The Copper Scroll
Paraphrase and comments by Chad Hack & Nathaniel Carey
One of the most illusive documents found in the Qumran
region is The Copper Scroll. Made of two separate
sheets of copper, rolled up and oxidized right through, the
contents of The Copper Scroll could only be
determined after it had been cut into parallel strips.
The text is difficult to read because it is virtually
impossible to differentiate between some letters and others that
are almost like them. The copyist made numerous mistakes thus
making the task of the translators even more difficult.
The document is mysterious. Is it legend from folklore
about fictitious treasures or a catalogue of hiding places for
real treasures? The formulas and directions are ambiguous and
inconclusive thereby hinting at the possibility that the scroll
is a myth. Furthermore, scholars presume that The Copper Scroll
was written about 40 years after all the other scrolls.
Specific and blatant contradictions among the translators
forced us students to make educated guesses between the possible
choices without certainty of the accuracy. For example, one
translator suggested that the location of a treasure was facing a
certain direction. Meanwhile another translator suggested that
the entrance of the location is facing that direction, but
location itself was facing in a different direction. Some
treasure had a numeric value and other descriptions of the same
treasure did not. Sometimes the treasure was gold, and other
times it was silver. All together these examples combined to
make the translated text ambiguous and intimate towards the
fictional nature of the content.
In the ruin of Horebbah which is in the
valley of Achor, under the steps heading eastward about forty
feet: lies a chest of silver that weighs seventeen talents (yard
stick).KEN  In the tomb of the third
section of stones there is one hundred gold bars. Nine hundred
talents are concealed by sediment towards
the upper opening, at the bottom of the big cistern in the
courtyard of the peristyle. Priests garments and flasks that
were given as vows are buried in the hill of Kohlit. This is all of the votive offerings of the
seventh treasure. The second tenth is impure. The opening is at
the edge of the canal on its northern side six cubits toward the
immersed pool.CAG Enter into the hole of
the waterproofed Reservoir of Manos,
descend to the left, forty talents of silver lie three cubits
from the bottom.
Forty two talents lie under the stairs in the salt
pit.HN Sixty five bars of gold lie on
the third terrace in the cave of the old Washers House.QE Seventy
telents of silver are enclosed in wooden vessel that are in the
cistern of a burial chamber in Matia's
courtyard. Fifteen cubits from the front
of the eastern gates, lies a cistern. The ten talents lie in the
canal of the cistern.DI Six silver
bars are located at the sharp edge of the rock which is under the
eastern wall in the cistern. The cistern's entrance is under the
large paving stone threshold. Dig down four cubits in the
northern corner of the pool that is east of Kohlit. There will
be twenty two talents of silver coins.
Dig down nine cubits into the southern corner of the courtyard.
There will be silver and gold vessels given as offerings, bowls,
cups, sprinkling basins, libation tubes, and pitchers. All
together they will total six hundred nine pieces. Dig down
sixteen cubits under the eastern corner to find forty talents of
silver.TR Votive vessels and priestly
garments are at the northern end of the dry well located in
Milham. The entrance is underneath the
western corner. Thirteen talents of silver coins are located
three cubits beneath a trap door in the tomb in the north-east
end of Milham.
Fourteen talents of silver can be found in the pillar on the
northern side of the big cistern in Kohlit.
SK When you go forty-one cubits into
the canal that comes from...you will find fifty-five talents of
silver. Dig down three cubits in the middle of the two boulders
in the Valley of Achor, and you will find two pots full of silver
coins. At the mouth of the underground cavity in Aslah sit two hundred talents of silver. Seventy
talents of silver are located in the eastern tunnel which is to
the north of Kohlit. Dig for only one cubit into the memorial
mound of stones in the valley of Sekaka
to find twelve talents of silver.
A water conduit is located on the northern side of Sekaka. Dig
down three cubits under the large stone at the head of this water
conduit to discover seven talents of silver. Vessels of offering
can be found in the fissure of Sekaka, which is on the eastern
side of the reservoir of Solomon.
Twenty-three talents of silver are buried quite nearby above
Solomon's Canal. To locate the exact spot, go sixty cubits
toward the great stone, and dig down for three cubits. Thirty
two talents of silver can be located by digging seven cubits
under the tomb in the dried up riverbed of Kepah, which is between Jericho and Sekaka.
Forty-two talents of silver lie underneath a scroll in an urn.
To locate the urn, dig down three cubits into the northern
opening of the cave of the pillar that has two entrances and
faces east. Twenty-one talents of silver can be found by digging
nine cubits beneath the entrance of the eastward-looking cave at
the base of the large stone. Twenty-seven talents of silver can
be found by digging twelve cubits into the western side of the
Queen's Mausoleum. Dig nine cubits into
the burial mound of stones located at the Ford of the High Priest
to find twenty-two talents of silver.
To find four hundred talents of silver measure out twenty-four
cubits from the water conduit of Q...of the northern reservoir
with four sides. Dig six cubits into the
cave that is nearby Bet Ha-Qos to locate
six bars of silver. Dig seven cubits down under the eastern
corner of the citadel of Doq to find
twenty-two talents of silver. Dig three cubits by the row of
stones at the mouth of the Kozibah river
to obtain sixty talents of silver, and two talents of gold.
A bar of silver, ten vessels of offering, and ten books are in
the aqueduct on the road that is to the east of Bet Ahsor, which is east of Ahzor. Dig down seventeen cubits beneath the
stone that lies in the middle of the sheep pen located in the
outer valley to find seventeen talents of silver and gold. Dig
three cubits under the burial mound of stones located at the
mouth of the Potter ravine to find four talents of silver. Dig
twenty-four cubits below the northward burial chamber that is
located on the south-west side of the fallow field of the valley
of ha-Shov to reveal sixty-six talents. Dig eleven cubits at the
landmark in the irrigated land of ha-Shov and you will find
seventy talents of silver.
