Dear Ian,

Shalom, in relation to your  June 10th posting (below) I would like to
clarify the following:

A. You write that denying public access to scrolls was the practice until
the 90's is not entirely accurate in that public access was only denied to
that which was unpublished material only. This is the norm in archaeology
designed to protect the interests of those working on the material however
once material has been published in any form whatsoever,  then public access
is granted. In my 25 years as a museum curator, access to anthropological
and other archaeological material was never denied to researchers as has
been done with some of the Qumran skeletal material.

B. As for Professor Natan's sexing of the material 'excavated' by Steckoll,
I have no problem with Natan's findings, the issue here is the weight that
one gives to material which was excavated by a journalist, lack of field
diaries, photos, ect, not to mention his lack of experience. Thus, the
material lacks any scientific value. Secondly, his selling of antiquities
from the site suggest that he was more interested in digging for grave goods
which could later be reold, which could be found in the Bedouin graves with
their jewelery, beads etc. His 'excavation' in the Kidron Valley Jeruslaem,
looking for treasures from the Copper Scroll appear to belie this assertion.
as well as sale of objects from the Qumran to a museum.

C. You mention that "Pliny is of no help" whereas you city Pliny in your
defense of Ein-Gedi. When is he accurate, reliable?

D. You mention that the water level of the Dead Sea was higher during Qumran
times, and use the Madaba map for proof. Very difficult to accept for the
following reasons
    1. Madaba map was made in the 6th century, 500 years after Qumran was
abandoned and we know that the level of the Dead Sea varies considerably
from time to time. The PEF showed that the water level of the Dead Sea was
tens of meters above Ain Feshka in the late 19th century.
    2. Today one can plainly see at the northern end of the Dead Sea  a
Roman fortress which could not have been built under water in the Roman
    3. You cite reports on wood from the ramp in Masada showing that
rainfall was higher whereas the wood in the ramp came from the Hebron area
far to the west and ca 900 meters higher than Masada.

In short, the Dead Sea was far from the Qumran not close, as you suggest.

E. Over the past few weeks you argue in favor of the manor hypothesis and
write that "there is nothing at the site of Qumran to suggest ascetic
living"  In response I would argue the following
    1. Compare the pottery of Qumran, with that of wealthier sites, Masada,
Jericho, Qumran it's basic, simple and boring, no foreign
wares, no diversity.
    2. Luxurious living in the style of a manor ?, where are the mosaics,
frescos, luxury goods? Wish to see luxury in the style of manorial living,
check out the Jewish Qtr. in Jerusalem.

F. As for terminology, Manual of Discipline, depends of one's source, seems
that there is no consensous Vermes uses Community Rule whereas Schuller in
1994 uses The Rule of the Congregation. Whatever one uses "'your suggestion
that it comes from Christian monasticism" may be wide of the mark as ther
term was coined by one or two Methodists decades ago. To my knowledge
Methodists are not associated with monasticism.

G. You state in your arguments that Qumran is not sectarian whereas you then
suggest that it may have been inhabited by Sadduccees. Are they not

H. You write that "if Qumran was Essene there would be children in the
cemetery" This is one of those areas whereby one has to have some knowledge
of phy. anthro.which is why some people may have trouble understanding the
arguments.  We know that the Essenes adopted children into their community
and  here lies the demographic bias as well as supporting my thesis that the
cem. is that of celibate males. When one looks at mortality data one sees
two peaks, one from birth to ca 10 years and then another one after and
during the 30's. If an individual makes it to 10-12 years then the chances
of dying in ones teens are slim, which explains the total lack of
individuals (except one I believe) in this category. Furthermore, we know
that 'men of ripe age' were in the community thus further proof that we are
dealing with adult, celibate males. The fact that one individual is 14, i.e
past Bar Matzva age when one becomes a man does not present any problem.

I. As for aqueducts requiring state or royal planning, true if it's a place
like Caeseria, but the one at Qumran would def. not require much of any
effort, it's simply a stone lined water channel dug in the ground. It's
about as low tech/no-tech as one can get. In fact the term aqueduct may be
inappropiate is it suggests, arches, monumental state construction,  all of
which are unnecessary in Qumran. It's simply a water channel coming down
from the hills.

