affected the publication of the scrolls.
The pace of scrolls acquisition continued to accelerate. Cave 4 fragments were still in the hands of the Bedouin and Kando. No one really knew how many. Reconstruction of the thousands of fragments into documents had hardly begun. Excavations continued at Qumran. The first personal contribution toward the purchase of scrolls was still to be finalized only the first steps had been taken toward gathering a team together and the Copper Scroll was not yet opened. During the first months of 1953 none of the Cave 4 Team members apart from Milik had arrived in Jerusalem, nor had most of them even yet been appointed.
It had now been more than five years since Cave 4 was discovered in the autumn of 1952. The first Cave 4 Team members began working in 1953 and the entire team was constituted by 1954. Thousands of fragments had been examined and considerable order had been brought to the picture of Cave 4 manuscripts; then Kando decided to bring in more fragments; changing the Cave 4 situation once again. The Cave 4 Team has become considerably more proprietary and jealous of its publication rights. For whatever reason, there is so far no indication in the surviving records that anyone in authority fully grasped the necessity to expand the team or any inclination to do so if they did have a clue. To this day the &t;All Souls Deuteronomy&t; is among the most popular of scrolls in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibitions.
The Jordan government can always threaten to nationalise the Museum unless they can ensure that all is above board regarding the scrolls. John Allegro planted the seeds for the &t;nationalization&t; of the scrolls in the Palestine Archaeological Museum, an action that was to take place little more than two years later, and was an unmitigated disaster from many perspectives. The Palestine Archaeological Museum, which has the richest and the most complete collection of antiquities from Palestine, very naturally became involved from the very beginning in the recovery and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which created such a sensation all over the world. The museum depleted its financial reserve by purchasing the manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts, which were found by the Bedouin.
The year 1957 came in with a heavy weight of gloom for the Cave 4 Team. The project had suffered a double disaster: the loss of G. Lankester Harding in October 1956, and the removal of the scrolls to Amman in the face of the Suez War. Coming out of the war was a third disaster: the complete dispersal of the team, which would never again all be in the scrollery at the same time. It looked grim, and it was. The publication project never recovered from Harding's loss, and the government of Jordan started from this time forward to put roadblock after roadblock in front of the scrolls scholars. Still, they slogged on as best they could. The scrolls were stuck in Jordan and now they had been nationalized.