Hi, Ian <G>

   >The Lisan Peninsula is very low, as is the land below
   >Qumran. It doesn't take much change to cover much of it.

No, it sure does not... The Dead Sea is a closed basin; all you
need to bring the water level up is a geological "humid period."

While the geological record can indicate when a pluvial period (e.g.
ca. 10,000 - 6500 BP -- Noah's flood period was a very heavy continuous
pluvial period) has occurred from the increase or decrease in Lisan-type
deposits (greenish-grey, laminated clay layers), geological records do
not tend towards very narrow time frames. The Noahian flood period was
followed by severe drought, then a moderate pluvial period. The early
Bronze (ca. 4400-4300 BP) occurred near the end of of this moderate
pluvial age... with another severe drought indicated in the record shortly
after we arrive at the Bronze Age.

>From then until around 1500 BP (Byzantine culture) the geological record
from the Dead Sea shows fluctuations of various magnitude in the Lisan-
record. The geological record indicates that the period from around the
8th Century BCE (to get off the geochronological Base Period onto more
familiar ground) to 500 CE was a dry period with humid intrusions. The
water level in a closed basin can easily fluctuate 50-60 meters within
a very short time frame. These time spans of humid intrusions cannot be
shown geologically at much closer than about 200-400 years.

If Khirbet Qumran was originally built during the 2nd BCE, then *from
the geological record* it was built smack in the middle of one of those
200-400 year high periods. That a Roman structure shows up 300 years
later only tells us that the Roman structure was built during the
following low period -- which is also recorded in the geological record.

   >Nevertheless, Qumran is still on the litorral of the Dead

   >Part of the aqueduct is a tunnel cut through the rock
   >of the hills above the site. You are only talking
   >about the part that arrived at Qumran. De Vaux
   >indicates that there must also have been a catchment
   >basin "to regulate the flow of water" as the quantity
   >of water which flowed through Wadi Qumran when it did
   >flow "far exceeded the capacity of the cisterns".

Well, if you've ever seen rainfall in a desert climate... flash-flooding
is normal. In fact, the rain fall can be so heavy, that you can _hear_
the rain coming towards you. During heavy rainfall, flood channels 19 feet
deep and 35 feet across will fill to their brim within 2-3 *minutes*. And
while, for example, Scottsdale's green-belt is an open-ended flood control
system resting on a sand base, the Dead Sea is not. It is a closed-basin
resting on a rock base with nowhere for the water to go but up.

Some control over the rate of water flow is built-in to the angles of the
aqueduct (a technique that was already known to the Minoans), but De Vaux
is undoubtedly correct about a catch basin somewhere along the line --
those cisterns would have over-flowed in minutes during a typical seasonal
rainfall without something more to regulate in-flow.

But, then, as I recall, some folks on this list are not too knowledgeable
about water needs for plant or human -- or the differences between a closed
basin and an open one.



PS: Much to my amusement, at a lecture I heard a few weeks ago, there was
this biologist relating how humans need a minimum of 1-1/2 to 2 liters of
water per hour in this climate (Northern Negev... including the Dead Sea)
and that by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. As they
say in South France, te...
Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L [EMAIL PROTECTED]

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
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