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Re: women at Qumran

A footnote to the earlier discussion of iron nails and wooden coffins:  
unless I missed something in the postings, I think that the discussion 
overlooked an important distinction.  My impression is that at least some 
of the postings were talking about wooden coffins with and without iron 
nails, when, from reading de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 
it would appear to me that most of the burials were without coffins 
altogether.  The graves were oriented north and south, with a "loculus" 
or impression dug into the eastern wall, and the body was sealed into the 
loculus with flat stones or mud bricks.  De Vaux does not mention nails at 
all in the cases where there was evidence of a coffin, and he does not make it 
clear whether all of the few cases were a trace of a coffin was found involved 
the burial of women or children.  He does comment that, in as far as it 
can be determined, all of the bodies in the part of the cemetery that had 
been carefully laid out were male.  He also comments on several examples 
of re-inhumation, but these don't seem to correspond to the graves in 
which evidence of a wooden coffin is found.  I claim no expertise in 
this area, but de Vaux's description of the cemetery does not seem to 
correspond to the discussion of the burial of women earlier in this 
thread, at least as I remember reading it.

David Suter
Saint Martin's College