Access Analysis of Khirbet Qumran: Reading Spatial Organization and Social Boundaries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the spatial organization and architecture of Khirbet Qumran using Hillier and Hanson's Space Syntax theory, commonly called access analysis. The results show strong social boundaries and the division of the site into distinct clusters, in a specific hierarchical structure that entails ritualization. The access analysis map of Kh. Qumran is compared with those of seven other contemporaneous manor houses or villas, in which all the spatial boundaries are substantially weaker (indicated by a lower mean-depth calculation, following Hillier and Hanson). The spatial characteristics of Kh. Qumran correspond to a sectarian social organization and ideology as defined by sociologists of religion and documented in studies of different sects; these characteristics are typical of the spatial organization of several modern sects, especially the Shakers. The general characteristics are also typical of the Yahad sect of the Community Rule (1QS). They may relate to a certain social correspondence between the inhabitants of the site and the Yahad.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)85-99
JournalBulletin of the American School of Oriental Research
StatePublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Access Analysis of Khirbet Qumran: Reading Spatial Organization and Social Boundaries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this