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Re: orion-list Water, Cemeteries, etc. (4 screens)

In a recent posting in which Dr. Altman (cited below)  ends with the
following sentence I would like to bring attention to one fact
that I've cited again and again, that unless you are in the specific
field,  one can make numerous mistakes.

"Neither archaeology nor anthropology meets the essential requirement
for scientific experiment. It would be well to bear this fact in mind."

It's sentiments such as this which fail to recognize the advancements
made in archaeology/ physical anthrpology over the last 50 years, e.g.
C-14 is def. a repeatable experiment, not to mention all the work which
we have been doing on DNA typing the Scrolls, cloning bacterium for the
study of ancient disease.  As I work in Science and Archaeology the
difference between the two is often blurred however unlike the past it
is becoming more and more of a science which is why trying to 'figure
out' on the basis of logic usually falls badly. For example to say that
the 20th century workers at Sedom failed to survive the desert due to
lack of
water, it has nothing to do with water but rather boredom. Last month I
along with several hundred Israelis took part in a grueling competitive
Mt. bike race at Sedom. In the 23 kilometer race there were but two
water stations and most of the people towards the front passed both with
at the most a cup of water. Hardly what you describe and I'm no 'spring
chicken'.  Another case in point is to look at the number of sites and
there are , from the Chalcolithic period up to present times between
Jericho and the end of the Dead Sea. Lest we forget all the monasteries
there in the Byz. period, people living in caves during several periods,
the Bedouin whom have been there for thousands of years, the list is
long and had conditions been as you ascribe, these places simply would
not have existed.

As far as military cemeteries, hard to accept due to the fact that there
is no trauma whatsoever on the skeletal remains, not one broken bone. I
have seen European military cemeteries and the lit. is out there, def.
not a military cemetery. 

As for the so called toilet of Qumran, with todays modern day methods it
would be easy for scientists to check the sediments and say def. one way
or the other whether or not Jodi is correct. The problem is however,
that certain individuals in charge of the material have not granted free
and easy access to these materials to other researchers despite their
requests, not to mention that it was excavated nearly 50 years ago!!
There are many 'agendas' out there and restricting access to both the
archaeological finds as well as the anthropological materials (excepting
the Germans) by certain individuals is one of them. I'm speaking from
experience and it is precisely these attitudes which impede research and
led to the confusion that we are in.   

Joe Zias

Science and Archaeology Group @ the Hebrew University

For private reply, e-mail to Joe Zias <zias@inter.net.il>
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