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Re: orion Jars and 1a & 1b dates
Mark Dunn wrote three paragraphs with questions. I, S. Goranson, respond to
his first and third paragraphs, quoted below.
Mark Dunn wrote:
>>From what I understand so far, these jars have been found at the very least
>at Jericho (where there were "fairly common" and where there are "industrial"
>examples), Abila, Qumran, Masada, and Ein Feshkha. In addition, there may be
>examples at En Gedi and at least one in North Jordon? From this the
>statement is made "scroll jars have been found in a geographically small area
>(Qumran was in Jericho toparchy?) and for a limited time." (SG, 10/31/97)? I
>thought Abila was in Perea, Jericho was in Judea, and Masada in Idumea? I
>am just wondering about how the phrase "geographically small area" is
>defined. And if "industrial" examples implies some sort of "industrial"
>production, then why would the jars not be bought and sold like any other
>commodity produced on the major trade route at the north end of the Dead Sea?
I (Goranson) respond: The Abila outskirts jar is the one, single Jordan
jar; it was probably brought there, since it is the only one found near
there. The Masada zealot-context jars reportedly mentioned by R.
Bar-Nathan, were probably brought by zealots. In terms of an area where a
particular type of ceramic is found, the Jericho-Qumran-Ein Feshkah area
is small. Trade is possible, but, if so, evidently wasn't widespread with
this item. I will not repeat, but recommend Prof. Magness' comments on the
"indstrial" and "classic" types of cylindrical jars. It will be useful if
Bar-Natan publishes, to inform us about which of these types, in which
numbers, were found in Jericho and Massada. That might help to tell
whether the Massada examples more likely came from Qumran or from Jericho.
None of these jars have been reported from En Gedi yet. What the pottery
expert Prof. Magness actually wrote (posted 30 Oct) was: "I would expect
that this type of jar might turn up in the excavations that Yizhar
Hirschfeld is currently conducting at Ein Gedi. Thus, contrary to what
Cryer says, these jars seem to represent a type that is restricted to a
rather small geographical region. They are certainly not known from
Jerusalem, for example, or from Herodian." Compared to other types of
pottery and their distribution areas, this region is indeed small.
Mark Dunn wrote:
>Is the evidence for the end of the so-called 1b period simply the hoard of
>coins burried beneath the level of II and above that of 1b coupled with the
>speculation that this hoard was buried about the time to which the coins are
>dated? Assuming a continuous occupation before 9/8 B.C.E., what is the event
>that would cause the end of an occupation in about 9/8 B.C.E.? I don't see
>any such event reported anywhere that I have looked? I have been under the
>impression that Herod the Great was something of a "friend" of the Essenes
>(if one presumes that it was Essenes at Q). Herod apparently spent a great
>deal of time at Jericho, the area was prosperous (e.g., plenty of water and
>large, irrigated date palm orchards for miles around Jericho) and this was a
>period of relative calm politically. So what reason would there be for an
>occupation to end in about 9/8 B.C.E.? What else besides these coins
>supports an occupation up to as late as 9/8 B.C.E.?
I (Goranson) respond: In order to be brief, I will recommend rechecking the
posts of Dr. Magness on orion, in which she discusses pottery assemblages
of various types. Again I recommend her Dead Sea Discoveries vol 2 (1995)
article which discusses earthquake, fire, winter overflowing of the water
system, and much else, as well as her publications on Qumran archaeology
and continuity of locus use in Revue de Qumran 16 (1994), Qumran Chronicle
(forthcoming), BAR, and the forthcoming in a month or so "Qumran
Archaeology: Past Perspectives and Future Prospects" in _Jubilee
Collection_ of DSS essays ( ed. P. Flint and J. VanderKam; vol. 1; Leiden:
Brill, 1997), and her papers/abstracts at conferences at SBL and ASOR,
NYAcademy of Sciences (Annals vol. 722), and Jerusalem last summer, as well
as the coin analysis at the latter conference by Y. Meshorer.
As to the date of 9/8 BCE, please note that she says the fire occurred that
year or within several years after. In her DSD article she is careful not
to assume what was the historical cause, but plausibly mentions one
possibility, about which I think your sources (Josephus) do indeed inform
you: the uprising after the death of Herod the Great, which was suppressed
by the Roman, Varus. Another, perhaps less likely, possibility which I
wrote on orion: Herod, near the end of his life, may have turned against
the Essenes, as he had turned against many others. But the archaeological
evidence does not change, whether we know the cause or not. Essenes lived
at Qumran during the time of Herod the Great, as Pliny reported what a
Herodian-period source wrote about Qumran Essenes, and as the archaeology
Stepphen Goranson firstname.lastname@example.org