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orion-list The Hirschfeld Ein Gedi excavations

In Tel Aviv 27 (2000), pp.103-155, came the long awaited publication of
Yizhar Hirschfeld's excavations above Ein Gedi, "A Settlement of Hermits
above `En Gedi". I thought people might be interested in a few notes on some
archaeological indications from the article:

* There were two periods of occupation marked by coin finds:
  1. 1st-2nd centuries
     (5 coins: 1 Agrippa I, 1 bar-Kochba period, 3 not mentioned)
  2. 4th-5th centuries
     (35 coins)

Concentrating only on the first period:

* Location: 200m above the Dead Sea, ie 200m below sea level,
  south-west of Ein Gedi, with a panoramic view of the sea

* Structural remains scattered over an area of 200m x 20-30m
  1. 28 stone built cells: 25 small, 3 large
  2. 2 pools, one apparently a miqveh, both centrally located
  3. a limekiln

* One of the large cells is thought to have been a kitchen --
  it was clearly so in the Byzantine period

* The upper pool was lined with 5-6 layers of greyish hydraulic
  plaster -- such plaster is typical of the Jerusalem miqva'ot;
  rock-hewn ramp going down into the pool

* Dried up spring located because of reeds and Moringa peregrina
  growing at location; when spring mouth was cleared, it began to
  flow again

* Jars from site also found at other Judean sites of mid-1st & early
  2nd centuries CE, eg Herodium, Masada, Qumran, Wadi Murabba'at

* Glass objects also reflect date ranges of the pottery.

Hirschfeld also refers to a similar, but smaller, site at Nahal Kidron South
excavated by U. Dahari of the I.A.A., where 10 cells were found.

Ian Hutchesson

For private reply, e-mail to "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499@mclink.it>
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