J. If Qumran was a strategic military site as you state in the first century
BC, then why was it not fortified and why did Herod later not use is as a
military base?

K. As far as the scrolls in caves 7-9 which are in the site itself, remember
that Josephus wrote that 'neophytes had to swear that they would preserve
the books of the sect"

L. Josephus, wrote that the Essenes followed a way of life taught to the
Greek by Pythagoras (Ant. XV 371) Certain of these aspects, org. into
brotherhoods, community life and common property, modesty appear in the
arch. record of Qumran, part. the cemetery.

Lastly, this thread is getting too long and much of what I have said has
been said before, by myself and others, so I will 'retire' for a while from
further posting on this thread. You can have the last word. Hope that it may
have some value to you and others.

Science and Archaeology Group @ The Hebrew University


----- Original Message -----
From: Ian Hutchesson <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2002 4:11 AM
Subject: Re: orion-list Essene cemetery at Jericho?

> Dear Joe,
> Perhaps you're right that I'm over reacting regarding Roehrer-Ertl.
> I don't think I am regarding Steckoll.
> >As a former museum curator denying public access to
> >researchers in unheard of.
> (This is the story of the scrolls until the early 90s.)
> >As for Steckoll having a permit to excavate in Qumran, what he had was
> >permission from a member of the Jordanian Royal Family, and no
> >support whatsoever. The artifacts that were recovered from the site, were
> >offered to me by Steckoll himself for sale, which I declined however some
> >the objects were purchased by private
> >collectors. One could go on and on however as he is not around to defend
> >himself, enough said on this topic.
> This seems to be beside the point of the discussion, Joe.
> Steckoll might have acted unprofessionally regarding some
> of the artefacts, yet the bones he dug out of the cemetery
> included three women as classified by Haas and Nathan. All
> you say in your footnote 56 is that you reject what he
> published as in your opinion it is "scientifically
> unreliable" and you agree with Puech, whose article on the
> "Necropolises" is plainly biased from a priori commitments.
> Even the name reifies the guess of multiple cemeteries.
> >True one doesn't need an archaeological/anthropological background to
> >or attempt to link Qumran with the Essenes, however the earlier scholars
> >based their ideas on historical/written sources which were strongly
> >indicative that this was the site referred to by Pliny.
> Pliny is of no help. His comment requires manipulatiing
> to come out in favour of the currently popular Essene
> Hypothesis.
> 1) The text says that the Essenes flee from the coastal
>    zone. Qumran is basically on the coast (the water
>    level was higher then as well putting Qumran even
>    closer), so it wasn't what Pliny was talking about,
>    so one has to ignore this.
> 2) De Vaux had two bites of the cherry for his definition
>    of "infra", giving both "downstream" and "south of",
>    but neither can be justified from the context. Pliny
>    has no problem using the literal term "south of"
>    (a meridiae) in the text, and as Pliny's itinerary
>    has him crossing from the east of the sea to the west
>    there is no notion of "downstream" because no stream
>    is being followed.
> The text makes sense if read literally, ie that Ein Gedi
> was below the Essenes, suggesting that they were in the
> foothills above the town.
> >The consenous today is that they
> >were right in linking the site with the Essenes.
> Appeals to a consensus is not an argument. Consensus said
> the world was flat until a few centuries ago.
> >As I and others have stated
> >that the Ein Gedi hypothesis is a weak one, the same huts that were found
> >Hirschfeld, also occur in the close vicinity of Qumran. This may be
> >unpublished data, but these huts were found in surveys conducted by the
> >in the 90's and were regarded as seasonal huts for workers, much the same
> >way that one finds sim. huts in the agricultural regions of the West Bank
> >today for seasonal workers.
> Broshi and Eshel published that the Ein Gedi site was for
> seasonal workers. That's one interpretation, put forward
> by two extremely staunch supporters of the Essene
> Hypothesis. Hirschfeld talks of another such site as he
> had found, indicating that the settlement above Ein Gedi
> was not a one-off affair. So, yes, groups of huts are to
> be found. It doesn't change his basic thesis.
> >As far as proposing that the Essenes were from 'poor backgrounds, wearing
> >clothes in rags, despising of riches" and equating this with high rates
> >illiteracy, the story of Gandi comes to mind, plus he was a spinner of
> The attitude has nothing to do with the scrolls which are
