Dear Ian,

Okay, time for a coffee break in any case...

   >The cracked cistern
   >Zavislock, an architect with experience in repairs
   >after earthquake damage (who did reconstruction work
   >at Qumran). S
   >He sees that the cracking was done at the
   >first introduction of water into the structure --

Fair enough; *as I noted*, if from settling because of the clay softening,
it would have cracked at the first rains. However, you still have not
accounted for cracks in other cisterns or for the damage to other parts of
the water system....

(BTW, if at first fill, the crack could have been repaired; the techniques
and materials were known for 3,000 plus years by the 2nd BCE.)
   >Dead Sea topography
   >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.

It is _5 miles_ (or 9 kilometers) and be careful how you interpret "littoral"
-- we are not talking about a nice, flat sand beach, not even the Estoral --
and while I realize that photographs taken from above make it look as if the
littoral of the Dead Sea is flat... there are plenty of mountainous intrusions.
The limiter is the height of the lowest pass between the two sites. The
question is when that lowest point opened.

   >>Please get a book on the geology of the Med and another on hydrology;
   >This is just being naughty.

Perhaps; but I do have sufficient reason from other assertions you have made
in the past to have doubts as to your first hand knowledge on subjects you
have raised, no?

   >I'll leave this to the "expert opinion" of Zavislock
   >for the moment.

Okay, along with the proviso that we still have the other cracks, etc....

   >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.

Hmm, I don't remember saying anywhere that I depended upon de Vaux --

   >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?

The peak recorded in the geological records. These Lisan records are not
smooth curves up and down. They're bumpy; with increases and decreases showing
up even as the greater increase in overall level is recorded. The level during
the period covering the construction of the site is not a little blip; it's
the very peak of a good sized high with a dip and then a slight rise on the
near (towards CE) side and then a bumpy slide with small peaks on the downhill
side till the deposit record finally disappears through lack of adequate

But then, the whole point of getting involved in a thread out here is this:
The site shows two different periods of habitation. (In fact, from what
evidence we do have, we are talking about two different types of inhabitants
as well.) The geological record also shows two different periods of water
level. What applies to one period of habitation and/or water-level does not
necessarily apply to the other.

Coffee break's over; back on my head.

Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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