Part 8. Were There Other Settlements Associated with Qumran?
There are two sites along the Dead Sea and near the Qumran compound that appear to be associated with the Qumran site (See Magness Fig. 64-66, in the front part of her book)


The first of these is at 'Ein Feshka, some 3 kilometers south of Qumran. Roland de Vaux excavated the site in 1956 during the second season of excavation at Qumran. He did not find any scroll jars, but the pottery that was discovered there was otherwise similar to that found at Qumran. The architecture of the site was that of a rectangular building consisting of rooms around a central courtyard. The site's main occupation period, determined by coins and pottery, was consistent with Period II at Qumran (thus 4 B.C.E.-68 C.E.). The site was also destroyed by fire. One tomb found at the site was oriented east-west, with the head facing south. Perhaps the most interesting feature includes one ink well found at the site, a remain that is otherwise quite rare in related sites (note that three inkwells were discovered at the site of Qumran).

Also, de Vaux notes that a long wall of unknown use connected Qumran and 'Ein Feshkhah in antiquity, although the middle of the wall no longer exists.

pg Ein Feshkha map.BW.jpg
Map of 'Ein Feshkhah with the long wall (R. de Vaux, RB 66 (1959) pl. 2

The second site that may be associated with Qumran lies about fifteen kilometers to the south of it, at 'Ein el Ghuweir. It was excavated by Bar Adon, and the results were first published in 1971. It consists of a long room and kitchen, as well as another small room and other walls. Magness dates the site to the Herodian period (37 B.C.E.-70 C.E.?). Two fires destroyed the site on two separate occasions. A cemetery just north of the site included 18 tombs, all but five of which were oriented on a north-south axis and had the same shaft-and-niche construction of the Qumran tombs. Like the Qumran cemetery, stones were arranged on top in an oval shape, with a large flat stone at the south (the "head") end; the Qumran tombs also had such a stone on the north end of each grave. Twelve of the graves contained men, while 6 contained women (Bar-Adon does not indicate which of these are in the n-s graves). All of the bones were red-stained. The men were between 18 and 70 years of age, while the women were between 18 and 34 years of age. Four objects were recovered from some graves, apparently cast in after the first ash was shoveled in. These are all storage jars; one of them bears a Jewish name (Jonathan).

(If you are interested in reading about some recent Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis on the pottery at 'Ein Ghuweir, see
"Pottery of Qumran and Ein Ghuweir: The First Chemical Exploration of Provenience", Joseph Yellin, Magen Broshi, and Hanan Eshel, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 321 (2001), pp. 65-78 Yellin, Magen, Broshi article)

Question #1: Based on the evidence presented here, do you think that either or both of these sites are associated with Qumran? Is there an reason to believe there may be other sectarian sites in the land? Methodologically, of what do we need to be careful when making these kinds of associations?

This completes the In-Class Archaeology Project. Spend the rest of class time today writing up the results of your discussions. Highlight any questions you have so that we can discuss them in class. GOOD LUCK!