Here is the link to the latest preliminary report on excavations completed at Qumran
I have already analyzed it at another website so all I am going to do is transfer those comments to here. I didn’t do the whole report as it is 80 pages long but I did enough to show that the archaeologists are drawing conclusions based upon their own prejudice and presumptions.
felt it necessary to separately
publish this article due to the fact that until now, most of the discussion regarding our
new theory on the nature of the site has been in newspapers
in articles not initiated
and has been based upon unsubstantiated evidence from certain scholars.
This paper should be interesting with charges like these abounding before the paper is even started.
The chief point that should be addressed when debating Qumran is the discovery
at the site of a large pottery manufacturing center. Here were found eight
and great quantities of burning material, mainly dates; numerous pools for soaking
the raw material; piles of imperfect vessels rejected for sale; a storeroom for vessels
before their sale; and great amounts of raw material for producing high-quality pottery,
found in the pools termed “ritual baths” and brought in by
floods. After analyzing this
material, we produced from it
fine vessels of our own, seen for the
first time after some
two thousand years.
Certain scholars have attempted to ignore the above evidence, and even view the
kilns as part of a pottery “occupational therapy.”
That doesn’t rule out a monastery where the inhabitants supported themselves through their own endeavors. See the following link
Will the presence of modern-day printer equipment rule out the use of the buildings as a monastery? The following two quotes come from this NY Times article:
The women now live on the top two floors of a small house on the monastery’s property, above the office and overlooking fields of soy and corn. Ms. Caniglia and Father McCoy send e-mail messages to each other daily, but meet only every three weeks. The women and monks all come together on feast days and holidays.
Nor does the presence of women mean that the monks married or had sex. It is also not an unique idea
Ever entrepreneurial, the women also sell products made by other monasteries, including chocolates, pralines and a barbeque sauce called “Burnt Sacrifice.” They sell Benevolent Biscuits, dog treats the monks here make on cookie trays in the monastery kitchen.
So right off the bat we can refute or call into question Magen and Peleg’s thesis.
Back to the report:
finds in the eastern dump (Fig. 16) clearly indicate
that the cracks were not caused by the earthquake of
31 BCE, as noted by Josephus (Ant. XV, 121–124;Wa r
I, 370 – 372), but by a later event that occurred after the site had been abandoned
Perhaps the culprit
was the earthquake of 749 CE, which destroyed the
Hisham Palace north of Jericho (see below).
I think Josephus was in a better position to make that determination.
The two main questions which accompanied our
work at Qumran from its beginning ten years ago
were: what was the function of the large pools at the
site which, as we realized already at the outset, were
not used for ritual bathing
16; and why was pottery
produced at Qumran, supposedly a communal center
of the Judean Desert sect?
So they came in with a presumption that other archaeologists were in error.
To claim that members of
the sect produced their own pottery for reasons of
ritual purity is to ignore the simple fact that during
the Second Temple period ritually pure pottery was
being produced by all strata of society.
This does not negate the idea that the Essenes produced their own pottery for their own or commercial use. Do Magen and Peleg not know about competition and capitalism? Israel was not a socialistic society nor a communistic one.
The estimated total amount of clay that we found
is in the range of three tons, enough to manufacture
thousands of pottery vessels. The material for
producing pottery was thus not brought in from the
outside. Rather, we posit that the main purpose of the
entire complex water supply system, with its channels
and large pools, was to provide potters’ clay. It was
probably in the Hasmonean period that the potential
of the sediments flowing into the site was realized,
and it was thus decided to improve the clay collection
This doesn’t provide evidence that the Essenes didn’t own the building or failed to manufacture pottery. it just means that they had more than enough to use first.
In addition, we found some wide-rimmed jars of the
kind that mistakenly received the name “scroll jars,”
as they were originally found inside the caves where
the scrolls were discovered.
Which would provide evidence that the Essenes or the DSS owners used the jars from that site. The jars could have been taken by purchase or simply taken from stock on hand and the scrolls stored in them.
We wish to note the discovery of an inkwell from
the eastern dump (Pl. 5:5). This find joins the inkwells
found at the site by de Vaux, which we believe to have
been used for writing on the numerous ostraca also
discovered at the site.
This doesn’t rule out the option that the inkwells were used to copy scrolls. There are many different uses for inkwells.
e Vaux unearthed 1231 silver and bronze coins at
to which our excavations added another 180
(Pl. 6). These coins are not helpful for stratigraphic
purposes, but do provide evidence for the period
between Qumran’s establishment and its destruction.
Maybe or maybe not. I say that because coins could have been dropped at any time. It is impossible to say when they were left at the site. people who have the idea that archaeological sites are virgin territory are naive.
We know of tomb raiders who have expertly entered tombs and removed valuable items and we know of nomads who come across sites and pick the best to sell to help their financial picture. The coins could have been left there, moved from another spot, dropped or whatever. Their existence doesn’t help date Qumran.
