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orion Natural resources and imports at Qumran
The natural resources along the Dead Sea Plain are very limited. The
list of locally produced items for daily use or export would naturally
be limited to local resources:
For export: Salt, bitumen (from Lake Asphaltus i.e. the Dead Sea), reed
products, and scrolls.
For local use (include the above items): Clay products (pottery etc.),
reed products (mats, pens etc.), palm products (food, architectural
elements etc.), sheep or goat products (meat, milk, skins [for leather
or primitive parchment], horn, bone, wool). Spring and rain water (for
ritual purity, industry and drinking)
Imported for local use: Metal products (Iron hoes, shears, nails etc.;
bronze pins, cooking pots etc.; of course bronze and silver coins),
limestone vessels, sandstone architectural elements (pillars, door
frames etc.), basalt grinding stones, glassware (period III contexts),
papyrus (for scrolls, particularly during the early periods), certain
types of wood (handles for tools, cypress wood coffins etc.), linen (for
clothing and wrappings).
Most of these items were produced from natural resources under in lands
under Herodian control. They could be obtained in major trade centers
such as Jericho and Jerusalem and were common in almost every settlement
in the Judean wilderness. In nearly every case, the items were imported
in manufactured form (and not as raw natural material which were
manufactured at the site)
Grain and grapes may have been grown nearby (as has been proven to be
successful recently with grapes on adjacent and nearby farms) but may
also have been imported.
Imported pottery and glass are almost entirely lacking during periods 1
and 2. The cloth lacks the colorful stripes found on fabrics from other
sites (eg., Masada).
This list is only cursory and will be laid out by period (1a, 1b, 2 and
3) in later publications.