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Study of Qumran Zodiac Earns Dever Memorial Prize
The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research recently announced that the 2011 Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize was awarded to Helen R. Jacobus of the University of Manchester in England.
The award is offered to a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology for the best published article or paper presented at a conference. Jacobus’s winning paper, presented at a 2007 conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of Birmingham, is titled “4Q318: A Jewish Zodiac Calendar at Qumran?” In it she argues that a fragmentary scroll discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran (known to scholars as 4Q318) preserves a schematic lunar zodiac calendar that closely follows the lunar calendar used by many Jews today. She also discusses the Mesopotamian and Hellenistic parallels for the scroll’s famous bronotologion, a “thunder omen” preserved at the end of the scroll that predicts what will happen if thunder is heard when the moon is in a particular sign of the zodiac.

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