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Re: Qumran Texts Found!! (fwd)

Jim Strange is just back in town...here is his partial, preliminary report on
what was found.

James Tabor

 I dug for the void which Ben Avraham, Professor of Geophysics at Tel Aviv
claims to have found in his seismic scan of the plateau.  We checked for
the presence of the void with resistivity equipment, which seemed to
confirm its presence.  We dug deeply with a front loader and a scoop, but
no void.  Then things changed.  We proceeded to clean up, and behold an
ostracon!  It was lying on the ground at the base of the east wall east
and north of the shade (the sukkah where tourists stand to look at cave
4.) It was recovered by brushing.  The ostracon was in two pieces which
mend for a total of 18 lines of text in a clear Herodian hand.  We can
read the first two lines:  "In the Second year./By the hand of El'azar ben
Nechumia."  The other lines begin mostly with "w't" which I read as vav
consecutive and the sign of the direct object.  I gather that it is some
kind of letter or memo instructing someone to deliver or give some
commodities or whatever to someone else.  I have given it to Esther Eshel
for publication.  (See her article on the Edomite Ketuba from Maresha in
the recent IEJ.) The article in Ha-aretz which I saw on the Net has some
garbled information, but this is an important find.  Reuters was at first
interested, but then decided it was of no interest.  We also found a
fragment of a second ostracon, which looks like a part of scribal practice
or of schoolboy practice.  A third was found by dipping.  It appears to be
merely some ink on a sherd, but it may be a name.