Dear Rochelle,

I'd like to deal with two things:

The cracked cistern
>>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.
>I'd be very hesitant to accept Steckoll's reasoning here. 

It is not Steckoll's reasoning here, but that of Tom 
Zavislock, an architect with experience in repairs 
after earthquake damage (who did reconstruction work 
at Qumran). Steckoll cites his analysis, which 
includes the determination that "there were no traces 
whatsoever of any earthquake damage to the Qumran 
building". He sees that the cracking was done at the 
first introduction of water into the structure -- 
whether it was when it was first built or after 


Dead Sea topography
>>(Nevertheless there are numerous earthquakes on record, though none of
>>them is accredited with having changed any topography.
>Any??? What did I write? Major topographic changes, no, but is anyone about
>to claim that every rock formation, every crevice, every pass, every cave,
>every inch of the way between the building complex and the spring is
>identical today to what it was in the 2nd BCE? 

The conversation was about the limit of the sea level 
based on the location of Ein Feshka during the Qumran 
period. I can't see how hypothetical crevices, passes, 
caves, etc., have any bearing on the local topography 
so as to render irrelevant the altitude of Ein Feshka 
as a limiting factor for the height of the sea at the 
time. Perhaps you could explain.

I agree that the effects of earthquakes can seem very 
strange. But you seem to be positing some intervening 
change that requires no evidence to be left behind. 
>From what evidence we have, there is nothing which 
advocates any sort of topographical change along the 
littoral where we find both Qumran and Ein Feshka to 
suggest that the water level at the time of their 
occupation could have been higher than the present 
altitude of Ein Feshka -- which seems to be the notion 
you have put forward. While such a local topographical 
change is vaguely possible, I think the onus is on the 
proposer to show some signs.

>>This may be interesting theoretically, but have there been any signs of
>>drastic change anywhere along the western side of the Dead Sea?
>Yes; there was a drastic change in the water level, which does indicate
>topographical changes with the opening of channels and passes, etc., albeit,
>2000 odd years ago.

It is the change in water level that is under question. 

>I am in the middle of the time-consuming, eye-straining, and nit-picking
>job of balancing a new printer font and I do not have time to keep this up.
>Please get a book on the geology of the Med and another on hydrology;

This is just being naughty.

>perhaps one on plate tectonics 

(Umm, I've got a few of those of the type "The 
Duffer's Guide to Continental Drift" and "The 
Woodchuck's Manual of Plate Tectonics".)

>and maybe an Architect's handbook for
>calculating ratios on weight distribution, too  

I'll leave this to the "expert opinion" of Zavislock 
for the moment. If you're interested, Steckoll cites 
the information in RQ 25 (Dec 1969), p.34. It may be 
ok for people to slag Steckoll, but I think one needs 
to consider the information. Our main indication is a 
crack running through a few conjoining cisterns. We 
can't start with the -- in this case -- unlearned 
opinion of de Vaux, who after all was not an architect 
or a geologist. (See p.20 of Archaeology and the DSS.)

>-- and then get back to me.

I think the ball is still in your court: what 
actual evidence do you have to suggest the altitude of 
Ein Feshka isn't the limiting factor for the height of 
the sea during Qumran times?


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