Measure out thirteen cubits from the small opening at the edge of
Nataf, and then dig down seven cubits
there. Seven talents of silver and four stater coins lie there.
Dig down eight cubits into the eastern-looking cellar of the
second estate of Chasa to obtain twenty-three and a half talents
of silver. Dig sixteen cubits into the narrow, seaward-facing
part of the underground chambers of Horon
to discover twenty-two talents of silver. A sacred offering
worth one mina of silver is located at the pass. Dig down seven
cubits at the edge of the conduit on the eastern side inside the
waterfall to locate nine talents of silver.
When going down to the second floor, look to the small opening to
find nine talents of silver coins. Twelve talents lie at the foot
of the water wheel of the dried up irrigation ditches which would
be fed by the great canal. Sixty-two talents of silver can be
found by going to the left for ten paces at the reservoir which
is in Beth Hakerem. Three hundred
talents of gold and twenty penalty fees can be found at the
entrance to the pond of the valley Zok. The entrance is on the
western side by the black stone that is held in place by two
supports. Eight talents of silver can be found by digging under
the western side of Absalom's Memorial.
Seventeen talents are located beneath the water outlet in the
base of the latrines. Gold and vessels of offering are in this
pool at its four angles.
Very near there, under the southern corner of the portico in
Zadok's tomb, beneath the pillars of the
covered hall are ten vessels of offering of pine resin, and an
offering of senna.
Gold coins and consecrated offerings are located
under the great closing stone that is by the edge, next to the pillars
that are near by the throne, and toward the tip of the rock to the west
of the garden of Zadok. Forty talents of silver are buried in the grave
that is under the colonnades. Fourteen votive vessels possibly of pine
and resin are in the tomb of the common people and Jericho. Vessels of
offering of aloes and tithe of white pine are located at Beth Esdatain,
in the reservoir at the entrance of the small pool. Over nine-hundred
talents of silver are next to the reservoir at the brook that runs near
the western entrance of the sepulchre room.
Five talents of gold and sixty more talent are under the black
stone at the Western entrance. Forty-two talents of silver coin
are in the proximity of the black stone at the threshold at the
sepulchral chamber. Sixty talents of silver and vessels are in a
chest that is under the stairs of the upper tunnel on Mount
Garizim. Six-hundred talents of silver
and gold lie in the spring of Beth-Sham.
Treasure weighing seventy-one talents and twenty minas are in the
big underground pipe of the burial chamber at the point where it
joins the house of the burial chamber. A copy of this inventory
list, its explanation and the measurements and details of every
hidden item are in the dry underground cavity that is in the
smooth rock north of Kohlit. Its opening
is towards the north with the tombs at its mouth.
 Horebbah like most of the locations are
either fictional or too ambiguous in description to merit
 According to Wise, Abegg, Cook the
signifigance of the greek letters that follow this in several of
the subsequent descriptions remains mysterous.
 The introduction by Vermes suggests that
the amount of treasure is arbitrary. All of the amounts would
total sixty-five tons of silver and twenty-six tons of gold in
 The existence and location of this place
 This location is unknown.
 This location is unknown.
 Wise, Abegg and Cook suggest that the
cistern described here may be the large ancient cistern lying
just beneath the First Wall of Jerusalem.
 The location of Matia’s courtyard is
 Wise, Abegg and Cook are uncertain whether
Milham refers to a place or a structure.
 Wise, Abegg and Cook state that the Wadi
Atsla opens to the northwest of the Dead Sea, about two
kilometers from the site of Qumran.
 Secacah appears in the Bible in Joshua
15:61, in a list of cities located in the wilderness of Judea.
The modern identification is disputed, but many scholars think
that Secacah was an ancient name for the site of Qumran.
 The pool of Solomon is unidentified.
 Kepah’s location is unknown.
 The Queen’s Mausoleum is unidentified,
but it may well have been located near Jericho, where the
Hasmonean kings and queens had done considerable building and
lived part of the year according to Wise, Abegg and Cook.
 All of the translations submit only a
hiatus after the capital Q.
 The priestly family of Hakkoz lived near
Jericho. According to Ezra 8:33 and Nehemiah 10:6, they may have
been in charge of the Temple treasury in the Second-Temple
 Dok is about two kilometers north of
Jericho according to the sources of Wise, Abegg and Cook.
 Kozibah apparently designated that
portion of the Wadi Qelt stretching between Ein Qelt and
 This location is unknown.
 This location is unknown.
 Nataf was a small opening resembling a
large birdhouse that had many entrances, many birds lived there
at the same time.
 A city located sixteen kilometers
northwest of Jerusalem.
 Beth Hakerem is on the south of
Jerusalem, at the modern Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. No treasure has
been found there by modern inhabitants.
 Stood in the Ancient Royal Valley, now
known as Emeq Rephaim thirteen hundred kilometers south of
 No notes are given on Zadok.
 A former site of the Samaritians temple
to the God of Israel.
 Beth Shem is unknown. It may be an
error for Beth Shemesh, the city in the southwest famously
associated with Samson.
 The inventory list with all its details
is supposedly in another Copper Scroll. But it has never been
Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in
English. Allen Lane: The Penguin Press; New York, New York, 1997
Allegro, John. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reappraisal.
Penguin Books; New York, New York, 1990
Abegg, Martin Jr.; Cook, Edward; Wise, Michael. The Dead
Sea Scrolls--A New Translation. Harper San Francisco; New
York, New York, 1996
Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolls
Translated: The Qumran Texts in English. Second Edition.
E.J.Brill Leiden; New York, New York, 1996
Intro. to the Hebrew Bible
by Chad Hack & Nathaniel Carey