Dear Jürgen Zangenberg and Joe Zias,

   Thank you for your replies.  I admire both of your contributions to the 
field and hoped you would respond.  Joe, I will reread your article from DSD. 
 On the relationship between Qumran and Ain el-Ghuweir, as I recall a recent 
article in IEJ  on spectrographic analysis of the pottery clays showed no 
connection, and the stratigraphy shows the sites have different occupation 
histories, so the similarities in the cemeteries is somewhat of a puzzle.
    If I am to understand both your replies correctly, graves of the same 
architecture as Kenyon described have been found elsewhere in Judea (though 
not with the same orientation or grave goods).  This is an interesting datum. 
 I'm not sure characterizing the grave type as Essene (as Kenyon did) is 
particularly helpful.  "Qumran grave type" might be a more objective 
description.  The poverty of grave goods isn't as much of a signature of 
Qumran as it used to be, in light of the recently discovered mausoleum with 
zinc-lined coffin!  It seems to me this find indicates a social 
stratification at Qumran between rich owners and relatively impoverished 
agricultural workers much as was undoubtedly the case in other estates in and 
around Jericho.  The ostracon discovered at Qumran, which Yardeni's 
decipherment showed to be a simple agricultural deed of transfer, appears to 
document a fairly straight forward connection between Qumran and Jericho 
landowners IMO.  As I recall there are also some parallels in the aqueducts 
of Qumran and the lower Jordan valley (and other sites).  Perhaps Jürgen you 
could elaborate on archaeological links you see between Jericho and Qumran.  
It seems to me that regional archaeological patterns and connections have 
been historically somewhat neglected in favor of a sectarian interpretation 
of the Qumran site.  

Best regards,
Russell Gmirkin
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