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Re: orion: DSS pottery

To Fred Cryer,
If your post (below) was intended to respond to the expert report of Prof.
Magness, in my opinion you owe her an apology for words such as "amazingly
naive" and working "with a theory with only a few variables," and other
misrepresentations.  Prof. Magness provided reasonable observations and
bibliographic references. (Her mention of Bar-Nathan, I assume, refers to
the Hebrew University M.A. thesis of Rahel Bar-Natan; though I don't have a
copy, it dealt with relevant pottery and was based on extensive first-hand
archaeological experience. In the 1980s I spent many hours as an assistant
to Rahel, digging and reading pottery.) My reading of the evidence is
similar to that of Prof. Magness, but my knowledge of pottery and
archaeology is small compared to hers. So I asked if she would comment. I
am grateful that she did, and I hope other list members found her
well-informed message useful.
Stephen Goranson      goranson@duke.edu

>It strikes me that it is amazingly naive to imagine that something as
>distinctive as a pottery type which seems to have been attested, if
>sparsely, in disparate sites in a large region, should have existed for
>only a short period of time. The jars in question will have been produced
>for a considerable period of time. Only *one* of the contexts in which they
>were found reveals a useful stratigraphy, namely in the Period I floors in
>the Khirbet. That will of course not be able to tell us the date of
>production and/or use of jars found in locales, such as the caves, which
>lack stratigraphic information. Some Herodian lamps have been found in the
>caves, too, which tells us, obviously, that people visited the caves during
>the Herodian period. Well, the caves were apparently also visited by Jewish
>searchers around 800 CE, according to the letter of Timothy I, and we know
>that Muhammed ed-Dhib et al. also investigated them in 1947 and later. Why
>anyone imagines they remained hermetically sealed and preserved until our
>times is a mystery to me. Of course, it is *easier* to work with a theory
>with only a few variables, but that doesn't argue well for its
>Fred Cryer