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Golb and Asphalt

In Norman Golb's "Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls" he argues that in and after
70 A.D., according to the archelogical team's own findings, the occupants of
Qumran were Roman soldiers.  He also says that there is no archaelogical
evidence whatever indicating that Qumran was at any time inhabited by Pliny's
Essenes or any other celibate community.  He says that, according to de Vaux
and his colleagues, the site had originally been built as an Israelite
fortress in the 7th century B.C. and clearly was a fortress during the
Hassidim period.  Is there any argument about the assertions that Qumran was
a fortress in the 7th and 8th century B.C. or that it was a fortress in the
Hassidim period?

I ask this in part, because it affects the following conjecture.  On the maps
I have seen the major roads in the eastern part of the area are north of the
Qumran site (basically running east and west to Jericho and Jerusalem, from
Jerusalem to En Gedi and then south to Massada, and on the eastern shore of
the Dead Sea.  Assuming a military action from the east against Judea,
Jericho, En Gedi, or Jerusalem, the Qumran site does not seem like the best
location for a fort.  It appears to be too far south of the road system to be
able to observe what is developing in that direction.  I suppose there may
have been another "fort" further north.  Nevertheless, I wonder if the
"tower" at the site could have even seen the road?  When I visited the site I
could clearly see the Dead Sea for a great distance.  I wonder if the site
didn't have two advantages: (1) fresh water, and (2) a good long view of the
sea.  So what would people be looking for on the Sea?  Could they have been
keeping a lookout for the asphalt rising to the surface of the Sea.

Diodorus describes the competition for this commodity in at least two places.
 Apparently the approach to this product was that it became the "property" of
whoever got to it first.  Those living around the Sea fought over the
asphalt, raced to reach it first, and sold it at high prices in Eqypt.
 Assume that those living there before 70 A.D had an economic motive, i.e. a
place for a group to live far enough off the "noxious" coast, with fresh
water and a good view from the tower.  Then they rush down to the water to
head for the asphalt, perhaps guided by someone in the tower?

Perhaps it was a group of asphalt salesment that helped people fleeing the
Romans in 67 or 68 A.D. to hide their valuable in the caves around their
little "community."  Mark Dunn