Qumran Not Essene Monastery After All

The New York Times reports:

…[T]wo Israeli archaeologists who have excavated the site on and off for more than 10 years now assert that Qumran had nothing to do with the Essenes or a monastery or the scrolls. It had been a pottery factory.

The archaeologists, Yizhak Magen and Yuval Peleg of the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported in a book and a related magazine article that their extensive excavations turned up pottery kilns, whole vessels, production rejects and thousands of clay fragments. Derelict water reservoirs held thick deposits of fine potters’ clay.

Dr. Magen and Dr. Peleg said that, indeed, the elaborate water system at Qumran appeared to be designed to bring the clay-laced water into the site for the purposes of the pottery industry. No other site in the region has been found to have such a water system.

By the time the Romans destroyed Qumran in A.D. 68 in the Jewish revolt, the archaeologists concluded, the settlement had been a center of the pottery industry for at least a century. Before that, the site apparently was an outpost in a chain of fortresses along the Israelites’ eastern frontier.

“The association between Qumran, the caves and the scrolls is, thus, a hypothesis lacking any factual archaeological basis,” Dr. Magen said in an article in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.…

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3 Comments

Filed under History, Israel

3 responses to “Qumran Not Essene Monastery After All

  1. Franji

    israelis are well known as history revisionists. at times it would be to support some ideological position they take (be it academic or nationalist) that would hold little ground otherwise.
    other times, it would be for the sake of outright fraud like the recent case of James / Yaakov ossuary .
    but this one is really stupid.
    this conclusion means that they -the scientists have noticed a lot of clayware on the site, (wow! clever!) but they attach otherwise very little importance if any to the immense scrolls depository?
    i don’t know essenes or not, but to call the place an antique soda bottling factory? give me a break.

  2. Franji

    israelis are well known as history revisionists. at times it would be to support some ideological position they take (be it academic or nationalist) that would hold little ground otherwise.
    other times, it would be for the sake of outright fraud like the recent case of James / Yaakov ossuary .
    but this one is really stupid.
    this conclusion means that they -the scientists have noticed a lot of clayware on the site, (wow! clever!) but they attach otherwise very little importance if any to the immense scrolls depository?
    i don’t know essenes or not, but to call the place an antique soda bottling factory? give me a break.

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