Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg
Much has been written about
Qumran, and endless theories have been proposed, some of which have attained the status of fact upon which archaeological research has built over the past fifty years. Here, we wish to clearly distinguish between various hypotheses concerning the site and the archaeological evidence that we have exposed in our excavations.
The first settlement at
Qumran was established in the Iron Age. When the site was again inhabited in the Hasmonean period it was built in exactly the same place. This fact itself, together with an analysis of the topography and of the water regime of the area, provide clear evidence that this was the optimal—and perhaps the only—location on the upper plateau of the marl terraces next to the fault scarp in which a settlement would not be swept away by floods and would be able to collect flowing water and potters' clay. The claim that the location was chosen because of its isolation, for the purpose of establishing a first Jewish monastery or a community center for the sect, is groundless. Judean Desert