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SV: orion Qumran habitation dates

>On 23 March, after discussing Cave 4, Gregory Doudna wrote:
>>Since there is no evidence from archaeology confirming habitation
>>between the time of Alexander Jannaeus and 8 BCE, and again between 
>>8 BCE and 60's CE (although there might have been people at Qumran at
>>other times within these periods--but present information does not
>>permit claims of knowledge of such habitation), this allows plenty of
>>opportunities for the date and event of the scrolls deposit.
>Greg, would you like to write about how you reached this conclusion on

I see no evidence in the published record which establishes or
corroborates habitation at Qumran between the time of Alexander Jannaeus
and 8 BCE, and again from 8 BCE to 60's CE.  I am not saying there was
not--only that this is in the realm of guessing--conjectures and
hunches--in these time periods.  I would welcome any way that can be set
forth which would improve the state of knowledge and convert some of
this guessing into some basis for assuming knowledge.  

>(I may be mistaken, but, to the best of my knowledge, the text above
>differs from all published archaeological reports on Qumran, as well as

Correct.  I think they're wrong in claiming knowledge of habitation in
periods for which there is not evidence in the published archaeological
record so far as I can see to justify those claims.    

>Also, just to clarify: are you saying that
>Qumran was inhabited in 8 BCE but not necessarily in 9 or 7 BCE?

Yes--at least someone was there in 8 BCE.  (By 8 BCE I mean the year
that deposit of coins was buried--if I have the year right.)  Maybe even
that isn't evidence of habitation at Qumran, though it is the type of
thing an inhabitant would do.  One could speculate that whoever was
there in 8 BCE might also have been there in 9 BCE and 7 BCE (I would
consider the chances good that there were--but would not claim this as
knowledge).  How about 20 BCE or 2 BCE?  This is in the area of
guessing, pure and simple.  There is neither certainty on the basis of
existing evidence to know people were there or were not there in those
years.  Did the one who buried that hoard stash it before a flight?  Or
was it a stash upon arrival?  Or was it someone already living there who
came into some money for whatever reason and stashed it (a reasonable
thing to do), continued living there, and died unexpectedly of a bad
cold that turned into pneumonia one night a year or two later without
telling anyone about the stash?  (And other people continued living
there.)  This is the stuff of novels and historical fiction, but there
is no basis I can see for claiming knowledge of this nature.  

Greg Doudna