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Re: orion-list Qumran skeletons/gender

  Thanks for the extensive quotes. Is it at all possible for you or
someone else to scan in and place on a web site the Revue de Qumran
article, in the June 1999 issue? That is, the Rohrer-Ertl article to
which you refer? Our library has not yet received it.

According to Greg Doudna:
On beads in a Jericho cemetery...
> Til Barsib...Byblos...Deve Huyuk..."  A table running from pp.
> 114 to 131 entitled "Bead analysis" gives an extensive 
> inventory of types, colors, materials, and varieties of beads
> found with skeletons.  

Yes, but were they *Jewish* burials? 

> On the distinct and key issue of the identification of gender 
> of skeletons in the "main", well-ordered area of the cemetery, 
> the existing, published data by my count has these numbers.  
. . .
> Rohrer-Ertl chart.  It was considered a little unusual by 
> de Vaux because it was "tall"--160 cm--and at the edge 
> of the main part of the cemetery.  (Nevertheless its pelvis was
> very wide, giving the female identification.)  Since it is given a
> question mark in the most recent accounnting of Rohrer-Ertl I
> do not include it here.  The totals as reported (without question
> marks) are 24 male and 6 female.  (And this is the "main" 
> central part, the undisputed part of the cemetery, not 
> outlying extensions which have more women skeletons and 
> which Zias proposes to identify as modern Bedouin.)  If this 
> incidence is extrapolated to the c. 1000 (?) total graves in the
> "main" cemetery this means about 200 women would be in 
> the Qumran "main" cemetery.  Has Zias given good grounds
> to suppose these c. 200 women should be removed from 
> the "main" cemetery--not counting the disputed exensions?

No. Zias only dealt with the tall skeleton with the wide pelvis located at
the edge of the cemetery, and called it too tall to be female, when
ancient women were "all" shorter than I am, at 5'1".
[. . .]

> 1950's and 1960's underreported the incidence of women 
> skeletons worldwide by some factor.  This led to corrections
> in methods, and the gender identifications done by 
> Rohrer-Ertl et al are done by the most current methods of 
> the 1980's and 1990's.  According to Joan Taylor, who has 
> been spending this semester in Copenhagen on sabbatical,
> the German scientists stand behind their findings that two 
> of de Vaux's "male" skeletons in the "main" part of the 
> cemetery are actually certainly female.  
> (I might add that the table of data published by Rohrer-Ertl
> et al indeed shows no significant difference in height between
> their two new female skeletons--159 cm and 163--and the 

Zias would have said that these are too tall to be women, at 5 ft.
2 1/2 inches, and 5 ft 4 inches. My height and my mother's height, 
in the 20th century.

> range of heights of the male skeletons, which range from 159
> to 177.  

5 ft 2 1/2 inches to 5 ft 9 1/2 inches.

But, although I am no expert on this, 
> I fail to see how this can be much of an argument at all 
> concerning the accuracy or inaccuracy of a specific 
> identification.  For do not individual men and women have 
> a range of heights?  Would it not be a fallacy to apply an 
> "average" as a negative argument in these individual cases?)

One needs to know the basis for Zias's statement that men and women were
shorter, on an average, in ancient times. One also needs information on
how much shorter, and on the range of observations.

  I'll deal separately with your final question in another post.

> Greg Doudna
> Copenhagen    

Sigrid Peterson   University of Pennsylvania   petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu

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