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LETTER : First man to the treasure

Patrick Cockburn's article on the Copper Scroll from Qumran Cave 3 near the Dead Sea ("Treasure in the desert", 26 May) singles out the achievement of Emile Puech, who has just finished a new translation of the scroll. In fact Puech is the proverbial dwarf seeing just that little bit more because he is standing on the shoulders of the giant. The breakthrough in our understanding of the scroll, the significance of its contents and the whereabouts of the treasures was achieved by the Benedictine archaeologist Bargil Pixner as long ago as 1983, in his article "Unravelling the Copper Scroll" (Revue de Qumran 11/1983).

Carsten Peter Thiede

Institute for Basic Epistemological Research,

Paderborn, Germany