As said, this was no official colonization, whether
military, commercial or agricultural. Rather, here
were hamlets built by people who were forced into the
area and made their living from seasonal agriculture,
grazing, and perhaps also utilized the resources of
the Dead Sea itself, salt and asphalt. Most of these
Iron Age sites were very small, and left behind the
remains of buildings and huts, rock shelters and caves
used for habitation.
This is pure speculation and without any contemporary written information they do not know for sure.
It defies belief that
the Iron Age inhabitants of Qumran, who themselves
lived in huts, were capable of digging such a huge pool
and covering its inner walls with such thick layers of
That is an assumption they cannot make. it also ignores all the facts that we know about the ancient world. This idea from Peleg and Magen comes from their bias against the ancient world. They do not have any clue as to the abilities of those who lived in the Iron Age or any age previous to this one.
People can do surprising things but it is hard to break through the prejudice many archaeologists, like Peleg and Magen, hold. Most modern archaeologists hold to the idea that the ancient Israelites and other societies were illiterate. When we know that they weren’t.
Much has been written about the possible name of
the site at Qumran in the First Temple period, and the
site’s possible connection with the list of settlements
in the Book of Joshua (Josh. 15:61– 62). Some identify
the site with the City of Salt, others with Secacah.
Qumran of the Iron Age was no city, not even a village,
in comparison to contemporaneous settlements in the
Land of Benjamin and in Judea. If, indeed, Qumran
is mentioned in the Book of Joshua, the most fitting
name would be Secacah, meaning “hut” in Hebrew.
We do not know what the site was called in the Second
Temple period; if it was still “Secacah,”
Peleg and Magen would not know how the ancient people addressed Qumran in their time. we may not recognize the name if it survived to this day.
One possibility is that the craftsmen who worked
on the Hasmonean building projects were forced
laborers taken from the areas conquered by the
Hasmoneans and from the Hellenistic cities along
the Mediterranean coast and elsewhere.
Qumran and the other desert fortifications were not built by
Jewish soldiers or masons, but rather by highly skilled
craftsmen, resulting in structures whose quality was
much higher than what was required by the army units
which manned them.
They mean slaves but they do not know at all who did the labor work. There are no real records detailing the labor force or how they were engaged employment wise. For all we know, they had to build to keep the economy stable and avoid recession.
It is a known secret that scholars who have in recent
times analyzed the findings at Qumran do their best
to ignore the fact, stressed already by de Vaux, that
Qumran was an important pottery production center.
The many kilns at the site, the pools in the water and
stables complex (L-121) where clay was kept, the
thousands of clay vessels found at the site, many of
them production rejects, all point to the existence
of an active pottery industry over a considerable
period of time, whose products were sold in the entire
region, including Jericho
This still does not eliminate the Essenes from owning and using the facility. I will now skip to their conclusion.
The archaeological evidence refutes both theories
that have been proposed concerning the initial purpose
of the main building: a monastery or community
center established as early as the Hasmonean period,
or a rural villa or agricultural settlement. Except for
date palms near the Dead Sea shore, no crops can
be grown in Qumran;
I do not recall anyone claiming that the buildings were initially built by Essenes for monastery work. That would be unrealistic but it still doesn’t rule out that the Essenes bought the place and used it for whatever purpose. Their proceeds from their pottery work could buy supplies and other necessities.
In fact, all the animal bones that have been analyzed
were cooked and not burned as offerings.
Bones can decompose quite rapidly and who knows what they did with them after and during the sacrifice. Or the wild animals got to them, we just do not know.
We are fully aware that it may not be easy for readers
to accept our conclusions. Certainly it has not been
easy for us to express them aloud, let alone put them
in writing. But after ten years of excavations, these
conclusions are inescapable. From the outset, we
have chosen not to become involved with the issue
of the scrolls and the Essenes, but only to analyze the
archaeological finds from the perspective of the field
archaeologist. However, since reaching the conclusion
that Qumran was a pottery production center and not
a communal center or monastery
—as most scholars believe—
we feel that it is only fair to ask ourselves how
the scrolls came to be in the caves, and whether there
was any connection between the scrolls and the site.
Archaeology is very limited and it would be impossible to state who lived at the site and what they did. Sure it may have been a pottery factory but it also could have been a fort, a prison, a monastery or a rich man’s home. To take one item and say that is all the structure can be, is misleading and closed-minded.
Modern day schools have doubled as churches,would future archaeology find evidence for that second use? They are also used for parties, festivals, meetings, would future archaeology be able to dig up the evidence to support any present day writing that such activities took place in public schools?
No, future archaeologists probably would be hard pressed to discover any such evidence. if they did come across a poster or notice, they probably would attribute those to regular school activities.
Archaeology is not the godsend many think it is. It has too many gaps in its work to be of much use. It is helpful but it is not a definitive tool.