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orion-list Cemeteries

Dr. Zangenberg,

I stand corrected; I forgot about Khirbet Qazone. However, I am not being
anachronistic; just very cautious about coming to conclusions on insufficient
or skewed data. The mass graves of antiquity and later have little to do
with "a democratic society granting their fallen an individual burial."

Most soldiers fight on foreign soil; they always have. Unlike, for instance,
generals, the rank and file soldiers were anonymous; few had someone to
search through the fallen bodies and say: "That is my husband, my father,
my son, my brother, my uncle." When soldiers do not have someone to claim
them *and* to take them home, mass burials are the answer. As late as
the early 20th century, soldiers fighting on foreign soil, even though
identified, tended to have been buried in long trench graves as they could
not be taken home.

One does not need a democratic society, one needs someone to identify the
body AND to take it home -- as grave stelae and other markers for regular
soldiers from antiquity through today attest.

Burial customs differ widely from society to society. We do not know what
the customs were for the burial of a group of claimed bodies at the time.
I am hesitant to come to conclusions based on the mass graves of anonymous
soldiers who fought on foreign soil; this is a skewed data base.

>2) None of the skeletons published so far shows any traces of wounds typical
  for ancient warfare.

This is a good point, as the mass graves are not. (I said IF...THEN, darn it!)

>Finally, let me close with the remark that I do not have to make up things
>in order to get a job.

Neither do I. Aside from having lived and worked in such climates, and thus
am aware that the life-style attributed to the Essenes by Josephus is not a
viable way of life at Qumran, my primary argument against the "Essene" hypo-
thesis is that the so-called "Essene" documents tell us that they are merely
writings, and neither authoritative nor official.

Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@isis.hol.gr>
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