Dear Rochelle,

As the topic seems interesting, I guess I should have asked 
a more useful question than

   >Is it really that "clockwork"?

How is the data extracted from the "Lisan-type deposits" and 
how is it dated? While dendrochronology is more or less only 
a matter of counting tree rings, the methodology here seems 
obscure to me.

>>There's an obvious and important limiter to the water level
>>at the time of the Qumran settlement: Ein Feshka is located
>>relatively low in altitude, at about the height of the foot
>>of the rock ledge on which Qumran stands.
>Why the assumption that the terrain between the two sites is exactly
>today as it was 2,200-2,300 years ago? 

Let's say 1950 years ago: de Vaux reckons that the northern 
installation at Ein Feshka was from Period II.

>...How could it be? General features,
>yes: the mountains are still there; the Dead Sea is still a closed basin,
>the Lisan Peninsula remains, but, exact features? How high was the water
>level during that peak period when Qumran was built? 

The reason I mentioned Ein Feshka, which has close 
connections with Qumran, is because of its altitude, 
which is several metres lower than Qumran. There 
seems to have been some sort of limiting wall which 
connected one site to the other. Whatever supplied 
Ein Feshka's northern installation was brought from 
the nerth-west and its drainage was to the north-
east, which tells us about the local topography --
which seems to relevant to today's topography as 

>When was pass 'X'
>opened that changed a "micro-climate" closed basin into a open basin?
>And by what means? There is more than wind, water, and sun to consider.
>We are not talking about the Cambrian shield here; we are talking about
>an area sitting on a major fault where continental plates grind their way
>across each other. There are always earthquakes; 

Parenthetically, the so-called earthquake faultline 
supplied by de Vaux as having damaged the eastern 
cistern, seems to have been an invention, as another 
explanation for the data, supplied by our old friend 
Steckoll, indicates that the Lisan marl moved under 
the weight of the water in the cistern causing the 
cracking and the cistern's abandonment. 

(Nevertheless there are numerous earthquakes on 
record, though none of them is accredited with having 
changed any topography. And, given the local 
circumstances, with both sites sitting on the edge 
of one plate with the sea between them and the other 
plate, I can't see the attrition necessary to cause 
the changes you find possible between Qumran and Ein 

>...even a minor earthquake
>will open paths to permit drainage where previously there were none. 
>And when that path does open, it's a dam breaking and you have a local flash
>floods until the water level again reaches equilibrium. The fact that humid
>periods decrease drastically after ca. 500 CE does not tell us anything
>about local conditions during the peaks of the earlier humid periods.
>Then, the entire aqueduct/cistern set-up points to expectation of heavy
>rainfall during the rainy season at the time of construction. 

Yes. As I said from the wood found in the Roman ramp at 
Masada, there appears to have been 50% more rain during 
the period as compared to the present -- which might 
mean rather than two great down-pours a year there were 

>it's not the altitude of Ein Feshka that's relevant; it's the height of
>any given mountain in the 5 kilometers between Qumran and Ein Feshka that's
>relevant and where mountain Y forms a wall and a closed basin for specific
>"micro-climate" 'A' and where mountain Z has a pass and at what height that
>forms an open basin feeder system for micro-climate 'B'. There's also the
>point that Ein Feshka is an open basin.

This may be interesting theoretically, but have there 
been any signs of drastic change anywhere along the 
western side of the Dead Sea? If there are no signs, 
then why can't I assume that the altitude of Ein 
Feshka is a limit indicator for the height of the sea 
during the life of the Qumran/Ein Feshka settlement?


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