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orion-list Qumran skeletons/gender
Thanks to J. Zias for comments, and certainly the full publication
will be awaited with interest. On the height issue as a negative
argument against the female identifications at Qumran, while
realizing this is not my area of expertise, nevertheless if I may
press the point: you say you compared 3 female identifications
in the "main" cemetery at Qumran, at 159, 160, and 163 cm, with
random selections of female skeletons at other cemeteries, none
of whom were that tall.
But in my own unscientific way I took the first (i.e. random) and
only selection I could find just now, which is IEJ 20 (1970): 38-59,
N. Haas on the skeletons at Giv'at ha-Mivtar (Jerusalem, Herodian
period). Female skeleton I/1.B is 162-170 cm (30-35 yrs old).
Female skeleton I/6.C is 160-164 cm (24-26 years old). Female
skeleton IV/3.C is 167 cm (55-60 yrs. old).
There were only five other Giv'at ha-Mivtar female skeletons
for which heights could be determined. (These 5 others were
all in the low 150's; not even one was as low as your average
from your random selection, 148). This makes 3 out of 8 of the
Giv'at ha-Mivtar female skeletons taller than the Qumran
skeletons identified by the German scientists, on other grounds,
as female. I do not understand: how can height be used as an
argument against the female sexing of the skeletons in the
Qumran cemetery, when this Giv'at ha-Mivtar data shows those
Qumran heights are not at all unusual for women? Do you
dispute the Giv'at ha-Mivtar sex identifications too? But if not,
why then dispute the Qumran identifications? Am I missing
> One has in a certain sense to 'straddle' the fence in terms of
> understanding the issues at hand here. As for the ht. issue, Jewish
> women from 5 sites were randomly selected, the average was but 148
> cms! Not one even approach 160 cms. The range of heights from these 5
> randomly selected cemeteries was 144.92-154.32 cms. The resexed
> material (femalefrom Qumran was 159, 160 and 163 cms. Colleagues
> frequently will disagree over sexing but when it comes to hts. we all
> use centimeters and the same standard formulae for estimating heights.
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