Skip to comments.Remote latrine reconfirms the presence of Essene sect at Qumran
Posted on 11/14/2006 12:20:10 AM PST by SunkenCiv
"The graveyard at Qumran is the unhealthiest group that I have ever studied in over 30 years and this is readily apparent," said Zias, who has done previous work on the Qumran burials. "For example, 2,000 years ago in Jericho, 14 kilometers to the north, the chances of an adult male dying after 40 were 49 percent. But when you go to Qumran, the figure for people surviving to 40 falls to six percent -- the chances of making to 40 differ by a factor of eight! "And yet we are told that these men arrived very healthy they had physical examinations coming in. The people at Qumran thought that you could look at body types and tell what kind of person you were. Josephus tells us that the Essenes were selective -- you had to be 20 years old, and you had to be healthy," Zias noted. The puzzle comes together for Zias when he combines the community's latrine practices with its near-obsessive use of pools for ritual cleansing and bathing.
"Burying your feces in the outdoors makes a lot of sense until you live in Qumran," Zias said. "What happened was that 20 to 40 people went out there every day over a period of 100 years. By burying their fecal matter, they actually preserved the microorganisms and parasites. In the sunlight, the bacteria and parasites get zapped within a fairly short amount of time, but buried, the parasites can live in the soil for up to a year. Then people pick up things by walking through fecally contaminated soil -- it's like a toxic waste dump, and if you have any cuts on your feet "
"And yet we are told that these men arrived very healthy they had physical examinations coming in. The people at Qumran thought that you could look at body types and tell what kind of person you were. Josephus tells us that the Essenes were selective -- you had to be 20 years old, and you had to be healthy," Zias noted.
The puzzle comes together for Zias when he combines the community's latrine practices with its near-obsessive use of pools for ritual cleansing and bathing.
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
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Interesting, we were always taught to dig a latrine on campouts for Boy Scouts. At the end of the campout we would then bury it. I wonder now if we should of been leaving it unburied.
I've been thinking about looking for, and excavating the several privies that must exist somewhere in the yard of our 204 year old farmhouse. You can learn a lot about the folks who lived in a house by what they put down in their privies (in addition to the usual "stuff", of course!) HA!
You weren't using the same site for a hundred years.
"Do *not* go in there."
Thanks for the warning!
I'm thinkin' that maybe the Essenes were *kicked out* of the real towns of their time. :') Two newer topics, same issue:
Latrines of the Essenes?
The New York Times | November 14, 2006 | By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Posted on 11/14/2006 11:21:04 AM EST by aculeus
Toilet Evidence Links Dead Sea Scrolls To Sect (Essenes)
Seattle Times | 11-14-2006 | Thomas H Maugh II
Posted on 11/14/2006 2:43:50 PM EST by blam
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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