> in favour of bloodlines, procreation, and not letting one's
> clothes get too ragged.
> >This is the life style of the ascetic and does not correlate literacy in
> >Judaism.
> There is nothing at the site of Qumran to suggest ascetic
> living.
> >One must also remember that both Josephus and Philo state that the
> >Essenes read and preserved texts,
> But for some reason you seems to want to assume that all
> your Essenes did.
> >(Scrolls) not to mention that for Jews in
> >antiquity, salvation was accorded to those that could study the Torah,
> >unlike faith alone in other religions, which was all that was needed. I
> >would agree that literacy in the towns and villages was not that high,
> >in the Essene community one would expect that it was very high.
> >
> >In your posting you maintain that during the Revolt scrolls were stored
> >safekeeping in several places throughout the country and that cave 4 was
> >of these.
> I was not talking about the revolt. I was talking about
> 163 years before the "Revolt" when Pompey besieged the
> temple.
> >Hard to accept that cave 4 was a storage facility in that all the
> >scrolls were deposite in the cave sans jars, unlike cave 1.
> This is what I said:
> >> Long before the storage process could be
> >> finished the process had to be abandoned (due to the need to
> >> defend Jerusalem) and the bulk of the scrolls were sealed in
> >> cave 4, where they lay until the 1950s.
> >As to which manuscripts belong to the Qumran community,  for starters
> >lets begin with the Manual of Discipline
> Why? There is no indication of celibacy in the text,
> and at the same time the text indicates that members
> had private possessions and money.
> (The name is interesting, coming from the tradition
> of Christian monasticism. It's usually called the
> Community Rule these days from the Hebrew name,
> Serekh ha-Yachad.)
> >as well as the materials from caves
> >4,5, 7,8,9, the last three caves are accessible only by directly going
> >through the site. To argue, as some have,   that there is no relation
> >between the inhabitants of the site and the scrolls is preposterous, in
> >of the fact that caves 7,8,9 are only accessable via the site itself !
> Part of my thesis is that the people who inhabited
> Qumran at the time of the scrolls deposit in 63 BCE
> were Sadducees, who took the most extreme position
> during the struggle against Pompey. With the fear
> of catastrophe, those in charge of the temple sent
> off their valued texts to be stored for safe-keeping.
> >Furthermore you write that "... my demographic analysis... supports no
> >particular group',  then one would have to ask, what group would you
> >as an alternative, i.e. predominately male, no children, no infants?
> In the first century there seems to have been a number
> of weird and wonderful positions. We only have what
> Josephus has packaged for his Roman audience. (Philo
> doesn't necessarily indicate all those who were in
> circulation either.) We have glimpses of groups who
> bundled together as Zealots and Sicarii, but their
> ways of life have not come down to us.
> As Josephus tells us, the Essenes bring other
> people's children into the community, suggesting that
> if Qumran had been Essene there would be children in
> the cemetery.
> >Zealots, Sadd. Phar. ... or whatever?  Until someone finds similar data
> >elsewhere,  west of the Dead Sea, between Jericho and Ein Gedi, the
> >cemetery/archaeological/anthropological data appear to fit the
> >theory quite well.
> Without Pliny, there is no Essene Hypothesis. There is
> just tendentious reading of the scrolls. The scrolls
> themselves do not support the Essene Hypothesis, so one
> usually reads them "metaphorically". One glosses over
> the rulings about gonorrhea, childbirth, marriage, etc,
> as this must be the marrying Essenes, but finds no
> evidence of any other kind of Essenes in the scrolls.
> And so far, I don't think you've made your case for the
> cemetery data. It is partly built on your opinion about
> Steckoll's reputability  -- as I said before, dealing
> with the man, not the data.
> The archaeological evidence does not support the Essene
> Hypothesis. Hirschfeld does a reasonable job showing the
> typological similarities between Qumran and other similar
> settlements around Israel. The is nothing particularly
> suggestive that the site had any other special usage. The
> animal various bones buried in pottery suggest very little
> religious activity at the site.
> All there is left is your analysis of the cemetery, which
> does not confront Steckoll's data front on, but rather
> dismisses it. Would you like to propose how Steckoll's
> lack of requisite skills could interfere with the findings
> of Haas and Nathan as to the presence of three women? I
> would be interested.
> Ian

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