You raised an interesting question! Dame Kenyon indeed excavated several shaft
tombs on Tell es-Sultan (see Chrystal Bennett's report in Kenyon, Jericho II,
London 1965, 516-546). Only the third subtype described by Bennett (p. 516) seems
to be directly comparable to the ones found at Qumran by de Vaux (graves Q 1, G
66, G 67, G 68, G 84, J 24, one more in Trench I and eighteen more in Trench II).
Apparently, these graves (including the ones of the types dissimilar to the
"Qumran-type") belong to a larger grave area located on and around Tell
es-Sultan. This grave area, however, by no means only consisted of "Qumran-type"
graves, and -notably- the orientation of the Jericho graves varies from those at
A fact often overlooked is that, during their excavations in 1907-1909, Sellin
and Watzinger have already found clusters of similar tombs in squares C 6 (28
examples) and D 6 (unspecified number) (see their brief report Jericho, 92ff,
Leipzig 1913), but the description leaves many questions open regarding to
their date and form. Apparently, no graves of that kind were found during
Garstang's excavtions in the 30ies.
It seems that the area around Tell es-Sultan was indeed used for agriculture
(nearby spring!) AND as burial ground for the population inhabiting the oasis and
perhaps also the nearby town of Jericho. These graves differ largely from the
large necropolis with sometimes very elaborate tombs excavated and nicely
published by Hachlili and Killebrew (IAA reports) which is more oriented towards
the palace area at Tulul Abu al-Alayik. Like many others sites, Jericho
apparently had more than just one burial ground.
Coming back to your question, I think there are typological and (possible!)
sociological affinities between the graves at Qumran and Jericho. Both served an
oasis population mainly concerned with agriculture, and who -as it seems- were
not members of the upper classes. I do not think, however, that one can really
establish a genuine connection between the grave form and a particular sectarian
affiliation (which, for example, Emile Puech has again attempted in his recent
BASOR article). No criterion for the "Essene" character of the Qumran graves put
forward in the literature actually holds up against a critical assessment.
Neither the grave form (shafts with side recess) nor the burial rites are in any
way sectarian, but suggest that in fact two burial forms were prevalent in the
Hellenistic-Roman orient (similar graves were found in Yemen, Nubia, Nabatea,
Judea). The archaeological material is extensively discussed in my Habilitation
thesis (just submitted, publication in preparation).
Historically, there were certainly ties between Qumran and Jericho, and the
agricultural area around Qumran was most likely managed from Jericho (there are
other archaeological links between these sites, too), but the graves cannot serve
as the archaeological proof for the allegation that this link was exclusively
based on the presence of "Essenes" at both sites.
All best wishes,
[EMAIL PROTECTED] schrieb:
> Thanks to all who respondd to my query on Qumran Hebrew.
> A new question. I'm trying to evaluate the hypothesis that the Essenes
> of the Herodian era had a significant presence at Jericho. It has been
> suggested that criticisms directed against the "men of Jericho" at bTal Pes
> 55b ff, Men. 71a ff, dealing with various practices of agricultural workers,
> may be directed against the Essenes; and I note that Dio Chrysostom
> apparently refers to Jericho as the "blessed city of the Essenes".
> My question. In 1957 Kathleen Kenyon wrote, "The Jericho of Herod the
> Great was a mile and three-quarters to the south-west, where the Wadi Qelt
> provides another source of water... In the Roman period the ancient mound
> served as a burial ground. A number of graves have been found of a curious
> form, with the body in a recess cut along one side of the base of a
> grave-like shaft, identical in type wuth those found at Qumran..." (Digging
> Up Jericho, 264). Does this interpretation still hold up? That is, do the
> Jericho graves unearthed in 1952-1956 have special affinities with those at
> Best regards,
> Russell Gmirkin
> For private reply, e-mail to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
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