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orion Palms again

I wanted to mention a few things I found looking around the internet for
information about palms and Qumran.  At
http://sunsite.unc.edu/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/intro.html  there are
some good photographs of Basketry and Cordage found at Qumran - both made of
palms. palm leaves and undetermined rushes.  I know that Ian will say that
proves nothing!

In an article by Dr. Numan Shehadeh of the Geography Department of the
University of Jordon entitled: "The Climate of Jordan in the Past and
Present" the author states, in part: "In the beginning of the first century
BC, rainfall improved and the first two centuries of the Christian era were
moist; rainfall was probably somewhat greater than the present rainfall.
 This is clearly indicated by the prosperity of Jerash between 130-180 AD and
several legends reported by al-Mas udi in 'Muruj al dhaheb' of running water
and numerous oases in the Syrian desert at that time.  Much archaeological
evidence dating from that period, including old Roman bridges and ruined
piers on present dry wadis, and many well heads and houses indicating springs
which do not exist today, support the claims or al-Mas udi.  The period of
abundant rainfall ended by the beginning of the thrid century and
simultaneously the level of the Dead Sea in 333 AD became as low as it is

"U.S. Water News Online" says "Studies on the relationship between the rise
and fall of the Dead Sea in Israel and nearby groundwater levels have
resulted in development of a computer model that can be applied to similar
bodies . . . ."  It later says: "The water level of the Dead Sea, which as
the terminus of the Jordan River is the lowest lake in the world, has
decreased an average of 0.5 meters per year since 1960. The response of
groundwater level to changes in the Dead Sea level was found to be rapid, as
immediate as a matter of days, Weizmann Institute researchers have
determined."  If someone has connections with the Weizmann Institute perhaps
they could indicate the approximate shoreline of the Dead Sea in 68 C.E.?

Finally, both Diodorus and Strabo wrote about palms located around the Dead
Sea.  Incidentally, Strabo says that the balsam grown at Jericho was used for
treating headaches, incipient cataracts and dimness of sight.  All of which I
am beginning to have right now.  So long.

Mark Dunn