Zev Radovan

Home sweet home? Some scholars have suggested that the residents of Qumran lived in caves, such as the one shown here, and in tents. They have been forced to this proposal because of the puzzling nature of the Qumran settlement: On the one hand, the large cemetery and extensive water system indicate a large population; on the other hand, the settlement has no permanent residences capable of housing large numbers of people. Would the people of Qumran have built their extensive settlement and then retreated to the primitive caves for shelter? And where would they have obtained food? Some scholars speculate that the small settlement at Ein Feshkha, a mere two miles away, served as Qumran’s breadbasket, but no evidence has been found to support that view.