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Re: SV: orion-list Qumran skeletons/gender

Beste Greg:
I hesitate to mingle in the discussion, based only on personal 
recollection from Zias lecture in Boston (without waiting for the 
publication of Zias lecture, which will appear soon). But my 
recollections are strenghed by a long conversation with Zias (also 
in Boston). I may be wrong, but my recollections are clear.

Zias lecture deal with two different issues: the female skeletons on 
the main cemetery and the skeletons (male, female, and of 
children) in the two secondary burial places near the main 

As for the first issue, he corrected the identification of some 
remains as female (done in the RevQ article, and after having 
examined the remains in Munchen) mainly on the base of the size 
of the alleged females skeletons; they much taller than the average 
female body of the time. Zias concluded that no females were 
buried in the main cemetery, and said in passing that 
anthropologist change quite often their appreciation of the

As for the second issue, he convincly proved that the secondary 
burial places were of recent date (about 200 years old) and different 
in type and contents from the main cemetery. The different state of 
rpeservation of the bones of the main cemetery (very brittle) and of 
the secondary cemeteries (far  less broken) were the first indication 
of a differente age of both collections of bones.The size of the pit 
(about 40 cm in the side burial places, agains about 2 metres in 
the main cemetery), the form of the pit (straight in the side 
cemetery but with a side cavity for the body at the bottom covered 
by stones in the main cemetery) the  presence of decorative arm 
and legs strings of coloured beans in the side cemeteries (unheard 
off in jewish burials and not found in the main cemetery, but 
common in bedouin burials) and the expected mix of men, women 
and children as in other burial places (in the side cemeteries, but 
not in the main), lead him to conclude that the main cemetery and 
the side cemeteries were of a quite different sort and not only of 
different age, and to suggest that the secondary cemeteries were 
unrelated to the main one. The parallels with other bedouin 
cemeteries on the region, lead him to suggest that the secondary 
cemeteries were no other thing that bedouins cemeteries of recent 
date. He also rapidly mentioned, that analysis by Carbon 14 of the 
bones of the secondary cemeteries, has given a date of about 200 
years for them, thus settled the matter.

This is all I recall, but I may answer some of your queries.

Greetings and best wishes

Florentino García Martínez
Qumran Instituut, University of Groningen

For private reply, e-mail to "F. Garcia Martinez" <F.Garcia.Martinez@theol.rug.nl>
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