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Re: orion: DSS pottery

Thomas Thompson may be right that dating the wide-mouthed storage 
jars at Qumran does not in itself date the jars in the caves associated 
with the scrolls deposits, for the reasons he summarized.  But 
I have to differ with Thomas on the point about a potential dating of the 
wide-mouthed storage jars at the site of Qumran being a waste of time.  It 
is a question that if answered can contribute to a total interpretation of 
Qumran site activity.  The locus 2 find was well-documented by De Vaux 
and there seems to be sufficient information to argue a case for a dating.  
Since the other jars of the same kind, so far as are known, fit exactly the 
same pattern as the one in locus 2, one can go on to make an argument 
for these jars going in in the original installation.

Why does it matter?  Lapp's 1961 work on pottery drew heavily 
on De Vaux's conclusions and, on the basis of De Vaux's conclusion 
regarding the locus 2 jar, has this type of jar listed for 1st CE.  
De Vaux's own publications routinely reported that these jars at 
the Qumran site were certainly attested in Period II.  This gets 
repeated in the Qumran air everyone breathes.  (Other smaller 
types of pottery both in the caves and at the site of Qumran were 
in turn dated by De Vaux, and Lapp, to II, on the basis of association 
with the supposed II storage jars.)  The most basic reason why the 
dating of these jars matters is simply to get the record straight as 
a matter of accurate data.    

A second reason is because Qumran may be a case of a massive installation, 
all at once, by one of the hasmoneans, e.g. Alexander Jannaeus, as 
part of a chain of installations extending control over the region, as Bar-Adon 
has argued.  The question needs to be investigated whether any significant 
pottery-production activity at Qumran can certainly be attested after 
Roman arrival would have ended the use of the site for its original 
intended purpose.  Let us suppose there is no evidence of Qumran 
manufacture of big jars post 63 BCE or post 55 BCE.  While this would 
not, true enough, date the scrolls deposits associated with the same 
type of jars in the caves (because the same kinds of jars could be 
brought in from elsewhere at any time) . . . the point is it would be 
one less item of mistaken information about the Qumran site that is 
distorting.  (The perception of these jars being II jars is almost _the_ 
basis for the Qumran field's certainty on the 68 CE date--it was _the_ 
causal factor which produced the 68 CE date in De Vaux's own 
interpretation.)  The full implications (for our understanding) of an 
accurate dating might even be unexpected or unplanned.  But it seems 
to me to be a question worth making the effort to answer, if it is 

To Russ G. and Virgil B. on whether the locus 2 jar could have been 
installed in Period II for use to hold coin hoards: not very likely.  
Real coin hoards at Qumran used smaller types of containers.  In 1966 
A. Djawani, director of antiquities for Jordan, reported finding a 
storage jar at Qumran intact _with provisions (food)_ inside.  (No 
locus information, and he's dead now.)  This supports what would be a 
reasonable reconstructed use for these jars at Qumran, all of which were 
sunk in floors--they were the ancient equivalent of refrigeration (as noted 
by Fred).  The second point on the coin hoard idea is that there are 
at least six or so certain cases, and likely a few more uncertain 
cases, of this kind of jars discovered by De Vaux at the site (De 
Vaux's descriptions of buried jars are not always sufficient 
to identify them by type).  It might be suggested that jars of this 
massive kind, installed in many rooms, is a bit of overkill if 
someone was truly wishing to hide a hoard.  The final point is there 
is no evidence any of these jars were used for the intentional purpose 
of holding money.  A couple of coins found in a jar is no different 
than stray coins found on floors. 

As for the possibility of the jars going in secondarily a century 
or so after the floors, again De Vaux's information on Locus 2 (in 
both the early 1953 Revue Biblique report and 1994 Humbert and 
Chambon, with diagrams and photos) seems to show the floor--the 
lowest, original floor level--constructed around the jar.  This may 
bear further scrutiny, but it seems to look like the floor and the 
installation of the jar were done at the same time.

Greg Doudna