Dear Joe,

In your response to Russell you wrote:

>The site [of Qumran] is one of the most inhospital places in the
>region for a manor, 

This is only true without the aqueduct which supplied the 
settlement with the water which filled its tanks -- and 
remember that there was more rain water then than now. 
(There was a BA article which analysed the wood found in 
the Roman ramp from Masada which indicated 50% more rain. 
The Dead Sea was higher than it is today, as indicated by, 
amongst other things, the Madaba Map not representing the 
Lisan Peninsula.)

Once the aqueduct was built the possibilities for the use 
of the site increased dramatically. But what needs to be 
clarified is, who built the aqueduct and why? One doesn't 
use large quantities of life maintaining resources just to 
build a small religious refuge. And there is no reason to 
build a manor from scratch if there is no sign of economic 
potential. The most likely constructors of the aqueduct 
would seem to me to have been the Hasmonean state itself. 
Who else could have provided the resources necessary to 
maintain a crew of workers to excavate the tunnel and sink 
the filtering storage tank in such an inhospitable place? 
It is obvious that the location was chosen for some reason 
worth constructing the aqueduct. Why at Qumran and not 
some more hospitable place? It didn't offer any natural 
resources that we know of, either for a religious retreat 
of a manor. This leaves the most likely reason to have 
been strategic. As I suggested in my previous post, the 
site was directly on the coast from Hyrcania, with visual 
contact with both Jericho and Machaerus and a view of the 
north end of the sea and its traffic, so it was in a good 
position as a military observation point.

If it was one of those places which Salome Alexandra gave 
to the high-standing enemies of the Pharisees -- probably, 
and principally, the Sadducees --, it's not strange that 
temple related texts could end up at Qumran in a time of 
crisis, such as the arrival of Pompey threatening the end 
of the kingdom of God on earth.

Once the aqueduct was built, the site's military value 
lost and the site abandoned, it was available for other 
uses, given the good supply of fresh water. Hirschfeld 
points out in his article on Roman Manor Houses that 
"Herod settled groups of his former military troops or 
people from elsewhere skilled in warfare" in places 
near his frontiers.

Bar-Adon writes of Ein el-Ghuweir that people "were 
able to make a living from livestock breeding and the 
cultivation of medicinal and perfumery herbs and 
orchards. Also important was the sale of salt and other 
minerals which were extracted from the Dead Sea at 
processing plants like those at En-Gedi, `En Feshkha, 
and Qumran." Ein Feshka and Qumran processing salt and 
other minerals supplies a commercial reason for the 
existence of a manor house at Qumran. Perfume and 
medicine preparation would have been more viable at 
Qumran than at Ein el-Ghuweir.

Further, you ask:

>why would
>one need so many miqvot and what are all those males doing there?

Hirschfeld writes: "The number of ritual baths is not 
exceptional in comparison with other sites in Judea" to 
which he supplies to articles in a footnote (#36 p.180): 
Ronny Reich's Ph.D thesis on mikva'ot, and Amit, "Ritual 
Baths from the Second Temple Period in the Hebron 

As to all those males, your conclusions as to the 
demographics of the cemetery are yet to be substantiated. 
The sexing of the remains from Steckoll's work in the 
cemetery, performed by Haas and Nathan, needs to be 
faulted and not pushed aside by attacking Steckoll, along 
with the analyses by Roehrer-Ertl and Zangenberg's 
critique of your article dealing with Roehrer-Ertl's 
conclusions. (Incidentally, Bar-Adon had no problems with 
Steckoll's results, nor of using Haas to analyse the 
remains from Ein el-Ghuweir, so I see no reason to 
dismiss Haas's analysis for Steckoll, with its three 

>If .. spindle whorls attest to the presence of women then, where are all
>the rest of the 'womans artifacts'?

The ankle beads, which you exclude (but see Zangenberg 
QC 9,1 [2000] pp.70-72), are further evidence.

>Equating the site with all three major sects, seems implausable,  purely on
>demographic factors in the cemetery as one knows that the other two sects
>were not celibate. Again this leaves us with few choices.

Firstly, most cemeteries have an imbalance between male 
and female graves. And there haven't been enough graves 
opened to make a general statement about the cemetery's 
overall demographics. As things stand, your analysis of 
the celibacy of the "residents" of the cemetery has as 
yet not been justified and your exclusion of women from 
the cemetery reads as a priori. The most closely related 
cemetery, which you see as Ein el-Ghuweir, contained six 
women. One would expect, because of the similarity, that 
there would be women at Qumran.

I don't think you have made a strong case for exclusion 
because of beads, nor have you made one for exclusion by 
non north-south orientation, as one of the graves, #15, 
in the *middle* of the Ein el-Ghuweir cemetery was east-
west with ample space at each end suggesting that it was 
not intrusive and nothing else indicates that it was 
extraneous. (It gave Bar-Adon some doubts because of its 
orientation, but apparently resembled the rest of the 
graves in other respects. He also mentions another, #17, 
which is oriented nw-se and graves #8, #9 & #14 have 
similar orientations.)


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